Can “The Iceman” heat up again at Silverstone?


After seeing his World Championship hopes take a hit in recent races, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen is hoping to revitalize them next weekend at the British Grand Prix, where he last won in 2007 for Ferrari.

Raikkonen has fallen back to third in the drivers’ table behind Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso following finishes of 10th at Monaco and ninth at the most recent race in Canada – a stretch that he believes was more about “surviving, not attacking,” which, in his eyes, is counter-productive.

After dealing with more unpredictable street circuits, he’s hopeful that a return to a more “normal” track like Silverstone will help both him and teammate Romain Grosjean get back to proper business.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be back to the positions we should be with this package,” Raikkonen said in a team release. “We just have to be patient, do our very best over the entire weekend and step by step, we can start catching the leaders.”

Raikkonen is also counting on added performance thanks to a major series of upgrades on the Lotus E21 that will debut in Britain. According to comments from the team’s track operations director, Alan Permane, those upgrades include a new front wing and suspension profiles, as well as multiple suspension and aerodynamic changes.

That’s made Raikkonen believe that his car can perform strongly at Silverstone, particularly in its series of quicker turns.

“Silverstone is all about long, sweeping, high-speed corners and high downforce levels,” he said. “It’s one of the fastest circuits on the calendar – it’s very challenging and the flowing corners are pretty good fun to drive.

“Hopefully, our new parts will help us, particularly in the faster corners. If that’s the case, it could be a good weekend.”

You can see if Raikkonen and the Lotus camp are back on form at the British Grand Prix, which will broadcast live next Sunday morning, June 30, at 7:30 a.m. ET on CNBC.

Optimism abounds with new INDYCAR media partnership

Photo: IndyCar
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Wednesday morning’s announcement that NBC Sports Group will become the exclusive home to the Verizon IndyCar Series via TV, digital, streaming, and direct-to-consumer rights was the conclusion of a long and thorough process to finalize a media partnership that can build on the recent growth of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

And CEO of Hulman & Company Mark Miles believes the final outcome is one everyone can be happy about.

“We’re delighted by every aspect of this announcement today and these arrangements,” Miles asserted in a media teleconference on Wednesday, also making note of a number of highlights about the new media package. “The increase in broadcast, the number of races on broadcast, is really important to the continued growth of the series. The continuity with one media partner who is committed to the sport and to INDYCAR, who can help promote from race to race to race to race throughout the season is important. Having our first product, if you will, our first offering to fans in the direct-to-consumer channel is important to us.”

Miles added, “It met our objectives of increasing the exposure of the sport, increasing the promotion of the sport, and getting us into the over-the-top (streaming) market. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

MORE: NBC Sports Group, INDYCAR partner on new TV and digital rights agreement starting in 2019

John Miller, president of programing for NBC Sports and NBCSN, echoed Miles’ enthusiasm and noted that INDYCAR viewership on NBCSN has grown substantially in recent years, and this new and enhanced partnership, which will feature the 103rd Indianapolis 500 broadcast on NBC in 2019, will build upon that.

“From the NBC perspective, we’ve seen the growth of IndyCar on our cable network NBCSN. We’ve had sustained growth each of the past several years. So the opportunity to have the entire series was very important to us. Of course, to be able to do the crown jewel, the Indy 500 on NBC, really puts the icing on the cake for us and makes our championship season portfolio even stronger,” Miller said.

James Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, added that this will also help the individual drivers grow their brands and attract more sponsorship opportunities.

“As drivers, we’re out there risking our lives to put on a good show,” Hinchcliffe said. “The more people that get to see it, get entertained by it, the better it is for us. As athletes, we’re all individual brands in and of ourselves. Getting ourselves in front of more people, it raises our value to our current partners and potential partners. From every element, this is a huge win across the board.”

The sponsorship angle is a critical side-piece to the new media contract, especially in light of several new sponorship announcements for a number of IndyCar teams as well as IndyCar’s ongoing effort to find a new title sponsor for the series in 2019.

Miles further emphasized that new media partnership will do a lot to serve the business of the teams, drivers, and the series in regards to sponsorship.

“I think it’s important to the entirety of the IndyCar ecosystem,” Miles noted. “For the series itself, at some point we should talk about our sponsorship effort, how we think they’re going to be benefited with this relationship. James earlier talked about our drivers or athletes, and they are individual brands. They’ll get more exposure. That will be good for them.

“We earlier this morning spoke to our team owners. They’re enthusiastic about it as it gives them more to say in the marketplace, more value. Certainly that will be true for our promoters of the races as well.”

A few highlights of the partnership are below.

  • Eight races will be broadcast on NBC, including the Indianapolis 500. The remaining races will be broadcast on NBCSN.
  • Qualifying and practice for all events will also be available live, either through NBC, NBCSN,, the NBC Sports App, or NBC Sports Gold an over-the-top streaming service offered by NBC.
  • NBC Sports Gold will also feature extra content to further supplement IndyCar coverage such as archived races and full event replays. Further information about that content will be revealed in the coming months.
  • Details about international coverage are pending.
  • NBC Sports Gold will also do a handful of exclusive live broadcasts for practice and qualifying sessions that are not televised.
  • NBC Sports Gold will do live broadcasts for all Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races. More details about coverage for the Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires series will come at a later date.