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Ferrari replaces Arrivabene with Binotto as team principal

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MARANELLO, Italy (AP) Ferrari replaced Maurizio Arrivabene with Mattia Binotto as team principal on Monday following another failed Formula One title chase.

Binotto, who had been working as Ferrari’s chief technical officer, has been with the team for nearly 25 years.

“After four years of untiring commitment and dedication, Maurizio Arrivabene is leaving the team,” Ferrari said in a statement. “The decision was taken together with the company’s top management after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio’s long term personal interests as well as those of the team itself.

“With immediate effect, Mattia Binotto will take over as Scuderia Ferrari’s Team Principal. All technical areas will continue to report directly to Mattia.”

While Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel won the opening two races of the 2018 season and took pole position in three of the first four races, Ferrari’s performance waned as the year went on, enabling Mercedes to win a fifth straight drivers’ title with Lewis Hamilton.

Arrivabene had been in charge since the 2015 season, having previously worked for Philip Morris, a key Ferrari sponsor.

Arrivabene’s criticism of Ferrari’s technical department may have resulted in his ouster.

Having joined Ferrari in 1995 as a test engine engineer, Binotto was involved in the team’s golden years when Michael Schumacher won five titles. He was promoted to technical chief in July 2016.

Binotto had reportedly been chosen previously as Arrivabene’s successor by former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died in July.

Binotto was widely credited with creating cars that were competitive with Mercedes over the past two years – which put a spotlight on questionable strategic choices.

Arrivabene was criticized for the way Ferrari handled its home Italian Grand Prix in September, when a lack of team orders prevented Kimi Raikkonen from clearing the way for Vettel at the start – which was followed by contact between Vettel and Hamilton.

There was another tactical error concerning the choice of tires during qualifying for the Japanese GP. Hamilton clinched the title two races later in Mexico – with two GPs to spare – and finished with an 88-point advantage over Vettel.

In four seasons under Arrivabene, Ferrari won 14 races – 13 by Vettel and one by Raikkonen – and finished second three times in the constuctors’ standings.

The 2019 season opens with the Australian GP in Melbourne on March 17.

Former Sauber driver Charles Leclerc has been hired to replace Raikkonen for this season, with Raikkonen having gone to Sauber.

Raikkonen was the last Ferrari driver to win a championship in 2007.

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.