Perez: Points possible for Force India in Monaco

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Force India driver Sergio Perez has not given up hope of scoring points in this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, believing that anything is possible around the streets of the principality.

After falling behind in the development race and failing to bring any major updates to the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago, Force India struggled to its worst result of the season so far as Perez finished in 13th place ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg in 15th.

The team has pushed back its major upgrade package until the British Grand Prix at the beginning of July, but Perez still believes that points are possible in Monaco this weekend.

“Monaco always offers the opportunity to make it into the points,” Perez said. “At the end of the day it only matters here on Sunday. You need a bit of luck to be positioned well in the race.

“Barcelona was our poorest point of the season, I hope. That was extremely poor for our level of competitiveness so I think Monaco and the coming races should be quite a bit better for us.

“We should be in the fight for the points.”

The Force India VJM08 car has been particularly weak in fast corners so far this season, making the tight and twisting nature of the Monaco street circuit giving Perez a reason to be hopeful.

“Here you need downforce, you definitely need a lot of that,” Perez said. “It’s a very efficient track, mechanically you don’t have the high speed corners that are no good for us or the big lateral corners where you stress the car.

“You have super-soft tires and the walls. If we’re not too far off the driver can also make a bit of a difference. I’m optimistic and I hope we can make it in the fight for points.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.