Formula DRIFT extends agreements with Long Beach, Evergreen Speedway and Road Atlanta

Leave a comment

We’re still in 2014, but the Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro series is already looking ahead to 2015 and 2016, extending contracts and event hosting through ’16 at Road Atlanta and Evergreen Speedway.

In addition, the series announced Thursday that it has extended its current deal with The Streets of Long Beach through 2015.

The announcement is especially poignant for Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington, which hosts the fifth event of the 2014 Formula DRIFT schedule this weekend: Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway on July 18 and 19.

It also marks the ninth year Evergreen Speedway has hosted the drift racing circuit.

“Evergreen Speedway is excited and proud to announce a three-year contract extension with Formula DRIFT through the 2016 season” Evergreen Speedway president/CEO Doug Hobbs said in a media release. “Formula DRIFT is by far, the most exciting and single largest motorsport event each and every year at Evergreen Speedway.

“Having such a marquee world stage series in the Seattle market is also a boost to tourism with a major economic impact. The best part for me is seeing thousands of fans smiling and having fun watching some of the most talented drivers in the world wow the crowd.”

As for Road Atlanta, the annual Formula Drift race there has grown by leaps and bounds, prompting track and series officials to extend the present deal so soon.

“The growth of Drift Atlanta over the past 11 years has been phenomenal,” Road Atlanta president/general manager Geoff Lee said. “We are pleased to extend our relationship with Formula DRIFT through 2016, and continue to build on the momentum that has made Drift Atlanta one of the largest and most renowned drifting events in North America.”

Based in Long Beach, Formula DRIFT is also working on extending working agreements with other existing tracks on its 2014 schedule.

“Eleven years ago we were the last on the list to get dates locked in for some of the venues,” Formula DRIFT president Jim Liaw said. “Now here we are 11 years later and are towards the top of the list for venues across the country.

“We are proud of the growth of the sport and it couldn’t have been done without the relationships that we have with these top venues and we look forward to continuing the relationships for years to come.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.