Pascal Wehrlein was pleased with his running during F1 pre-season testing in Barcelona this week, and hopes that it will lead to further opportunities with Force India across the course of the season.
Wehrlein, 20, joined Mercedes AMG Petronas as its reserve driver last autumn and enjoyed his first run in a Formula 1 car at the end of season test in Abu Dhabi.
It was confirmed earlier this week that Wehrlein would be testing for Force India in Barcelona, receiving two days of running. He was also drafted in to run for parent team Mercedes on Thursday when Lewis Hamilton came down with a fever, forcing him to sit out.
Speaking after his final run on Saturday, Wehrlein said that he enjoyed the experienced and learned plenty over his two days of testing.
“It was great to be back in the car after a surprising Thursday and this turned out to be another great day,” he said. “When you get into a completely different car to what you are used to, everything is new, from how the car feels to the buttons and dials on the steering wheel.
“Having had the experience on Thursday really helped me with this, I learnt a lot in these two days and that made a difference for me. The team did really help me settle in my role. Everyone welcomed me from the start and made it really easy to work.
“The atmosphere is great. Today’s work was very focused on set-up and we even managed to include a longer run. It was a good day’s work and I am looking forward for more opportunities in the future.”
Wehrlein will also test for Force India at the two in-season tests in Spain and Austria this year, and will be hoping to continue his good pre-season form as he goes in search of a full-time F1 seat in the future.
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.