© Getty Images

2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Preview

Leave a comment

Following one of the most vibrant events in Formula 1’s recent history in Mexico, the paddock now ventures to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix where the atmosphere promises to be just as intoxicating.

Lewis Hamilton suffered just his fifth defeat of the season to teammate Nico Rosberg in Mexico as the German driver showed the kind of form that may have allowed him to mount a serious bid for the drivers’ championship had it come about four months earlier.

As a result, we arrive in Brazil with the Mercedes drivers once again going toe-to-toe. The championship may already be decided, but Rosberg will know that some late victories in 2015 will do wonders for his mindset heading into the winter break.

Here is our full preview of the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.

2015 Brazilian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Hamilton looks to bounce back from Mexico defeat, Monaco crash

On Wednesday, Lewis Hamilton revealed that he would be arriving in Brazil one day later than planned after coming down with a fever and being involved in a minor road traffic accident in Monaco at the beginning of the week.

The Briton was unhurt and is okay to race in Brazil, but there will undoubtedly be questions about his fitness heading into the weekend. If it presents Rosberg with another opportunity to pounce and claim just his fifth win of the year, the German must grab it with both hands.

Another podium for Felipe?

Felipe Massa will be leading the home charge once again this weekend as he goes in search of a sixth podium finish in Brazil. The nature of the Interlagos circuit should suit Williams better than many of the recent circuits have, and if Ferrari can have another nightmarish race as it did in Mexico, Massa will be a red hot favorite to add to his trophy haul.

In other Brazilian news, Felipe Nasr will be making his first grand prix appearance on home soil this weekend. Since stepping up from GP2 to a full-time F1 seat with Sauber in 2015, Nasr has been quietly impressive, picking up 27 points so far this season, but the opportunity to race at home will surely be a new highpoint for him.

The notoriety of Interlagos

Interlagos has a reputation for the extraordinary. Just yesterday, many on Twitter were discussing the thrilling finale to the 2008 championship when Lewis Hamilton won the title at the final corner. Who can forget 2003 when Giancarlo Fisichella won for Jordan? Or 2012 when Sebastian Vettel fought back to edge Fernando Alonso for the title?

The Brazilian Grand Prix is rarely a dull affair, giving hope to those lower down the order. At at time when there are still many close fights in the constructors’ championship – Lotus and Toro Rosso are separated by just six points; Sauber and McLaren by nine – the penultimate race of the season could give those in need a golden opportunity to impress.

Rossi’s final race of the season

Alexander Rossi will start his fifth and final grand prix of the 2015 season for Manor on Sunday, having made an enormous impression since making his debut back in Singapore. The American driver flew the flag on home soil and has a perfect record against teammate Will Stevens so far, and will want to cap it off with another victory in Brazil.

This should go down as Rossi’s final race for now – all of the noises coming from the American and out of Manor hint at a deal for 2016 being very close, suggesting that this weekend’s race will not be the last we see of him. On the contrary: 2015 was just the beginning for Alexander Rossi.

Defining the future

Despite us now being at the penultimate race of the season, there are still a number of big questions that need to be answered before 2016. Red Bull’s engine saga continues to rumble on, with the latest suggestion being that it will continue with a rebranded Renault engine for next year. However, a deal remains unconfirmed, leaving question marks hanging the future of both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.

Lotus’ future is also still unclear. Renault’s buy-out is still in the process of being finalized, but again, no announcement has been made. Manor’s direction is another question that needs to be answered following the resignation of a number of key staff over the lack of investment from team owner Steven Fitzpatrick.

With winter testing just over three months away now, we need answers. And quick.

2015 Brazilian Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos
Laps: 71
Corners: 15
Lap Record: Juan Pablo Montoya 1:11.473 (Williams, 2004)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2014 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:10.023
2014 Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:13.555
DRS Zone: Main Straight (T15 to T1); T3 to T4

2015 Brazilian Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 7am ET 11/13
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 11am ET 11/13
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 8am ET 11/14
Qualifying
: CNBC 11am ET 11/14
Race: NBCSN 10:30am ET 11/15

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.