Hamilton, Ricciardo and Mercedes nominated for prestigious Laureus Award

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Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes AMG Petronas have all received nominations for the presitigious Laureus World Sports Awards, dubbed “the Oscars of sport”.

2014 F1 world champion Hamilton has been nominated for the World Sportsman of the Year Award, which was won last year by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

The British driver clinched his second world title in emphatic style, winning 11 grands prix in a record-breaking year for Mercedes. This in turn has led to the German team being nominated for the World Team of the Year Award.

Hamilton will face stiff opposition for the individual award though, with Novak Djokovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rory McIlroy and Moto GP champion Marc Marquez also being nominated. In Mercedes’ category, the European Ryder Cup team and the FIFA World Cup-winning German national football team are its biggest opponents.

Ricciardo finds himself in the Breakthrough of the Year category, having enjoyed a superb year with Red Bull that saw him win three races en route to third place in the drivers’ championship. His rivals for the award include Marin Cilic, Mario Gotze and James Rodriguez.

You can see the full list of nominees for the Laureus World Sports Awards here. The winners will be announced on April 15th in Shanghai.

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment
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The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.