Button happy with refuelling return, but remains keen to see a tire war in F1

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Jenson Button has given his support to a possible return of refuelling to Formula 1 for the 2017 season, believing that it will mix up the racing and improve the on-track spectacle.

Last week, the F1 Strategy Group confirmed that it was planning to reintroduce refuelling to the sport in 2017 after it was banned for the 2010 season.

Although opinion in the F1 community has been split over the decision, a number of drivers have expressed their support for the move, with Button telling NBCSN how those who raced with refuelling before will support its return.

“I think if you ask Fernando [Alonso], Kimi [Raikkonen], myself, [Felipe] Massa, the guys who were around ten years ago, we all loved refuelling,” Button said.

“It really mixed up the racing. If you had a bad start, you could change your strategy and still get a good result. It was just a lot of fun and it really added something.

“Obviously you had the safety aspect. That’s obviously something that’s very important, and maybe the reason why we’ve gone away from it, but I’m sure there are ways around that.”

Since refuelling was banned for the 2010 season, overtaking figures have risen dramatically, but Button feels that passes meant more without the use of DRS in F1.

“There were a lot of passes on track because people were running completely different fuel strategies,” Button said.

“Also when the passes were done then, it was more of a ‘wow look at that’, it wasn’t ‘he’s waiting for the DRS zone to happen’. 2004 for me was the best year in Formula 1 history.”

Button also said that he would like to see the return of a tire war to F1, given that the competition between current supplier Pirelli and a possible rival would increase the quality of the compounds that are produced.

“There are obvious reasons why Formula 1 has gone in the direction it has, and there are some very good things about F1 right now, but there are some things that need to be looked at,” he said.

“I feel that a tire war, for example, is great for the sport, and you see tire manufacturers at their best when they’re fighting against other tire manufacturers.”

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.