Raikkonen upbeat about Lotus progress


Kimi Raikkonen believes that Lotus has made considerable progress in closing the gap to the top teams for the start of the 2013 Formula One season.

Although he finished the 2012 championship in third place, Raikkonen told Autosport how the team had made a step forward over the winter.

“I think even compared to the last races, it feels like we are a bit closer. We saw [Sebastian] Vettel being fast today but all the rest, everybody else, it looks tight and they are close to each other.”

Like many of the drivers though, Raikkonen did not want to read too much into his Friday pace. He finished sixth in FP1 and fourth in FP2, and similar results for teammate Romain Grosjean reinforced the pace of the Lotus.

“It is only the first Friday,” Raikkonen said. “So let’s see how it goes in the first two races and we will go from there.”

“For sure we can improve ourselves also quite a bit. They [Red Bull] were fast on the harder tires, so you expect that they would have been a bit faster on the super soft. But you never know. It is what it is and the race is a different story. It is just the first Friday.”

The team has shown good pace in practice so far, and they will certainly be in the running for a strong points haul this weekend relying Raikkonen and Grosjean can continue their good form.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”