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Alonso forgot about rib injury during Chinese GP

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Fernando Alonso says that he forgot about his rib injury during Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix as he finished 12th in his comeback race for McLaren.

Alonso was forced to miss the last race in Bahrain on medical grounds after sustaining a fractured rib and a small lung collapse in a crash at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was declared fit by the FIA doctors in China, allowing him to finish 12th in Shanghai on Sunday as McLaren struggled for race pace.

Alonso reported earlier in the weekend that he was still dealing with a little bit of pain due to his fractured rib when in the car, but told NBCSN that it was not on his mind during the race.

“To be honest I felt a little bit worse today,” Alonso admitted.

“When I went to the grid, on the laps to the grid, I had a little bit more pain than the last couple of days, so I was a little bit worried on the formation lap.

“But then only now jumping out of the car I reminded myself about the rib.

“When I was in the race, I don’t know if it was the adrenaline, the competition, whatever – I forgot completely.”

Alonso felt disappointed not to have qualified inside the top 10 on Saturday, but admitted that McLaren lacked the race pace to score any points in China.

“Not totally happy obviously. We were expecting a little bit more, we were expecting to be in the points, but we didn’t have the pace today,” Alonso said.

“I think the safety car didn’t help. We chose to start with the prime tire and run a little bit longer, but that benefit was cancelled after the safety car because they were behind our rear wing immediately.

“To be honest, after the safety car we didn’t have the pace either to open the gaps, so we need to look at that.

“On the positive side, both cars finished the race so reliability keeps improving.”

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.