MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: 2016 Spanish GP

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Formula 1 arrives in Spain this weekend for the start of the 2016 season’s European leg with one man firmly in control of the drivers’ championship: Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg has claimed four wins from four races so far this season to sit pretty on 100 points at the top of the standings, leaving Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton as his nearest rival – 43 points behind.

Rosberg and Hamilton’s rivalry has been one of F1’s most intriguing stories over the past three seasons, and their fight for the 2016 crown is poised to be the toughest yet.

Hamilton has been unlucky so far this season, leaving him to arrive in Spain hopeful of a change in fortune that may give him the chance to fight Rosberg wheel-to-wheel for the race win.

As ever, the MST team has made its picks for this weekend’s race. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton – Rosberg’s run has to end at some point, right? Hamilton has tasted success in Barcelona before, and showed in both China and Russia that his early-season start-line woes are now a thing of the past. I’m backing him to end the streak and score his first win of the season with a classy and dominant display.

Surprise Finish: Max Verstappen – I didn’t think we’d be talking about Verstappen racing in a Red Bull until next season at the earliest, yet here we are. Verstappen has already proven his enormous talent at Toro Rosso, but now he has the chance to achieve bigger and better things in a top-line car. I’m backing Verstappen to outperform Daniel Ricciardo this weekend and immediately justify Red Bull’s harsh call.

Most to Prove: 
Daniil Kvyat – After his disaster in Russia and demotion to Toro Rosso, Kvyat needs to prove that he’s still worth a place in F1. For the remaining 17 races of the season, he’s got to prove to the rest of the grid that he’s worth hiring for next season. Let’s see if he can get off to a good start in Spain.

Additional Storyline: Updates and upgrades – The beginning of the European season marks the first raft of updates for the teams to their 2016 cars, so it will be interesting to see how this affects the pecking order. Lots to be gained and lost this weekend.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Nico Rosberg – This is it. I’m picking Rosberg for the first time this year. Which could well mean this is the first time Rosberg loses this year. I have no idea if there’s a correlation and it’s me seriously over-valuing the Team MST picks. I’ll say this though. Spain’s as good a time as any for Rosberg to win one in a straight fight against Hamilton and the Ferraris provided none of those three have issues. He’s done it here before and I think he can do it once more. A five-for-five start to 2016 wouldn’t be unprecedented, but it would give him the momentum needed to make his tally eight in a row overall with a chance to equal the record of nine on his unofficial home soil at Monaco later this month.

Surprise Finish: Fernando Alonso – I’m gonna throw a stunner out there and say Alonso/McLaren follow up their impressive Russian GP with a top-five finish for Alonso on home soil in P5. It’s probably an emotional pick more than a realistic one but this is a place to see whether McLaren’s improved form is genuine, especially as a number of teams bring on updates this race.

Most to Prove: Daniil Kvyat – There’s no question after his debacle in Sochi which served as a reason – if not the only reason for his demotion to Toro Rosso that Kvyat has a huge microscope under him this weekend. So does Max Verstappen in his place at Red Bull, obviously, but Kvyat is under pressure from more players to perform. He must respond in a way that helps his stock and not hurts it further.

Additional Storyline: Upgrades – With Spain the kickoff to the traditional European season it’s also the first chance to see a major round of upgrades for most of the field. Are Renault and Force India’s upgrades going to propel them higher in the midfield? Has Mercedes figured out its MGU-H woes? Is Ferrari going to go through a trouble-free weekend? Does Haas keep up after its flying start as the teams bring on their next round of packages? The VES/KVY switch is storyline number one outside the win battle but deeper in the field, whose upgrades do what will tell a greater tale for the races to come.

Predict the Podium

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull

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.”