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Red Bull disappointed to leave Japan without points

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Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat made no secret of their disappointment after failing to score any points in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

After suffering a high-speed crash during qualifying on Saturday, Kvyat was forced to start the race from the pit lane, leaving him with a tough task to finish in the points.

Ricciardo looked set to lead the team’s charge, but a first lap clash with Felipe Massa left the Australian with a puncture, forcing him to crawl back to the pits and drop down the order.

“At the start, the best line for me was straight down the middle,” Ricciardo explained. “I saw the gap between Kimi and Felipe and I knew it was close, but I thought they would make a bit of room.

“I haven’t seen the footage and don’t want to put the blame on anyone so we’ll call it a racing incident for now. It’s a shame for the team, I think we could have gained some positions off the line and then the race would have been completely different.

“But we had the puncture, and that damaged the floor so we lost some downforce. I tried to do what I could, we started to catch some cars towards the end but by then I didn’t have the grip to do anything. On a positive note, even with the damaged floor, the car was handling well.”

Kvyat’s continued to struggle throughout the race due to a variety of problems that stopped him from attacking the cars ahead and fighting up the order.

“It was pretty boring for me out there this afternoon, because a combination of circumstances meant I had to just sit back and was unable to attack,” Kvyat said. “I had a completely new car, so that wasn’t so easy. We had difficulties with the tires, the brakes and the overtake button, which made life complicated.

“In the end, I did manage to overtake some people, but it wasn’t great. It’s frustrating and annoying, but there was nothing I could do. Battling for P13 does not give you much satisfaction. But a big thank you to the team, they had a lot of work to do on Saturday night to get the car ready for the race.”

In spite of the difficult result, it did make clear just how impressive Red Bull has been over the past seven years.

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.