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Williams ‘not waiting around’ for decision on Button’s F1 future

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Williams will not wait for a decision to be made on Jenson Button’s Formula 1 future with McLaren before sorting its own line-up for the 2017 season, according to deputy team principal Claire Williams.

Button, 36, is out of contract with McLaren at the end of the season, and is at risk of losing his seat to junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

Should McLaren opt to replace Button, a return to Williams – the team he made his F1 debut with back in 2000 – has been mooted, with a change of line-up expected for the British team.

However, Williams was defiant in saying that the team would not be waiting for Button and McLaren to make a decision before pushing on with its own plans for next year.

“We will own our driver line-up decision, and I am not sat here waiting for Ron Dennis to make his decision or for Jenson to make his decision,” Williams told Press Association Sport.

“It is not about what other people are doing. I am not going to be waiting around because that is just not the right mentality for a team like ours to have.

“It would be a great story, but he has to make the right choice for him, and we have to make the right choice for the team.”

Besides Button, Williams has been linked with Force India driver Sergio Perez for 2017 as the Mexican explores options away from the team.

“Sergio has done a great job this year, he is an intelligent driver, and of course he is going to be someone we are looking at,” Williams added.

“I have only met him briefly on the odd occasion. He is very charming. He is very eloquent, so commercially he would be strong for any team

“Of course he is going to be someone you’d consider if he is available.”

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.