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Renault set to evaluate B-spec engine at post-Spanish GP test

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Renault is set to evaluate a raft of updates for its R.S.16 Formula 1 car during next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix before trialling a B-spec engine at the post-race test.

Renault returned to F1 as a constructor in 2016 after six years away, taking over the old Lotus operation at Enstone in the winter break.

Its first four races have offered more lows than highs, with its first points only coming courtesy of Kevin Magnussen last weekend in Russia.

However, the team is pushing on with update plans to move up the grid, with a raft of updates planned over the coming race and test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya which should suit the car.

“For the race we have an updated rear wing as well as some updates for the front wing,” team technical director Nick Chester confirmed.

“For the test we have a full raft of things to try; new suspension, further aero updates over various areas of the car, some mods to cooling as well as evaluating the B-spec power unit, so we should have a full two days.

“We fared decently in relative terms at pre-season testing [in Barcelona] and when you look at the qualities required for a handy car around the circuit there are no initial fears from our side.

“That’s not to say we wouldn’t welcome some more downforce, but there’s potential as we currently stand.”

Chester also spoke about the progress made between China and Russia by the team, and believes that this upward trend can continue in Spain.

“In China there were a lot of factors that worked against us and in contrast, in Russia there were a lot of factors that were beneficial to us,” Chester said.

“It illustrated the importance of having a completely straightforward weekend with no issues to deal with – whether in the practice sessions or in the race. Getting all the data from practice is important: we did that in Russia so our engineers were better placed to make the best set-up calls.

“On top of that we were able to show decent race pace and capitalise on the events around us in the race and get a strong result. Kevin drove a brilliant race with other cars breathing down his neck; he did everything he could and seventh was the result.

“On the other side of the garage, Jolyon was much happier with his car so we’re in a good place heading to Spain.”

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.