Ecclestone saddened by loss of “talented” Bianchi, says: “We must not let this ever happen again”

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Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has paid tribute to Jules Bianchi following the Frenchman’s death at the age of 25.

Bianchi died on Friday night following a nine-month fight against a diffuse axonal head injury suffered in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October of last year.

Tributes have poured in from all over the world to Bianchi, who spent his entire F1 career with Marussia F1 Team, scoring the only points in its history at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix.

In a statement on the official F1 website, Ecclestone expressed his sorrow after hearing the news of Bianchi’s passing.

“It was so sad to hear the news about Jules,” he said.

“We are now going to miss a very talented driver and a really nice person. We must not let this ever happen again.”

Steps have already been taken to prevent a repeat of Bianchi’s accident in the future. The introduction of the Virtual Safety Car in 2015 has been a success, being implemented fully at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago.

However, former grand prix driver David Coulthard believes that it is impossible to remove the inherent danger from motorsport.

“No-one involved in motorsport is ever under the illusion that what they are doing is not dangerous,” Coulthard wrote in his BBC Sport column.

“Although an F1 racer had not suffered a fatality between the deaths of [Ayrton] Senna [in 1994] and Bianchi, there have been several drivers killed in crashes in other categories.

“Danger is an inherent part of life, and depending on your life choices you put yourself either more or less at risk.

“Everyone who steps into a racing car knows that what they are doing could put their life in jeopardy, but they still choose to do it because of what it gives them back.”

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.”