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F1’s 21-race calendar approved

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Formula One’s 21-race calendar for 2019 has been approved, with Melbourne as usual hosting the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 17.

Governing body FIA said after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in St. Petersburg on Wednesday that 11 races would be held in Europe, five in Asia, four in the Americas and one in Australia.

The season will start one week earlier and finish one week later.

FIA said the cars would be heavier – with a weight limit increase from 740 kilograms to 743 – and that fuel handling procedures during testing are to be the same as during racing.

There will also be more clarity on how grid positions are formed when drivers are hit with multiple engine penalties. Typically, drivers who have made several unauthorized engine-part changes are hit with a penalty of 20-25 places – which sends them to the back of the grid.

But it can be confusing to understand who’s starting from where and from how far back if several of the 20 drivers have the same penalty imposed.

Schedule:

March 17: Australia, Melbourne

March 31: Bahrain, Sakhir

April 14: China, Shanghai

April 28: Azerbaijan, Baku

May 12: Spain, Barcelona

May 26: Monaco

June 9: Canada, Montreal, Quebec

June 23: France, Le Castellet

June 30: Austria, Spielberg

July 14: Britain, Silverstone

July 28: Germany, Hockenheim

Aug. 4: Hungary, Budapest

Sept. 1: Belgium, Spa

Sept. 8: Italy, Monza

Sept. 22: Singapore

Sept. 29: Russia, Sochi

Oct. 13: Japan, Suzuka

Oct. 27: Mexico City

Nov. 3: United States, Austin, Texas

Nov. 17: Brazil, Sao Paulo

Dec. 1: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

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.