© Getty Images

Pirelli: Wider 2017 F1 tires meeting expectations after testing

1 Comment

Pirelli’s new, wider tires for the 2017 Formula 1 season have met expectations following their first extended test in Barcelona this week.

Pirelli was tasked with producing tires that were more durable and 25 per cent wider for 2017 as part of a shake-up of F1’s technical regulations.

The Italian company completed extensive testing with Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari last year, but did not get a full range of data from all teams until this week’s pre-season running in Barcelona.

“We’re satisfied with the results of these four days. From what we can see up to now, the new product is in line with our expectations,” Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola said.

“For the 2017 season, the sport asked us to develop tires with less degradation, which allow drivers to push to the maximum. That’s what we’ve seen during these four days of testing so far, and what we’ll continue to see in the second four-day session next week.

“During the first session, the lap times have already been lowered considerably. The target was for lap times that were five seconds faster compared to Barcelona in 2015.

“Yesterday, Valtteri Bottas set a best time of 1:19.705 on ultrasoft tires. Considering that the pole time in 2015 at Barcelona was 1:24.681, I would say that this objective has been met.”

On Thursday, the track in Barcelona was made wet so that Pirelli could test its intermediate and extreme wet tires. As conditions remained sunny, the track dried through the day, but Pirelli was able to get plenty of data regarding the crossover phase between compounds.

Pirelli is also set to get more accurate data next week when teams begin to chase optimum lap time, with the focus through the first test being reliability and system checks.

Running in Barcelona resumes on Tuesday (March 7), lasting another four days prior to the start of the season in Australia on March 26.

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.