It’s been two years since Kobayashi’s Suzuka podium with Sauber (VIDEO)


Oh, how long ago two years can seem.

Yeah, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa went 1-2 in the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix – a race that marked the beginning of the end of Fernando Alonso’s title aspirations that season.

But the star of that year’s race in Suzuka was Kamui Kobayashi, who in one of if not the most brilliant drives of his career held off Jenson Button for the final podium position.

The result marked the second podium finish for a Japanese driver in his home race, as Kobayashi followed the mark set by Aguri Suzuki in 1990.

Kobayashi’s result, two years on, stands out even more given his and Sauber’s respective journeys since.

The result marked Sauber’s last podium finish in F1. Although Nico Hulkenberg brought them the majority of their points in 2013, the 2014 season has been an uphill battle and currently has not seen either Adrian Sutil or Esteban Gutierrez score points. To be fair, both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez scored points in Suzuka last year, with sixth and seventh place.

Kobayashi, meanwhile, took a one-year detour into the FIA World Endurance Championship with AF Corse in a Ferrari F458 Italia, before returning to F1 this year with Caterham. Kobayashi has had his seat under threat and was pulled out before the Belgian Grand Prix, and hasn’t been able to provide the same level of heroics on-track he achieved with Sauber and Toyota.

But as we head to Suzuka this week, it’s only fitting to look back at the good old days for both parties.

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.”