Red Bull junior driver Carlos Sainz Jr. has been crowned the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 champion at Jerez, Spain today after finishing ninth in the penultimate race of the season.
Sainz has dominated the championship in 2014 by claiming seven wins, but was guaranteed the title after the very first corner in Jerez when title rival Roberto Merhi crashed out.
With just one race remaining, Sainz enjoys a 46-point lead with 25 on offer, making him the first Red Bull-backed driver to win the championship despite it being a favorite of the energy drink giant’s motorsport division.
Sainz follows in the footsteps of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, who won the title in 2013 for DAMS before moving up to Formula 1. The Spaniard will be hoping to make a similar move, but his far from convincing performance in today’s race is unlikely to have done his hopes of a seat at Toro Rosso in 2015 much good.
The race was won by Marussia reserve driver Will Stevens, with Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin completing the podium in Jerez. The final round of the year will be held tomorrow afternoon.
Formula 1 enjoys a great deal of support from Formula Renault 3.5, which acts as a rival to GP2 as the sport’s leading feeder series. Of the current field, Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi and Giedo van der Garde all raced in the series before graduating to F1.
Roll of Honor – Formula Renault 3.5 champions
2005 Robert Kubica
2006 Alx Danielsson
2007 Alvaro Parente
2008 Giedo van der Garde
2009 Bertrand Baguette
2010 Mikhail Aleshin
2011 Robert Wickens
2012 Robin Frijns
2013 Kevin Magnussen
2014 Carlos Sainz Jr.
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.