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Gasly’s USGP no-show in vain as Super Formula finale is cancelled

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Red Bull junior and Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly’s absence from the United States Grand Prix was in vain after the Super Formula season finale was canceled due to a typhoon.

2016 GP2 champion Gasly was placed in Super Formula by Red Bull for 2017, only to be drafted in at Toro Rosso for the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this month.

Gasly was supposed to see out the F1 season, but a joint call by Red Bull and Honda saw the Frenchman stick to his prior commitments and skip this weekend’s USGP in order to fight for the Super Formula title at Suzuka.

Entering the final race weekend half a point back from series leader Hiroaki Ishiura, Gasly stood a chance of becoming the first rookie Super Formula champion in over 20 years.

However, with heavy rain in the area affecting qualifying, officials at Suzuka announced the remainder of the meeting would be canceled due to a typhoon in the area, declaring Ishiura the 2017 champion.

Gasly’s absence from the USGP has paved the way for Porsche factory driver Brendon Hartley to make his surprise F1 debut with Toro Rosso in Austin, with the New Zealander set to qualify today.

Gasly is due to return to Toro Rosso for the final three races of the F1 season, starting with next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

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.