Renault wants to build success around driver with ‘emotional leadership’

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Renault Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur wants to build the French marque’s future success around a driver with “emotional leadership” as speculation about its 2017 line-up continues to swirl.

Renault returned to F1 as a constructor after six years away in 2016, pairing ex-McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen with 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer.

After taking over the financially-ailing Lotus operation at the end of last year, Renault has been focusing on rebuilding so far in 2016, scoring just six points in the opening 12 races of the season.

Speculation is rife about Renault’s planned driver line-up for 2017. Sergio Perez has been linked with a move away from Force India, while 19-year-old Esteban Ocon is also tipped for a seat following a half-season stint with Manor.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Vasseur said Renault was looking for a driver around whom the team could be built, citing examples such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

“If you look at the success stories of the past, success was always built around a driver,” Vasseur said.

“Schumacher and Ferrari, Vettel and Red Bull, Lewis and Mercedes, and also Alonso and Renault in the past – so the driver is important.

“A driver is not only about performance, but about being capable of leading a team.

“Right now we have more or less a thousand people in the team, if you take Viry and Enstone together, and that needs some sort of emotional leadership – and that is the job for a driver!

“We need a driver who is super-motivated and able to super-motivate everybody else.”

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.”