Rosberg loses more ground on Hamilton after Monza engine failure

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Nico Rosberg saw the gap to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship grow to 53 points after he retired from the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Rosberg started the race on the back foot after being forced into downgrading his power unit on Saturday due to a problem, leaving him fourth on the grid.

A poor getaway left the German in sixth at the end of lap one, but he managed to fight back to run third in the closing stages of the race, closing in on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in second.

However, with three laps to go, Rosberg’s seven-race-old engine failed, spewing smoke as the car was parked at the side of the track at the Roggia chicane.

“It was just too many kilometers I guess in the end on that engine,” Rosberg told NBCSN after the race.

“[It’s] so disappointing though that it blows up like two or three laps from the end, just when I was having a good chance to attack Vetel also. I could have given it a good go against him. The whole weekend has gone pear-shaped.”

The issue with Rosberg’s upgraded power unit was eventually defined as a leak on the cooling system, but he had no regrets over Mercedes’ decision to try and introduce it early.

“Now it turns out that actually it had nothing to do with the engine,” Rosberg said of his Saturday failure. “It was a chassis component which we’ve had on the car a long long time.

“We really don’t understand how that went wrong and why that broke, so that needs further investigation. In hindsight, no it was perfectly okay to put the engine in.”

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.