Sutil: Ericsson joining Sauber doesn’t change my plans

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Adrian Sutil has said that his plans for the 2015 Formula 1 season have not changed despite Sauber announcing today that Marcus Ericsson will be joining the team for next year.

The Swiss team confirmed on Friday that Ericsson will be leaving Caterham for a move to Hinwil, meaning that either Sutil or teammate Esteban Gutierrez will be out at the end of the year.

Sutil has suggested for some time that he has a contract for next season with Sauber, and believes the fact that Sauber has a number of drivers vying for the seat and possibly under contract for 2015 has caused a problem.

“No, for me it doesn’t make any changes,” Sutil said. “This [multiple drivers under contract] is I think the problem of the team so I have no real idea and I can’t really comment on that I think.

“Miss Kaltenborn [Sauber team boss] has to comment on that, what she’s planning and her intention. What can I say? I’m not concerned, no.”

Besides Sutil and Gutierrez, Sauber also has reserve drivers Giedo van der Garde and Sergey Sirotkin on its books, and both are known to be in the running for the final seat.

In qualifying today in Austin, Sutil put all uncertainty about his future to one side to rally to his best qualifying result in over a year, finishing 10th in Q3.

“I think the conditions today were really good for us,” Sutil explained. “It was cold, the track was in a cooler condition, no wind out there. Also the car was behaving probably a little bit better than usual, so this was a combination of confidence in the car and maybe my speed.

“I felt good. When I feel good, I can perform. It’s quite still surprising with this car, but you should never give up and that’s what we showed.

“There’s a good mood in the team because it has been a tough season with no real success. This is a good moment. We hope for even a better moment tomorrow. Whatever comes, we try our best.”

Sutil will start tomorrow’s race from ninth position on the grid by virtue of Jenson Button’s five-place grid penalty.

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Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen’s two-man battle in Motocross provides surprises

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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The 2019 Motocross season is one-third in the books and the title battle may have already come down to a two-man contest, while the pair of contenders might just be a little surprising in their own way.

Strictly by the numbers, no one can count Eli Tomac’s early season charge of first- and second-place finishes shocking, but threepeating in Motocross is such an incredibly difficult feat that no one would have been surprised to see him struggle out of the gates either. And in fact, that is precisely what happened.

Tomac came out of the gates slow in Round 1 and was seventh by the end of Lap 1 of Moto 1 – hardly the auspicious start he hoped for. He rebounded only as far as fourth and that ultimately cost him a chance to win the overall. Tomac won Moto 2 to claim second overall.

In Round 2, Tomac found his rhythm and won both Motos and grabbed the red plate. For the moment, he had the momentum with three consecutive Moto wins.

Tomac stumbled again in Round 3 – this time finishing only fifth in Moto 1 and earning only 16 points to dig a deep hole that eventually surrendered the red plate to Ken Roczen.

It was at Thunder Valley in Round 3 that a pattern emerged. Tomac would not make it easy on himself early in the day, but was more than capable of winning the second Motos to overcome his deficit.

That Roczen has won this season is also not a surprise in itself. Many believed his ascent to the top step of the podium was way overdue.

That he has run so well, however, was not entirely expected at the start of the season. Since injuring both arms in a pair of accidents, Roczen came tantalizingly close to snapping his winless streak a dozen times. He won heat races during the Supercross season and finished second at Anaheim I, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Seattle earlier this year.

He just couldn’t secure the overall win.

Roczen’s Moto 1 victory at Hangtown might have been the precursor to another disappointing weekend, but once Tomac got into the lead, Roczen zeroed in on the Kawasaki’s back tire and finished second in route to the overall victory.

Roczen lost the overall and the red plate to Tomac in Round 2 at Pala, but he stood on the podium in both Motos. Roczen podiumed twice again in Round 3 while taking that overall victory to regain the red plate in what has become a seesaw affair in the early part of the 2019 season.

Last week, Roczen looked more like Tomac with his desperate struggle in Moto 1 and sixth-place finish. That was the first (and so far only) time this season that he failed to stand on the podium.

Roczen’s Moto 2 win last week was just enough to put him second overall with barely enough points to force a tie at the top of the leaderboard with 176 points apiece.

Meanwhile, Tomac failed to win either Moto with a third in the first race and runner-up finish in the second.

The moral victory and advantage may shift to Roczen this week.

As they have swapped the victory in the first four rounds with Roczen winning the odd-numbered events, he sees this weekend’s Round 5 as an opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to next weekend’s race,” Roczen said in a team press release. “The track is sandy. It’s very similar—actually almost identical—to what I ride on a regular basis at home.”

Tomac and Roczen enter Round 5 with a 32-point advantage over two riders tied for third in the standings.

So far Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson have not been in the same league as the leaders, but it only takes one slip of the wheel to fall out of the points in in a race and allow these racers to close the gap.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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