Daniel Ricciardo impressed by F1’s recent growth in the United States

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Daniel Ricciardo is impressed by Formula 1’s recent growth in the United States, saying the sport’s profile in America has noticeably risen over the past two years.

F1 returned to the United States after five years away in 2012 with a grand prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

The event has been a success, playing host to bumper crowds for each of its five races, with the most recent edition in October 2016 being the best-attended yet.

American interest in F1 has also been aided by the arrival of the Haas team, which has a headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and the five-race stint for Alexander Rossi with Manor towards the end of 2015.

Speaking to The Age, Ricciardo spoke positively about F1’s growth in the United States, comparing it to its rise in his native Australia over the past decade.

“It’s still below [the popularity] here in Australia and England and that, but it’s growing, it’s definitely growing,” Ricciardo said.

“Like the last two years you can really see that, people know what Formula 1 is now.”

“I sort of see it a bit like how Australia was pre-Mark Webber’s successful years. You know, the racing fan obviously knew it and knew Mark and knew a lot of the drivers.

“But not really if you walk up to someone on the street, they wouldn’t necessarily know the name Michael Schumacher and maybe Mark Webber, and that’s it.

“I doubt it will ever be like an NBA and a baseball or anything, but yeah it’s growing the awareness is there.

“It is cool, but you know, the Americans are just happy doing their thing. You can always sort of go under the radar somehow when you are over there.”

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.”