FIA seeking new teams for Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017

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The FIA has announced that it is looking for prospective new teams to join the Formula 1 grid in either 2016 or 2017 as part of its bid to ensure the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the sport.

Following the collapse of Caterham F1 Team at the end of the 2014 season, the grid currently stands at ten teams and 20 cars. However, it is set to rise in 2016 when Haas F1 Team – led by NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas – joins the grid.

Nevertheless, the FIA has today released a statement confirming that it is looking for prospective new teams to join the grid in the next two years.

“Having due regard for the sustainability and future success of the Formula One World Championship, the FIA has opened a new selection process to identify a candidate team to participate in the Championship from the start of the 2016 or the 2017 season,” the statement reads.

“The overall long-term interests of the Championship will determine which candidate is selected.

“The precise terms of this selection process, together with the applicable selection criteria, deadlines, legal requirements and other conditions, will be communicated to candidates who have registered a formal expression of interest with the FIA’s Secretariat before 5pm CET 30 June 2015.

“The application process will commence with those who have registered an expression of interest before the aforementioned deadline (late applicants will be admitted only at the FIA’s discretion).

“All applicants will be expected to undergo thorough due diligence. By way of indication only, the applicable selection criteria will include:

  • the technical ability and resources of the team
  • the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the Championship at a competitive level
  • the team’s experience and human resources
  • the FIA’s assessment of the value that the candidate may bring to the Championship as a whole.

“By way of indication only, the FIA anticipates that full applications will need to be submitted by 1st September 2015, leading to a decision on 30 September 2015.

“In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by both the FIA and the commercial rights holder, no additional team will be selected.”

The suggestion that a new team would be able to join the grid for the 2016 season does seem somewhat ambitious given the long lead-up time required by operations to prepare for life in F1.

However, the possibility of new teams entering the sport is certainly an exciting one given that the likes of Audi and Renault have been linked with works entries in the past few months.

Other operations such as Forza Rossa and ART Grand Prix have also been mooted as possible new F1 teams, suggesting that there will be no shortage of applications for the new slots on the grid.

Quite whether the FIA and the commercial rights holder deems them to be suitable for F1 and fit to race is another matter entirely, but this is certainly a positive step towards safeguarding the sport’s long-term future.

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.