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Report: Apple in talks with McLaren over takeover

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Technology giant Apple is in talks with McLaren Technology Group over a possible takeover, according to a report from the Financial Times.

Apple has been angling to make a move into the automotive sphere for some time, and was linked with acquiring Formula 1 before Liberty Media takeover plans were confirmed earlier this month.

However, Apple may yet still become involved in F1 via McLaren, the company being made up of its racing team, its supercar production arm McLaren Automotive, and McLaren Applied Technologies.

The British team currently sits sixth in the F1 constructors’ championship as its rebuilding process continues following a split with previous engine supplier Mercedes at the end of 2014.

The report from the Financial Times claims that talks between Apple and McLaren have been ongoing for many months, with the American technology company privately developing its own self-driving electric vehicle.

Should the deal go ahead, the report estimates McLaren would be valued between $1.2 billion and $1.9 billion, making it Apple’s biggest acquisition since its purchase of Beats for $3 billion in 2014.

NBC Sports understands that Apple’s push to become involved in F1 did go beyond preliminary talks, with the company conducting due diligence earlier this year ahead of a possible deal.

UPDATE 13:02 ET – McLAREN DENIES APPLE TALKS

When contacted for comment by NBC Sports, a McLaren spokesman said: “We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.

“As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential.”

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.