Rowland still targeting F1 role for 2016 season

© GP2 Series

Oliver Rowland is still working on securing a role in Formula 1 for the 2016 season, but remains open to racing in other top line championships such as GP2 or Formula E.

Rowland followed in the footsteps of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Kevin Magnussen by winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2015, claiming a record-breaking eight victories and scoring points in every race.

Rowland also raced in a handful of GP2 events and tested for three teams, and made his Formula E debut with Mahindra Racing in Uruguay on Saturday in place of the injured Nick Heidfeld.

Speaking to the Formula E website, Rowland said that although he remains focused on securing an F1 role for 2016, he hinted that he is open to a seat in Formula E on a permanent basis.

“Number one priority for next year is still Formula 1 but it’s very difficult,” Rowland said.

“Certainly [Formula E] is a top level championship and I think it’s something that every driver wants to compete in. Let’s see what happens, they may be an opportunity to continue here next year.

“But it all depends a little bit on what happens in the Formula 1 scene and if I have a deal for next year.”

Only two seats remain on the F1 grid for 2016, both at Manor, but Rowland is not thought to be a leading contender.

2015 drivers Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens are both known to be in talks about a new deal for next season, while Mercedes youngster and DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein is also another consideration.

Rowland said that he believes Formula E boasts the best grid in motorsport given the success of drivers such as Jacques Villeneuve, Sebastien Buemi, Sam Bird and Nelson Piquet Jr., all of whom have won world titles.

“Just being here and the profile of the other drivers – if you look at them I would argue that it’s the best grid of drivers in the world anywhere,” Rowland said.

“I think Formula 1 has ten exceptional people, but also probably five that shouldn’t be there, but in this everybody deserves their opportunity.”

Rowland finished 13th on Saturday in Punta del Este, but was upbeat despite failing to score any points on debut.

“I enjoyed my first Formula E weekend,” Rowland said. “There has been a lot to learn about the technology and the race procedures and it has been an enjoyable experience for me.

“The car felt good in qualifying and without the slide in the final sector on my qualifying lap, I would have started in the top ten. As a driver, it is always frustrating not to release the full potential of the car but the grip just wasn’t there in the race.

“This weekend has been eye opening for me. Formula E creates close, challenging racing and is a series the drivers really relish.

“I enjoyed driving the M2Electro. Mahindra have built and impressive car and it has been great to see first hand the passion that both fans and drivers have for this sport.”

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.”