Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believes that Sebastian Vettel has no preference over his teammate for next season as the defending world champions look for a replacement for the retiring Mark Webber.
Following Webber’s decision to leave F1 at the end of the season, the team has narrowed its choice down to Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen. Although the presence of a fellow world champion at Red Bull in Raikkonen could pose a threat to Vettel’s dominance within the team, Horner does not believe that the German driver will have trouble working with either driver.
“I don’t think Sebastian has any concerns about going up against any driver, and he hasn’t voiced a preference either way,” Horner explained to Sporting Life.
“He knows Kimi, he knows Daniel. Both are very quick drivers and would represent a challenge for him, but he has not looked to influence the team in any way as to which way we should be looking.”
The team is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks about Webber’s replacement, although rumors have recently surfaced suggesting that Fernando Alonso could be angling a move to the team. However, Vettel did voice his opinion over the possibility of the two-time world champion joining him at Red Bull, making clear that he would prefer to work with Raikkonen.
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.