Caterham given dispensation to miss Austin and Brazil

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Caterham F1 Team is set to miss the United States Grand Prix and the Brazilian Grand Prix as the administrators put in charge of the operation look for a new buyer.

Following a war of words between previous owner Tony Fernandes and the proposed new buyers, Engavest, it was confirmed this morning that administrator Finnbarr O’Connell had now taken charge of the team.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, O’Connell confirmed that he had spoken to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and received dispensation to miss the next two races.

New ownership with enough backing to get Caterham back on its feet is hoped to be in place to allow the team to compete the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of November.

However, the staff at Leafield will not be returning to work until new owners have been found.

“We believe this arrangement gives us a much better chance of being able to reach a better conclusion for the racing team and its creditors,” O’Connell said in a statement.

“While this is a great step forward in making the whole team and assets more attractive, there is no need for the staff of 1MRT to return to the Oxford site in Leafield until a sale of the Formula 1 team occurs.

“This is a difficult situation which is not of our making. We regret any personal impact on 1MRT’s employees. As administrators for CSL, we are seeking to maximise the outcome for its creditors and other stakeholders.”

O’Connell’s colleague, Henry Shinners, confirmed that the sale of the team included: “The Formula 1 licence, the racing cars, the designs and intellectual property for current and future seasons plus the workforce and all of the technical support provided to the racing team by CSL from the Leafield Technical Centre.”

Although the news that the grid will drop to just ten teams for the United States Grand Prix is a great shame, the fact that Caterham is now back up for sale and open for investment may give the operation a lifeline.

Caterham will continue the record of all F1 teams set up at Leafield not reaching the end of the season if it cannot race in Abu Dhabi, following in the footsteps of Arrows and Super Aguri.

Although this dispensation does give the team more time, there is still just a month to go until it is planned to be back racing.

You can read the full statement from the administrators here.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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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.