Carlos Sainz Jr. is refusing to think about a move into Formula One just yet despite testing for Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso in the test at Silverstone in July.
The young Spaniard is a member of Red Bull’s junior driver programme and the son of his namesake, Carlos Sainz, who is a legend of the rallying world. Despite all of the signs suggesting that Sainz Jr. could grace F1 in the not-too-distant future, he insists that he is not getting ahead of himself.
“In January I wasn’t even expecting to have a day in a Toro Rosso or even try Formula One this year, it was not in my plans,” Sainz told Autosport.
However, everything changed very quickly for the Spaniard as he completed some impressive running for Red Bull and Toro Rosso at Silverstone.
“I’m a GP3 driver. I got the opportunity to test a Toro Rosso and a Red Bull.
“This is obviously a big boost for my self-confidence, and a spur to keep pushing in all areas, but I’m still 18 years old, I’m young and there is no way I will go to Formula 1 next year. There’s no rush. I’m patient. I know that there is still a long way to go and that just doing a Formula One test does not mean I’m going to be a Formula One driver.”
Sainz’s name had been banded about as a potential replacement for Daniel Ricciardo should Red Bull opt to draft the Australian driver in as a replacement for the retiring Mark Webber. However, the more logical choice for Toro Rosso would be to take on Antonio Felix da Costa (another Red Bull junior driver), giving Sainz another year or two to mature as a driver. Regardless, his pragmatic and grounded attitude will certainly be a breath of fresh air in Formula One should he reach the pinnacle of motorsport in the coming few years.
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.