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Sirotkin keen to balance GP2 with F1 reserve role

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GP2 driver Sergey Sirotkin hopes to balance a full season in GP2 with a reserve role in Formula 1 next year after enjoying an impressive campaign in the feeder series in 2015.

Sirotkin first came to attention in F1 when he joined Sauber as a development driver in 2013 at the age of 17.

Sauber originally planned to prepare Sirotkin to step up to a full-time race seat, but he ultimately left the team at the end of 2014 after taking part in just one practice session.

The Russian moved into GP2 for 2015 with Rapax and enjoyed a successful year, finishing third as the top rookie in the final standings behind champion Stoffel Vandoorne and American racer Alexander Rossi.

Speaking to Russia’s Sportbox, Sirotkin confirmed that he will remain in GP2 next year, but hopes to balance his racing commitments with a reserve role at an F1 team.

“I am glad that I will continue to race in GP2,” Sirotkin said. “Next season, my goal is the title – after third place there can be nothing else to aim for.

“We have a definite offer [for an F1 reserve role], and not just one, but we all understand what it rests upon. If we find the required financial support, maybe I’ll be a test driver in F1.

“There is an opportunity, and perhaps we’re even closer to this goal than some others.”

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.