McLaren passes FIA crash test with new nose design

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McLaren has confirmed that its new nose design for the MP4-30 car has passed the required FIA crash test and will debut at next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The British team has endured a tough start to the 2015 Formula 1 season after making the switch to Honda engines, scoring just four points in the opening seven races.

The team’s frustrations came to a head in Canada last weekend as Fernando Alonso said he appeared “amateur” when racing outside of the points before eventually retiring.

McLaren has long urged patience as its revival with Honda begins to gather steam, and it appears another positive step has been taken as the team confirmed last night that its new nose design has passed the FIA crash test.

Team racing director Eric Boullier recently paid tribute to both his drivers, the staff and its fans for supporting McLaren through this difficult time and continuing to dig deep, having experienced its worst ever start to an F1 season.

Perhaps the biggest saving grace for McLaren is that the car, when on the pace as we saw at Monaco, is capable of scoring points. The Honda power unit is still very much in its early stages, and by the time it has completed its development cycle and is up to speed with the likes of Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes, McLaren could yet be fighting back towards the front of the field.

A number of teams are expected to bring upgrades to the race in Austria next weekend including Toro Rosso, whilst Force India will debut its major update package at the British Grand Prix two weeks later.

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.