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2016 US GP ‘subject to agreement’ on updated F1 schedule

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Doubts over the future of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas continue to grow after the latest draft of the 2016 Formula 1 calendar has the race listed as being ‘subject to agreement’.

Following the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council this week, a confirmed schedule for next season was released on Wednesday featuring the 21 races that featured on the last provisional version.

As part of the sporting changes agreed by the WMSC, the maximum number of races per season has increased from 20 to 21 to accommodate the return of Germany and the arrival of Azerbaijan.

However, after the Circuit of The Americas had its state funding cut earlier this month and suffered a recent weekend that circuit chairman Bobby Epstein called “financially devastating”, another blow has come after the 2016 race was listed as being “subject to agreement with the promoter and ASN”.

The updated calendar features only one date change from the previous version, with Mexico being brought forward by a week to form a back-to-back with the US GP.

Once again, the WMSC stressed that the start time of the European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan will be adapted to ensure that it does not overlap with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is due to finish on June 19.

Confirmed FIA Formula One World Championship calendar

March 20 – Australian Grand Prix
April 3 – Bahrain Grand Prix
April 17 – Chinese Grand Prix
May 1 – Russian Grand Prix
May 15 – Spanish Grand Prix
May 29 – Monaco Grand Prix
June 12 – Canadian Grand Prix
June 19 – European Grand Prix (Azerbaijan)*
July 3 – Austrian Grand Prix
July 10 – British Grand Prix
July 24 – Hungarian Grand Prix
July 31 – German Grand Prix
August 28 – Belgian Grand Prix
September 4 – Italian Grand Prix
September 18 – Singapore Grand Prix
October 2 – Malaysian Grand Prix
October 9 – Japanese Grand Prix
October 23 – United States Grand Prix**
October 30 – Mexican Grand Prix
November 13 – Brazilian Grand Prix
November 27 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

*race start to be scheduled to avoid conflict with the conclusion of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
**subject to agreement with the promoter and the ASN

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.