FIA F2/LAT

Leclerc crowned F2 champion, Russell wins GP3 title at Jerez

Leave a comment

Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc wrapped up the 2017 FIA Formula 2 title in style by winning Saturday’s feature race at Jerez by just 0.2 seconds.

Leclerc moved up to F2 after winning the GP3 title last year, and had dominated the season ahead of the standalone round at Jerez that was announced to replace the scrapped event in support of the German Grand Prix.

Leclerc took pole position on Friday and entered Saturday’s race knowing victory would be enough to clinch the first F2 crown since GP2’s rebrand for 2017, with chief rival Oliver Rowland starting fourth.

Leclerc was able to retain his lead at the start and forge a healthy lead through the opening stages as Rowland worked his way up to second, only for a late safety car to bunch the field.

Struggling for grip, Leclerc came under heavy pressure from Rowland in the run to the flag, but was able to hang on and secure his sixth win of the season, wrapping up the title in the process.

Leclerc is widely expected to move up to Formula 1 next season with Sauber, which is set to enjoy an expanded technical partnership with Ferrari from 2018.

Supporting F2 at Jerez was GP3 where Mercedes-backed youngster George Russell secured the title with two races to spare, finishing fourth in Sunday’s event to forge a 40-point lead ahead of the double-header finale in Abu Dhabi next month.

Russell finished the race fifth on-track, but was promoted to fourth after Red Bull junior Niko Kari was given a post-race penalty for causing a collision with Dan Ticktum.

Both the F2 and GP3 seasons will come to a close in support of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next month on November 25-26.

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.