Vettel: F1 should listen to demand over qualifying format

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Sebastian Vettel has criticized the decision to keep the elimination Formula 1 qualifying format for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, saying that the sport is failing to cater to demand.

The addition of quickfire eliminations to the old Q1/Q2/Q3 structure in Australia proved disastrous as it only exacerbated the problems it was intended to fix, such as having too few cars on track and pole being settled early.

Team bosses provisionally decided to scrap the new format for Bahrain, only to fail to agree on a replacement when meeting with the F1 Commission, resulting in a stay of execution.

Most have been critical of the failure to revise the format, with four-time champion Vettel using an interesting analogy to express his disappointment.

“If you sell vanilla ice cream and everybody that comes to the shop asks for chocolate ice cream, the next day you open you are expected to sell chocolate ice cream,” Vettel said.

“But instead you decide to sell vanilla ice cream again.

“So, I think that usually you do what your clients would like you to do, but you’re not really doing the job, I guess, if you do exactly the opposite.”

Vettel was one of a number of drivers to sign a letter from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association last month calling for changes to be made to F1’s governance structure.

The German driver said that although no exact demands were made for qualifying, something had to be changed.

“We the drivers didn’t give any proposals. We just made it clear that something is not right and that something has to change,” Vettel said.

“We are drivers and we are not here to make the rules but I think for some decisions it would be beneficial to listen more to the drivers and to the fans.

“You have to do what’s the best for sport at the end. We just have to find the best system.”

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.”