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Bottas: Ferrari rumors didn’t damage Williams relationship

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Valtteri Bottas believes that speculation about a possible move to Ferrari for the 2016 season did nothing to damage his relationship with current team Williams.

Bottas had been linked with a switch to Ferrari for 2016 as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement, with reports in the Italian media suggesting that a fee of $13m had been agreed to release him from his Williams contract.

This speculation was grounded when Ferrari confirmed that Raikkonen would be retained for 2016 alongside Sebastian Vettel ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Williams quickly followed suit by announcing that Bottas would remain with the team for next season over the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza.

Writing in his blog earlier this week, Bottas said that although the speculation did not damage his relationship with Williams, he was pleased to have his future secured and confirmed.

“It’s good to have the new contract signed and know what I’m going to be doing next year,” Bottas wrote. “At least there’s no more speculation and the team and myself can focus on the job of making the car quicker and delivering the results.

“We can now start working on the development of next year’s car and share all the information needed without any doubts.

“Our relationship wasn’t damaged at all, but that can happen if people think you are looking to leave a team. No damage has been done and I’m very happy to stay with the team, and they are very happy to keep me as well.”

Bottas believes that continuity will be key to a successful 2016 season, when he will race alongside Brazilian driver Felipe Massa once again.

“I get along with every single person at Williams and we have developed a very good working relationship over the years,” he said.

“I think this is the best place for me at the moment and continuity will be good for us, particularly as I’ll have the same team mate in Felipe Massa. Together we have a good baseline and we can work together to get even better results.”

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.