Force India tell drivers to cut out the crashes

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Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil have been warned not to repeat the first-lap collision they had in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley said: “It’s not really what we need to be doing on the first lap.”

Di Resta clipped the back of his team mate’s car at the exit of the turn 14 hairpin and ran wide onto the grass, losing several places.

Fernley said his drivers should give each other more space: “I suspect that Adrian got catapulted off the curb, something like that happened so he didn’t give Paul enough room there.”

It’s not the first time Force India’s drivers have compromised each other at the start. In Abu Dhabi last year Di Resta collided with then-team mate Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner, putting the latter out of the race.

Sutil retired soon after but Di Resta recovered to finish seventh and give Force India their first points in Shanghai. Fernley said that without the contact they might have finished in front of fifth-place Jenson Button.

Di Resta said the collision meant he spent more time stuck in traffic. I was battling with Nico on the opening lap, but unfortunately there was some contact with Adrian down at the hairpin, which put me on the grass and set us back three or four places.”

“After that I was stuck in the pack, my tires were graining, and I couldn’t really make much progress. It wasn’t until the third stint that I was in some clean air and the pace of the car was very strong.”

Force India have previously taken steps to prevent on-track incidents. Di Resta was told not to overtake Sutil in the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.