Seven drivers share 168 places worth of grid penalties for Italian GP

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In what is becoming a recurring story in Formula 1, more than a third of the grid has been hit with a grid penalty for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

Six of the seven were penalized for making changes to their power unit and exceeding the limit of four of each component per season.

Although none of the teams were able to outdo McLaren’s record 105 grid drop in Belgium, some were hit with multiple penalties, resulting in a very jumbled rear end of the grid.

So, without further ado, here is the driver-by-driver penalty run-down.

Marcus Ericsson – qualified P9, starts P12

Ericsson is the only driver whose grid drop is not the result of a power unit change. The Swede was penalized three grid positions for blocking Nico Hulkenberg in Q1 on Saturday, leaving him 12th for the start of the race.

Jenson Button – qualified P16, starts P15

Yes – Button actually gains a position from his qualifying result despite having a five-place grid penalty for taking an additional ninth power unit element.

Fernando Alonso – qualified P17, starts P16

The same is true for Fernando Alonso, who has a ten-place penalty for taking a ninth power unit element for the first time.

Carlos Sainz Jr – qualified P13, starts P17

Sainz drops down the grid after racking up 35 places worth of penalties over the Monza weekend. The Spaniard’s car has taken fifth and sixth sets of elements, resulting in the grid drop.

Daniil Kvyat – qualified P14, starts P18

Red Bull has been the biggest offender when it comes to power unit changes at Monza. Kvyat racks up 30 places worth of grid drop due to changes made to his power unit, with another five coming thanks to a gearbox change. All in all, he serves just four places.

Daniel Ricciardo – qualified P15, starts P19

Ricciardo’s weekend has been nothing short of a nightmare thanks to problems with his power unit. After fitting a new one and giving himself a 25-place grid penalty, said power unit failed during FP3, forcing Red Bull into fitting another one. So all in all, it’s a 50-place grid drop.

Max Verstappen – failed to qualify, starts P20

Verstappen’s problems were such that he was unable to get out during qualifying, and therefore technically failed to qualify. Of course, the stewards have given him permission to race, albeit with a 30-place grid penalty and a drive-through for the race after he was unsafely released in FP3.

Although Ricciardo should start 65th and Verstappen should only be 50th on an infinite grid, as Verstappen did not qualify, he automatically starts from the back.

So here’s what the provisional grid looks like for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
5. Felipe Massa Williams
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Sergio Perez Force India
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
11. Felipe Nasr Sauber
12. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
13. Will Stevens Manor
14. Roberto Merhi Manor
15. Jenson Button McLaren
16. Fernando Alonso McLaren
17. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
18. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
19. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
20. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

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.