Grosjean disappointed by FIA’s decision to start Monza F1 qualifying

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Romain Grosjean was left angered by the decision to start Formula 1 qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in heavy rain after crashing out five minutes into the session while driving in a straight line.

Qualifying began at Monza as planned at 2pm local time despite the final F1 practice session of the weekend being limited to just 16 minutes of green flag running earlier in the day.

Nine drivers were able to complete a flying lap, but a number reported low visibility, with Grosjean calling conditions “dangerous” over team radio.

Moments later, the Frenchman speared into the wall on the main straight after trying to apply the throttle, bringing out a red flag. A lengthy delay followed, with qualifying yet to resume at the time of writing.

“I’m gonna try to be calm, and not say anything I may regret. We shouldn’t have launched qualy,” Grosjean told NBCSN.

“From the out lap on, I complained it was too dangerous. We couldn’t see where we are. I wasn’t the only one. Clearly crashing in a straight line shows the car couldn’t take it, and there was too much water.

“I’m disappointed that we started in these conditions. You can’t do anything. But you can’t back off. If there is someone behind you, they’re straight in your back. You don’t know what’s in front.

“We should have waited. It felt alright at the first lap. The rain came stronger on the second lap to push. We knew we’d have more aquaplaning with the tires. It was fine. Brand new tarmac. It was too dangerous.”

Grosjean felt the decision to start qualifying went against the FIA’s recent push to improve safety standards with concepts such as the Halo and stricter yellow flag rules.

“I think FIA brings safety, and you have to slow down a lot for yellows, Halo is coming in…” Grosjean said.

“But launching a qualy which shouldn’t have taken place, or at least after the out lap, I believe the decision should have been made differently.”

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.