Raikkonen hit with grid penalty in Mexico after gearbox change

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Kimi Raikkonen will start the Mexican Grand Prix from 18th position after receiving a grid penalty for changing his gearbox ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session.

Raikkonen was forced to park his car at the side of the track during FP3 on Saturday morning after a small fire broke out on his power unit.

Ferrari was forced to switch back to an old engine and change the gearbox on Raikkonen’s car as a result, prompting the stewards to hand the Finn a five-place grid penalty for the race on Sunday.

“The gearbox of car 7 has been changed before six consecutive events have expired,” a brief statement from the stewards confirmed.

Raikkonen qualified 15th for the race on Saturday after a brake issue forced him to pit halfway through Q2 without having set a competitive time.

Despite being given a five-place grid drop, the Finn will start 18th as both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have heftier penalties, leaving them on the back row.

“This morning we had a problem with the car in P3, and we had to change the engine and the gearbox,” Raikkonen said. “It was a very tight call to put everything back together, but the guys did an excellent job to make the car ready for Q1 in that small lapse of time available.

“However, there was not enough time and not everything was 100 per cent. I still had a small issue with brakes. Actually, they were working, but then they locked up on one lap.

“Anyway, with all the penalties we are getting tomorrow, our best option was to do well enough to make it to Q2 and not really do anything after that. We did three fast laps so that we can check later that everything is okay with the car and try to make a good run out of it.”

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.”