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Spanish GP kicks off F1’s traditional European season on NBCSN

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The Spanish Grand Prix kicks off Formula 1’s traditional European season this week, at the track where the 2017 cars have had their most running but where most teams will bring upgrades from their cars in the first four races.

Live race coverage is on NBCSN this weekend with live qualifying on CNBC on Saturday.

Variety has dominated the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with 10 winners in the last 10 years. Only Russian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes AMG Petronas or Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo would be considered a realistic prospect to extend that run to 11 in 11, although few thought Max Verstappen could win on his debut with Red Bull this race last year.

Otherwise, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) or points leader Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – each of whom has won here only once – will look to get back on top. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) is also keen to win his first race since the 2013 season opener in Australia.

Hometown star Fernando Alonso (McLaren Honda) looks merely for a finish after a troubled start to the season, in his last F1 race before he heads to Indianapolis for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

As noted above, all sessions will be broadcast on NBCSN, CNBC or via the NBC Sports App. Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett are on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

The next race is the Monaco Grand Prix, on May 28.

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.