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F1: Recapping the past week’s news

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Romain Grosjean DQ’ed from Italian Grand, but Haas F1 to File an Appeal

Although he finished sixth in last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean was subsequently disqualified when it was found that the floor of his Haas F1 VF-18 did not meet the proper specs, outlined in article 3.7.1 d of the Technical Regulations.

The discovery was unearthed following a protest from Renault, which sits fourth in the constructor’s championship, just ahead of Haas.

Per Formula 1.com, the FIA issued a declaration clarifying the rule and requiring teams to be compliant with it by the Italian Grand Prix. Haas requested flexibility, citing the August break – teams are required to completely shut down for two weeks – and limited time as hampering their ability to have adjustments made on their cars by the time of the Italian Grand Prix.

However, while Haas did not receive a formal response, the stewards issued a statement following the race weekend, as outlined in the aforementioned Formula1.com story: “While the Stewards are also sympathetic to the difficulties of producing these parts, the Stewards noted that at least one other competitor was able to comply in the time provided.”

“Further, it was made clear to the competitor from the outset that the FIA Technical Department did not consider their car to be in compliance, and further that they left themselves open to the circumstances they now find. It was therefore the obligation of the competitor to be in compliance, which they did not do.”

Haas is planning to appeal the ruling.

Said Team Principal Guenther Steiner, “We do not agree with the Stewards’ decision to penalize our race team and we feel strongly that our sixth-place finish in the Italian Grand Prix should stand. We are appealing the Stewards’ decision.”

Hamilton Endorses Ocon

SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 25: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP congratulates third place qualifier Esteban Ocon of France and Force India in parc ferme during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2018 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)

The new-look Racing Point Force India outfit was brought out of administration by a group of investors headed by Lawrence Stroll, father of Williams driver Lance Stroll.

Consequently, a hot rumor is that Lance Stroll could move to Force India as soon as this year. With Sergio Perez bringing sponsorship of his own into the team, Stroll’s potential move would come at the expense of Esteban Ocon, a Mercedes junior driver who has been with Force India since 2017.

As a result, Ocon’s F1 prospects are unknown at this point, and his future is somewhat in doubt.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE – JUNE 23: Esteban Ocon of France and Force India smiles during the F1 Festival Marseille 2018 on June 23, 2018 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for F1)

Four-time champion Lewis Hamilton jumped to Ocon’s defense recently, saying that he rates Ocon very highly.

“I’ve always been a supporter of Esteban. I think how he conducts himself and how he performs on track is exceptional,” Hamilton said in a story posted on Formula1.com.

Hamilton also added that Ocon deserves a spot on the F1 grid, and a strong spot at that.

“I’ve not read of who’s signed where and what seats are available, but he needs to be in a great car because he’s one of the top drivers here, so I hope that opportunity is there for him,” he asserted.

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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.