Lewis Hamilton calls for F1 weekend format to be shaken up

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Lewis Hamilton believes that new Formula 1 owner Liberty Media should look at shaking up the format of race weekends as part of its planned changes for the series.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 in January, with American executive Chase Carey becoming its new CEO and chairman.

Carey will work alongside commercial chief Sean Bratches and sporting manager Ross Brawn to develop and expand F1, with new ideas set to be discussed in the coming months.

Brawn recently raised the idea of reviving non-championship races as a way to test out new ideas and formats, with the latter being of particular interest to three-time world champion Hamilton.

“I think a new format is definitely needed for Formula 1. Thursday to Sunday has been the same for the last 11 years,” Hamilton told reporters in Barcelona earlier this week.

“I think the way these cars are, with the continued direction and design they go which makes it difficult for us to overtake and then people complain that we don’t overtake, we’ve got to come up with some unique and different races. Maybe every other race there’s going to be a different scenario.

“When you go to Monaco, you can’t keep just doing the same race format because no-one can overtake there. Maybe they need to spice it up, do something different. Maybe have a sprint race. I don’t know.

“But Monaco race should be different to the others. There’s lots of ideas, but I’m not going to share them.”

Liberty’s F1 bosses are set to meet with the team chiefs in the next couple of weeks to discuss possible new ideas for the sport.

F1 race weekends have remained largely the same since 2006, with three practice sessions being followed by a three-stage qualifying and a race lasting between 90 minutes and two hours.

Attempts were made to tweak qualifying at the start of 2016, only for the quickfire elimination format to come under heavy criticism and be scrapped after just two runnings.

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.”