Ecclestone confident Vettel will be champion with Ferrari


Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone is confident that Sebastian Vettel will win a fifth world championship during his time with Scuderia Ferrari.

After winning four world titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, Vettel left the team at the end of last season to join Ferrrari, a brand he has been a lifelong admirer of.

The German driver has since excelled with the Italian marque, claiming two race wins in the opening half of the 2015 season to rank third in the drivers’ championship.

In an interview with the official F1 website alongside Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, Ecclestone said that although he thinks Vettel will not win the title in 2015, he is sure one will follow over the coming years with Ferrari.

“I think he will struggle this year,” Ecclestone said. “But, sure, he will win a world championship with Ferrari. No doubt about that.”

In the wide-ranging conversation, Ecclestone and Arrivabene also discussed Vettel’s decision to turn his back on Red Bull last fall and secure a move to Ferrari for 2015.

It was revealed that Vettel had called Ecclestone to discuss the possibility of moving away from Red Bull, asking for some advice.

“For sure one concern was leaving a team he had won four world championships with,” Ecclestone said.

“You have won so much – and now you want to move? Not easy.

“But I tried to explain to him that here you have one team that is struggling to maintain its level, and there you have another team that is going to improve. It can only be an upside.”

Ecclestone also backed Ferrari’s decision to retain Kimi Raikkonen for the 2016 season, believing the timing of the announcement to have been particularly good.

“It was a clever move from Ferrari to announce it when they did,” Ecclestone said.

“Others would have announced it on the race weekend – and it wouldn’t have given them half the attention that they got. [Arrivabene] understands the business.”

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.”