Alonso: New rules proof F1 went in the wrong direction

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Fernando Alonso believes that the proposed changes suggested by the Formula 1 Strategy Group in a meeting last week act as proof that the sport has been going in the wrong direction in recent years.

At a meeting in England last week, representatives from six of the leading F1 teams plus the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and the commercial rights holder, F1 Group, agreed to seismic changes to the technical regulations for the 2017 season.

In a bid to make races more exciting, the Strategy Group agreed to reintroduce refuelling and make the cars more aggressive, believing that they could lap up to six seconds per lap quicker should these changes be implemented.

Speaking about the proposed changes ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Alonso questioned the direction that F1 is moving in given that it will be going back to its former self.

“I think if the rules comes back we will get the same rules as seven or eight years ago, which means the last four of five years we were going in the wrong direction,” the Spaniard said.

“In 2005, the cars were eight seconds quicker. In Malaysia, compare the winner this year to the winner in 2006, it could be six laps slower. When you are six or seven minutes quicker than this year’s car, that is very demanding, physically and mentally. Everything was pushed to the limit.”

The reintroduction of refuelling has been the most controversial change tabled by the Strategy Group, but Alonso is supportive of the move, believing that it would shake up the pecking order and strategies used by teams.

“[It] would open some strategy and imagination, and help you in some races if you can choose whatever fuel you will start or do the first stint on,” he said.

“It helped in the past, I managed to get some pole positions with half of the fuel of the others and then in the race you see what happens.

“If now you gave me a paper, I’d give you the grid for here, Canada and Austria. This is probably what fans are not welcoming.”

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.