Sauber hoping to confirm 2017 F1 line-up by end of season

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Sauber Formula 1 chief Monisha Kaltenborn says the team is aiming to confirm its line-up for the 2017 season before the checkered flag falls on the current campaign in Abu Dhabi on November 27.

Sauber has fielded Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for the past two seasons, with both drivers bringing significant financial backing to the team that helped keep it afloat during a rough period.

The long-term future of Sauber was secured over the summer when Longbow Finance completed a takeover, ensuring the operation will remain on the F1 grid in 2017.

Ericsson is understood to have links to the team’s new owners, and is likely to stay, although questions still linger about Nasr’s future.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Sauber team principal Kaltenborn gave an update on the progress being made for 2017.

“We are still in the process of analyzing our options but it’s not going to take that long any more,” Kaltenborn said.

“We still have the target that we do want to announce in the season, so there’s not that much time left.

“So that’s all I can tell you now.”

Following a flurry of driver announcements earlier this week, Sauber now holds two of the remaining four free seats on the grid for 2017.

Manor is the only other team yet to firm up its line-up, having lost Esteban Ocon to Force India for 2017 earlier this week, while Esteban Gutierrez is chasing a new drive after losing his seat at Haas to Kevin Magnussen.

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.”