Sebastian Vettel: Mercedes still the team to beat despite Ferrari’s pace

Getty Images
1 Comment

Sebastian Vettel believes that Mercedes remains the team to beat in Formula 1 despite Ferrari’s strong showing through pre-season testing.

Mercedes enters 2017 chasing a fourth straight championship double, having claimed the drivers’ and constructors’ crowns every year since 2014.

Even with a change in the technical regulations for the coming season, Mercedes remains the favorite to win both titles ahead of the opening round in Australia on March 26.

Ferrari has impressed through pre-season testing, with Vettel recording the fastest time of the winter on Thursday and having more pace in hand.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has said that Ferrari is “bluffing”, hiding its pre-season pace, but Vettel played down Ferrari’s showing, stressing that Mercedes is still the team out front.

“I think we’re focusing on our stuff here. It’s important, there’s a lot of stuff on our list,” Vettel said.

“We’re probably still a little bit behind. There’s a lot of stuff to do and a lot of boxes to be ticked. In Melbourne, we’ll see, obviously it’s a very special type of track.

“I think we’ve learned in the past that Barcelona is important, to give an indication. For sure the car is much better than last year because the nature of the formula has changed. So far things are making sense, but it’s still early days.

“If you look at the amount of laps Mercedes has done, historically how slow they were going in the tests, and how much they were able to ramp it up for the races. It’s clear that they are very fast, if you look at their long-run pace, I think they’re the ones to beat.

“It doesn’t really matter where we are now. We are growing, we need to work hard, we know that we had to improve and that’s why I think it’s important not to get distracted right now.”

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.