Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen has lavished praise upon compatriot Valtteri Bottas, calling the start to his Formula One career “amazing”.
Bottas has failed to score any points so far in 2013, but the Finn has matched his race-winning teammate Pastor Maldonado for pace throughout the year and qualified a stunning P3 for the Canadian Grand Prix. This has impressed Hakkinen greatly, with the former McLaren driver part of the group managing Bottas, and he is confident of securing him a deal to race in F1 next season.
“We are working hard to achieve the best possible situation for Valtteri in many respects. I think his performance this season has been amazing,” Hakkinen told Russian publication Championat. “He is in good hands.”
Williams has recently entered a partnership with GP2 team Russian Time, sparking rumors that a transfer of drivers could be possible. However, with both Bottas and Maldonado thought to be providing large amounts of finance for the team, and with both drivers showing signs of pace, it would be unwise for the team to drop either driver following a disappointing season given the pace of the FW35 car.
Hakkinen himself did not instantly make a huge impact in Formula One, winning his maiden grand prix in 1997 before going on to win the 1998 and 1999 drivers’ championships.
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.