Former Red Bull driver and world championship runner-up David Coulthard believes that it will take something extraordinary to stop Sebastian Vettel from winning a fourth consecutive title this season, even if the German driver suffers from a drop in form.
Vettel currently enjoys a 38 point lead during the summer break after a scintillating first half of the season that has seen the three-time world champion claim four wins, and Coulthard can’t see him being stopped in the remaining nine races.
“Historically, if you’re able to build a bit of a buffer in the first half of the season, even if somebody then comes forward in performance, normally you can hang in there and get the championship,” Coulthard told GP Update. “If you look at Button when he won with Brawn, he won a lot of races in the first half of the season. He didn’t actually do anything in the second half of the season but he was able to hang in there and get the championship.”
Button’s success came in 2009 after Brawn took advantage of the change in regulations to win both championships. Button won six of the opening seven races before finishing on the podium just twice more in the remaining ten rounds. To Coulthard, it would take an even greater swing in momentum for Vettel to falter at this point.
“Sebastian is unquestionably a remarkable driver when you look at the amount of starts, the amount of success, the qualifying and racing and what have you.
“Obviously I don’t know this, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t win his fourth championship. But of course with nine races to go, there are a lot of points.”
In 2009, it was Vettel playing catch-up and the German driver was in the same position last year as he overturned Fernando Alonso’s 40 point lead to win the title at the final round in Brazil. Alonso’s lead amounted to very little given the pace of both Vettel and the Red Bull RB8 as the German driver broke into his stride to win a third consecutive title.
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.