Ekstrom defeats Schumacher to be crowned ROC champion

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In the round-up: Mick Schumacher emulates his father in Race of Champions and IndyCar stars win the Daytona 24 Hours sports car race.

In brief

Ekstrom defeats Schumacher to be crowned champion of champions

The Race of Champions concluded on the snow and ice of Pite Havsbad in Sweden on Sunday with a showdown between two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom and Mercedes’ new Formula 1 reserve driver Mick Schumacher.

The grand final ran to two heats, with Ekstrom winning both. It was the fourth time Ekstrom has become ROC Champion of Champions, with two of his previous successes having been won in finals against Schumacher’s father Michael.

“We had many battles and I have only great memories with Michael from this event,” said Ekstrom. “I’m super proud because Mick also rode with me on Friday in the Dakar car and we had a nice time. Michael was always humble with me and I can see Mick is also very humble. Mick is such a huge talent and his time is ahead of him, so I look forward to more battles in the future.”

Schumacher knocked out four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel in the semi-finals, and bettered Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich in the quarter-finals based on fastest time countback. Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and W Series Jamie Chadwick fell earlier in the competition.

IndyCar stars begin year on a high in Daytona 24 hours

Meyer Shank Racing’s IndyCar driver Helio Catroneves and Simon Pagenaud started their year in style by winning for the team in the Daytona 24 Hours sports car race.

In a GTP class Acura ARX-06 co-entered by Curb-Agajanian and also driven by former Formula E racer Tom Blomqvist and Colin Braun, the pair won the race by just 4.19 seconds.

A further 5.44s behind were their IndyCar rivals Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon, with the two champions sharing a Cadillac hypercar.

Colton Herta switched allegiance from Andretti Autosport to race Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s BMW hypercar and finished 15 laps back in sixth, while several of his IndyCar team mates drove in the lower classes.

Team Penske’s “bus bros” Scott McLaughin and Josef Newgarden finished fifth in LMP2, ahead of Andretti’s Devlin DeFrancesco and Haas F1 reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi who were sharing a car.

Romain Grosjean marked his debut as a factory Lamborghini driver with fourth in the GTDPro class, and new Andretti team mate Kyle Kirkwood was fifth in the non-pro class.

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Comment of the day

The measurable commercial value of F1, and what those with the commercial rights to it choose to do with the championship, is one of the hottest topics of the off-season as the FIA and Formula One Management take differing stances in reacting to public valuations of their property. The FIA technically owns F1, but the commercial rights are currently leased to Liberty Media and so the power lies there to a greater degree. But that’s not going to stop the FIA trying to influence a series it had administered since 1950…

The FIA is a rulebook and a handful of employees to enforce those rules. This entire structure exists only because Bernie [Ecclestone, F1’s former owner] and the teams could have walked away and created their own thing and killing the FIA’s precious Formula One dead in the 70s.

Once the next Concorde agreement is due, this could still happen. Yes FIA own the F1 trademark and are allowed to run the enforcement of the rule book. And they’re allowed it by the virtue of FOM and the participants of the sport. Ben is the first leader of the FIA since Jean-Marie Balestre who thinks he can bully the FOM and its teams into submission. Didn’t end that well for Balestre. The value isn’t in the rulebook and the F1 trademark, it’s entirely in the FOM’s side of the business.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Sridhar Gopalkrishnan!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born on this day in 1917: Paul Frere, who went on to win the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hours and finished second in his final grand prix appearance at Spa in 1956. He died in 2008.


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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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11 comments on “Ekstrom defeats Schumacher to be crowned ROC champion”

  1. Interesting choice of CotD, as it is factually incorrect….
    Regardless, if anyone thinks F1 can run in any recognisable form without the FIA, they are grossly misunderstanding who the FIA are and what they do.
    I contend that the ‘power’ comes from the two entities working together in a coherent manner, and not primarily from one side. When they oppose each other, they both suffer – although the one trying to exploit F1 for pure profit suffers much more….

    1. If people really wanted to push this issue, the FIA has far better cards than FOM. The FIA has the national organisations, the tracks, the support series, the government and manufacturer contacts and involvement, and on and on.

      F1 as a series is very easy to replicate. The cars are only complex because the regulations make them so. It’s easy to make simpler cars go just as quick, and as other series are showing, standardization is here to stay. Spending tens of millions on ‘development’ in motorsports makes less sense each year as the primary purpose of modern technical regulations is to a) showcase marketable technology (or just pretend to; see the standard hybrid components in sportscars) and b) keep the cars at specific laptimes.

      And as so often before, there is just one thing that any pretender to the “F1” name needs to make everyone else submit: Ferrari.

      1. That’s a very accurate assessment. Worth expanding on the FIA having the Government and Manufacturer links because that’s exactly what the organisation was created for.
        Modern F1 is as contrived as any series – it is the very definition of a “show.”

        1. Currently? No, many participants aren’t.

          Mick however is a multiple world champion in open wheel racing. Which is more than some of the other participants can claim.

          1. This was a reply to @frood19 below

          2. @sjaakfoo Considering that the cars being driven weren’t open wheel, why are you giving open wheel championships more value than any others in the context of RoC?

  2. The Daytona 24 is usually my favourite race of the year and this one did not disappoint. Highly recommended.

    1. Every time I took a look it seemed to be under yellow flags. Maybe just a coincidence, but it meant I didn’t watch much of it. One time they even threw a full yellow when one of the Penske cars was just briefly stopped and quickly continued back to the pit. In longer races especially, race control being a little restrained with neutralizing the race goes a long way to preserving the strategic aspect of the competition.

      Still good to see most of these souped-up LMP2s in the LMDh/GTP category generally had a pretty strong debut.

      1. They seemed pretty good in allowing the track to stay green and wait to see if the situation fixed itself – there’s always exceptions though. I was impressed by how close the racing was and the coverage was pretty good. The LMP2 finish was crazy close!

  3. Without meaning to disrespect Mick, why is he in the Race of Champions? He’s not currently a champion, is he? Is he there by dint of a previous championship win?

  4. Good run for Mick Schumacher, getting all the way to the finals, and @frood19, I believe he’s in because of his father, altho it could for his F2, F3, and F4 titles

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