Maldonado and Ericsson left frustrated by Spa practice crashes (VIDEO)

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Pastor Maldonado and Marcus Ericsson made no secret of their frustration after both suffering hefty crashes during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.

During FP1 at Spa-Francorchamps, Maldonado ran wide at Malmedy and lost control of his car before sliding back across the track and into the wall.

The Venezuelan driver walked away unharmed, but the same could not be said of his car which had sustained a large amount of front-end damage in the impact.

“Today wasn’t the start to the grand prix weekend that we wanted,” Maldonado conceded.

“I lost the rear end in FP1 and unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the car off the barriers. My crew did a great job to get everything back together for FP2, but then there were a couple of red flags to interrupt that session too.”

In spite of the incident, Maldonado seemed encouraged by Lotus’ performance in practice and general pace at Spa.

“I think we can have a good weekend from now,” he said. “There’s good potential in the car and we know what we need for a strong result.”

Ericsson’s crash came just minutes after FP2 had resumed following Nico Rosberg’s tire blowout, prompting a second red flag period on Friday afternoon.

Heading through Pouhon, a high-speed left-hander, Ericsson touched the kerb and lost control of his car, causing it to spear off-track and into the wall at high speed.

Like Maldonado, Ericsson was unharmed, but was quick to apologize to the team for making a mistake.

“Unfortunately at the end of the session I made a mistake in Pouhon,” Ericsson said. “I touched the grass, the car snapped and I hit the wall.

“I want to apologize to the team for this incident, which has given them a lot of extra work. It is racing, sometimes it happens, but when it happens it is, for sure, frustrating.

“Before the accident it had been a good day for us, and some of the outcomes from what we were doing were positive.”

Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday.

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.”