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Haas hoping to make NASCAR ideals work in F1

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Gene Haas hopes that his approach of minimizing the in-house manufacturing outlay that worked for him in NASCAR can also prove successful in Formula 1 when his team makes its debut in 2016.

Co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR team, Haas opted to extend his racing operation to F1 a few years ago before having his application to join the grid approved in 2014.

Haas F1 Team will make its grand prix debut in Australia next March with drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, and will enjoy support from Ferrari in the form of a technical partnership.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Haas explained the thinking behind the technical agreement with Ferrari that will see the Italian manufacturer supply the American team with many of its parts, including the power unit.

“I’ve been following the sport now for many years and I remember back in 2008 everybody was talking about customer cars,” Haas said. “A person would buy a complete car from a race team and go racing.

“That idea has been in Formula 1 for quite some time, but ultimately the customer car concept was not approved. That actually was our original plan – but it was not approved.

“Now here we are in 2015 and Bernie [Ecclestone] has proposed customer cars once again, but right now we are something of an ‘in between’ thing.

“Basically we try to purchase as much as we can – not just from Ferrari, but also from other manufacturers. Most of the teams build everything by themselves, but we are trying to find people who are supplying us with all that.

“We try to minimize what we have to manufacture. That is what we did in NASCAR. That is the whole idea. So the idea of what we are doing is not new – we are just the first who have taken it this far.”

Haas also spoke about the matter of profitability and financial stability in F1, which has been a hot topic in recent years following financial troubles for a number of teams.

“Most teams don’t make any money, and in the end in NASCAR we were breaking even after three years and last year made a little money.

“So it is basically about not losing dramatically and on the other hand maximising your revenue sources – and that goes for sponsors and prize money – and I think, from my perspective, this is easier to achieve in F1 than in NASCAR.

“In NASCAR to get any money you have to win. In F1 if you finish tenth or better you get a percentage, so if you finish among the top ten you at least get guaranteed some money. NASCAR doesn’t do that.”

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.