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Magnussen was told he had 2015 McLaren seat


Kevin Magnussen has claimed that he was told by McLaren that he would be racing for the team in Formula 1 this year before it opted to give the seat to Jenson Button.

Magnussen finished second on his F1 debut at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, but endured an otherwise-difficult first season with McLaren before being demoted to the role of reserve driver to make way for Fernando Alonso.

Magnussen was informed in October that his contract at McLaren would not be renewed, and has since tested Porsche’s LMP1 919 Hybrid and a Mercedes DTM car.

Speaking to Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, Magnussen revealed that he had been given assurances over a seat at McLaren for 2015 alongside Alonso.

“I was told that it was my seat,” Magnussen said. “I cannot remember it exactly but, at the end of the season, I was told that I did not need to worry.

“Of course it was hard to learn that I did not get the seat, but I did not doubt that I would come back, so it was not as big a problem as one might have thought.

“But it was hard to begin with the launch, where I had just been told. Then you stand there as a test driver, while Jenson stands with Fernando. It took a while before it sank in and the reality dawned on me.”

Magnussen claimed that Button even had a special ‘goodbye’ helmet prepared for the final race of the 2014 and raced without pressure as he anticipated that it would be his last F1 start.

“Jenson had his two best races at the end,” Magnussen said. “He ran really well, but he had a helmet ready that said goodbye. He had thrown in the towel and just ran with his heart.

“He drove to have fun and enjoy the last two races as he believed 100 per cent that he was done in F1. He drove without stress or pressure.”

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.