© Getty Images

Mercedes chairman Zetsche reveals reaction to Rosberg retirement news

2 Comments

Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche has revealed his immediate reaction to the news that Nico Rosberg would be retiring from Formula 1.

Rosberg clinched his maiden F1 title in Abu Dhabi for Mercedes as the German marque won both championships for the third year in a row.

Five days after being crowned champion, Rosberg sensationally announced his immediate retirement from F1, much to the surprise of the entire F1 paddock and the Mercedes team.

In an interview with Autocar, Zetsche revealed that he initially thought something had happened with Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg’s teammate, when Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff called him at a somewhat inconvenient time.

“I was stepping out of the shower lacking any clothes, which I normally do when I get out of the shower! And my phone was ringing,” Zetsche said.

“And I saw it was Toto and I thought: ‘Oh again, something with Lewis!’

“But then I got the news. And I did not expect that, I must say.”

Zetsche said that he understood Rosberg’s decision to quit F1, recognizing that the German had fulfilled his life’s goal by becoming world champion.

“I respected that decision,” Zetsche said.

“I mean, obviously, one [Hamilton] is saying ‘I want more and more and I want to break more records and make history’, and the other one [Rosberg] is saying ‘well, I finally fulfilled my life dream and what can be on top of that?’, and both approaches are legitimate.

“Of course, it would have been easier and more pleasant for us to have two world champions in our team for the season to come.

“Now we need a new driver and that’s how life works. And so I was not insulted or totally disappointed. I respected his decision.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.