Wolff: Being Hamilton’s teammate ‘a tough challenge’ for Rosberg

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says that being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate is a “tough challenge” for Nico Rosberg, but believes the German driver can turn around the points deficit to win the 2016 drivers’ championship.

Rosberg and Hamilton have been teammates since the beginning of 2013, enjoying a fierce rivalry during their battle for the world championship over the past three seasons.

Rosberg surged into a 43-point lead at the beginning of the 2016 season, only for Hamilton to chip away at his advantage before moving ahead in Hungary. Hamilton now leads Rosberg by 19 points with nine rounds remaining.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Wolff spoke about the rivalry between his drivers, both of whom have enjoyed varying successes through their careers.

Both won the GP2 title (Rosberg in 2005, Hamilton in 2006), but Rosberg did not win his first grand prix until his seventh season in F1. Hamilton has won a race in every season he has competed in.

Although Wolff does not think that this lack of victories has a mental impact on Rosberg in the battle against Hamilton, he conceded that being a teammate with the Briton is a challenge.

“No I don’t think it does something mentally. If you end up in Formula One and win races, you are mentally very strong,” Hamilton said.

“Nico’s circumstances were completely different to those of Lewis who immediately started his F1 career in a winning team with McLaren. Probably if he wouldn’t have won back then, that would have meant something.

“Right now Nico is paired with Lewis who is probably the best driver in F1 at the moment, and yes, that is a tough challenge.

“That is a benchmark – and he accepts that.”

When asked if Rosberg is still able to win a maiden F1 drivers’ championship in 2016, Wolff said: “We are half way through the 2016 season and only 19 points separate both.

“That’s less than one race win, and Nico is superb in qualifying. So both are on the same level.”

Hamilton is currently spending his summer break at the annual Crop Over festival in Barbados, chronicling his adventures on Snapchat.

Hamilton is one of the most present F1 drivers in mainstream media, gracing red carpets over the world and enjoying a celebrity status alongside his racing commitments.

Questions have been asked in the past regarding Hamilton’s focus, but Wolff said that so long as he continues to deliver on-track, Mercedes won’t interfere.

“As long as he functions as a race driver on the weekend and delivers results, we don’t interfere in the private life of the drivers,” Wolff said.

“Everybody is allowed to have friends in the social environment he chooses. This goes for both the drivers – and each member of the team.

“And so far over the last three years our results show that this has worked out well. Is it a recipe for future success? I don’t know!”

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.”