Sergey Sirotkin has enjoyed his first run-out on a grand prix weekend in front of his home crowd as Formula 1 held its first practice sessions in Russia on Friday.
Sirotkin, 19, joined Sauber as a reserve driver in 2013 with the view to a full-time seat this season. Although this did not materialize, he has remained on the team’s books ever since, and is in the running for a drive in 2015 after some good performances in Formula Renault 3.5 this year.
As part of his deal with the team, Sirotkin enjoyed a successful practice session in Sochi on Friday, finishing the session just four-tenths of a second shy of Adrian Sutil in the sister Sauber. In the final standings, the Russian driver was classified 17th.
Now, Sirotkin feels ready to make the step up to Formula 1, and is working on securing a full-time seat for 2015.
“I felt it after Bahrain as well, but that wasn’t really a proper run,” Sirotkin said, with reference to his test for Sauber back in April.
“Here is a much better chance to compare and I would say it was a bit of a surprise to me that it was easier and I was closer than I thought. I feel myself more than ready, I just need the chance.”
Sirotkin’s chances of claiming one of the two seats at Sauber have been aided by the problems with Simona de Silvestro’s contract, but he could not confirm whether the Swiss team was his only option.
“We are working on that and getting a seat for next year,” Sirotkin said. “We are working so that as soon as we get a decision we can think about some extra options. At the moment I can’t say anything officially.”
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.