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Kevin Magnussen: Renault needs time to return to full strength


Kevin Magnussen believes that it will take time for Renault to return to full strength in Formula 1 after taking over the financially-stricken Lotus operation over the winter.

Renault will return to F1 as a constructor in 2016 after six years away, having sold its team to Lotus ahead of the 2011 season.

Financial problems blighted Lotus towards the end of its life, with bailiffs appearing at a number of races in 2015 due to unpaid bills.

As a result, Lotus had to downsize its operation, leaving Renault with plenty of ground to make up after taking control at Enstone.

Former driver Romain Grosjean told MotorSportsTalk earlier this week that he expects the issues of 2015 to still be felt by Renault this year, and Magnussen echoed these thoughts.

“A lot of things have been shut down because they were struggling financially, but if you actually know the background and know how they’ve done it, they’ve done it in a really clever way,” Magnussen said.

“Because they had to survive. All these things are getting back again, and they are expanding in different areas. But it will take time to find the right people and for the people to start to learn to work together.”

Magnussen believes that the next opportunity for Renault to become truly competitive again may come with the next change in technical regulations, which is currently planned for 2017 but may be shelved until 2018.

“It will just take a lot of time,” Magnussen said. “I think it will be whether we have the rule changes in ’17 or ’18 will have a big – that is the real opportunity for us.

“And actually it would be better if it comes in ’18 I think.”

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.