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Toro Rosso frustrated, encouraged by first 2017 F1 test running

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Scuderia Toro Rosso technical chief James Key says the team was both encouraged and frustrated by its performance in the first Formula 1 pre-season test in Barcelona this week.

Toro Rosso launched its 2017 car, the STR12, last Sunday, with a design similar to that of defending champion team Mercedes and a striking new livery catching the attention of the F1 paddock.

The team had hoped to put the new car through its paces over the four-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, only for issues to limit the running of drivers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. Kvyat was able to complete just a single lap on the final day of the test due to an engine issue on his car.

Toro Rosso managed a total of just 183 laps in Barcelona, less than any other team, leaving Key frustrated.

“The week has been both encouraging but also frustrating with the missed running time,” he said.

“However we will now plan our recovery for next week and hope to make up for lost ground.”

Team boss Franz Tost echoed Key’s sentiments, saying: “We arrived in Barcelona at the start of the week with a wonderful new livery and we were quite excited to start the new season. We were hoping to have completed many more laps than what we’ve actually done during this first pre-season test.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t complete our program because of some reliability issues. Therefore, we are missing some data, especially regarding the softer tires.

“Having said that, when the car has been out on track we’ve got a very promising feedback, so we just need to keep working hard with our partner to sort out all the reliability issues.

“Both Carlos and Daniil have got to grips quickly with the STR12 and are gaining confidence rapidly. Their impressions has also been generally quite positive.

“All in all, it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride to begin with, but we are confident that we will get everything under control next week during the second test in order to be ready for the first race of the season in Australia.”

Toro Rosso will resume running in Barcelona on Tuesday with the start of the second pre-season test.

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.