Leimer receives FP1 run-out in Hungary with Manor

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Manor Marussia F1 Team has confirmed that reserve driver Fabio Leimer will make his Formula 1 weekend debut during first practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday.

After winning the GP2 Series title back in 2013, Leimer was unable to find an F1 seat and instead joined Rebellion Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The Swiss driver had been due to race in the Japanese Super Formula series in 2015, but lost the seat back in March before joining Manor three months later.

Leimer (pictured right) will now make his first appearance on an F1 weekend in FP1, deputizing for Roberto Merhi.

“Running Fabio in a free practice one session is a planned opportunity that we have all been working towards for some time,” team principal John Booth said.

“We have enjoyed welcoming him into the team over the past few races and it will be interesting to gain his feedback on the car and assess his performance.”

Leimer is relishing the opportunity to get out on track for Manor on Friday, even if it comes on a difficult weekend for the team following the death of former driver Jules Bianchi.

“On this most difficult of weekends for the team, I am very appreciative of their decision to continue with my planned FP1 session,” Leimer said.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity and I hope I can make a positive contribution to the engineering programme for the weekend.”

Merhi will retake the reins of the MR03B car for the remainder of the weekend, racing alongside Will Stevens.

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.