Vettel hails ‘great recovery’ by Ferrari to finish second in Baku

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Sebastian Vettel hailed the “great recovery” by Ferrari that allowed him to finish Sunday’s European Grand Prix in second place behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.

Vettel struggled to dial in to the new Baku City Circuit in practice on Friday, but bounced back in qualifying to line up third on the grid.

The German made light work of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo early on before enduring a somewhat lonely race en route to second place at the checkered flag.

“Today has been a great job for us. Already by the end of yesterday the car was coming alive,” Vettel said on the podium after the race.

“We were struggling a bit on Friday, but to see where we are now is a great recovery. Second place, two times on the podium now in a row after Canada which is great, I’m scoring some good points even if this weekend was a bit different to last week.

“I think the pace is there, the car is good, we’re coming along. All in all a great day and thanks to the team.”

Vettel professed his liking for the street track in Baku, which played host to its first F1 race on Sunday.

“First time we are here in Azerbaijan, I didn’t really know what to expect but it’s been a great track, a great pleasure, a great welcome for all of us,” he said.

“I think the circuit is incredible. You need to be well-equipped around here, let’s put it that way, around here, some proper high-speed corners. very, very close.

“I think quite a lot of people lost a lot of money today because they bet on a safety car and we didn’t have one. I think it also speaks for the quality of the drivers, it was a clean race.

“I expected a safety car but it never came out. It’s a great circuit, a great challenge. It’s really narrow and a lot of fun.”

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.”