Ecclestone: Rosberg and Vettel poor for F1 business


Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes that German drivers Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel have been poor promoters of the sport, saying that they are “not so good for my business”.

Ecclestone has made no secret of his admiration and support for Lewis Hamilton in the past, calling the Briton “the best champion we have had in a very long time”.

Much of this support stems from Hamilton’s global fame as he embraces his celebrity status and is involved with events outside of F1.

Although Ecclestone was by no means critical of Rosberg, he made his thoughts clear when in conversation with the German driver for a feature on the official Formula 1 website.

“Generally I still believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time,” Ecclestone said. “He manages to get to all different walks of life: red carpet, fashion business, and music – you name it.

“Nico is not seeking the limelight as Lewis does. Lewis wants to be famous.”

Ecclestone said that the lack of promotion from Rosberg and Vettel has played a part in the cancellation of the German Grand Prix, comparing it with the success of the British Grand Prix thanks to Hamilton’s support.

“When it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport,” Ecclestone said. “From a pure business aspect – sorry Nico if I have to say this – you are not so good for my business.”

Rosberg defended himself, telling Ecclestone that he thought that was a “hard call”, but the CEO of the F1 Group made his thoughts clear.

“It sounds harder than it is meant,” he said. “Unfortunately you don’t have the German fans on your side. As the cancellation of the German Grand Prix indicates, Germany is a terrible market for Formula 1.

“On the contrary Lewis is a hero in the UK. The British love Formula 1. Sebastian is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognize him on the street.”

Fame aside, Hamilton and Rosberg will be going head-to-head in Monaco on Sunday, starting from first and second place on the grid respectively.

The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am ET on Sunday before moving over to NBC at 7:30am ET.

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.”