Booth proud of Manor for honoring Bianchi in Hungary

1 Comment

Manor Marussia team principal John Booth expressed his pride and emotion following the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Formula 1 paddock came together to pay tribute to Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi died at the age of 25 ten days ago after a nine month fight against head injuries sustained in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October last year.

Last weekend’s race in Hungary was one full of emotion as the F1 paddock came together for the first time since Bianchi’s death.

It was a particularly emotional race for Manor, which was the team Bianchi spent his entire F1 career with and saved with his ninth place finish at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Speaking after the race in which Manor drivers Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens finished 15th and 16th respectively, Booth expressed his pride in the team for showing courage and strength over the weekend.

“A very difficult day, at the end of a very difficult week, for our team and the entire F1 community,” Booth said. “The build-up to this weekend has been incredibly emotional, but we had one job to do today to honour Jules, and that was to achieve the best possible placings.

“That’s exactly what we did, and I am so proud of the whole team for their tremendous courage and fortitude.”

Bianchi’s family was present at the Hungaroring for the race on Sunday after Bernie Ecclestone laid on a private jet for them to attend, and Booth said that this was a source of comfort for Manor.

“It has been both difficult and comforting for them to see Jules’ family here at the track today,” Booth said.

“Difficult, because they too are a part of this team and we have shared so many happy occasions together. And comforting, because if they could find the strength to contend with the incredible outpouring of love and affection for Jules today, then we certainly could.

“It was not easy for any of the drivers, but well done to Roberto and Will for their focus and composure.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.