Maldonado and Ericsson left frustrated by Spa practice crashes (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Pastor Maldonado and Marcus Ericsson made no secret of their frustration after both suffering hefty crashes during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.

During FP1 at Spa-Francorchamps, Maldonado ran wide at Malmedy and lost control of his car before sliding back across the track and into the wall.

The Venezuelan driver walked away unharmed, but the same could not be said of his car which had sustained a large amount of front-end damage in the impact.

“Today wasn’t the start to the grand prix weekend that we wanted,” Maldonado conceded.

“I lost the rear end in FP1 and unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the car off the barriers. My crew did a great job to get everything back together for FP2, but then there were a couple of red flags to interrupt that session too.”

In spite of the incident, Maldonado seemed encouraged by Lotus’ performance in practice and general pace at Spa.

“I think we can have a good weekend from now,” he said. “There’s good potential in the car and we know what we need for a strong result.”

Ericsson’s crash came just minutes after FP2 had resumed following Nico Rosberg’s tire blowout, prompting a second red flag period on Friday afternoon.

Heading through Pouhon, a high-speed left-hander, Ericsson touched the kerb and lost control of his car, causing it to spear off-track and into the wall at high speed.

Like Maldonado, Ericsson was unharmed, but was quick to apologize to the team for making a mistake.

“Unfortunately at the end of the session I made a mistake in Pouhon,” Ericsson said. “I touched the grass, the car snapped and I hit the wall.

“I want to apologize to the team for this incident, which has given them a lot of extra work. It is racing, sometimes it happens, but when it happens it is, for sure, frustrating.

“Before the accident it had been a good day for us, and some of the outcomes from what we were doing were positive.”

Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 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.