Lewis Hamilton explains decision to reject #1 for 2015

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Lewis Hamilton has explained the reasons behind his decision to not carry the traditional #1 on his car after winning last year’s world championship, electing to retain #44 for 2015.

For the 2014 season, drivers were asked to pick permanent numbers that they would carry for the remainders of their F1 careers to aid brand image and identification.

Hamilton picked #44, but was offered the #1 after winning last year’s world championship. However, he decided to stick with his existing number.

Speaking to the media on Saturday in Barcelona, Hamilton said that carrying the #1 meant far less to him than keeping his #44.

“The rules changed a year ago where they said that we have to choose a number that is going to be the number for us for the rest of our careers,” Hamilton said. “You can get number one, everyone can choose number one when they win the championship, but it’s irrelevant to me.

“44 means more to me than number one. It doesn’t mean I’m not number one. 44 is my family number. It’s the number I had when I first started racing. I won my first championship with 44. It means something to me.

“Number one itself – Vettel’s had it, Schumacher’s had it, all the champions have had it. But none of them had 44. 44’s mine.”

2015 will be the first season since 1994 that the #1 has not been carried in Formula 1. Alain Prost won the 1993 world title for Williams, but retired at the end of the season, meaning that it was not used the following year.

For Hamilton, entering the season as the defending world champion doesn’t change a great deal in his approach, although it does mean Mercedes will be first in the pit lane.

“I was actually just thinking in the garage that it will be nice being the first one in the pit lane,” Hamilton said. “I don’t remember the last time I had that, so that will be quite new for us.

“Otherwise, it’s the same approach really. Every year we want to win. It all starts again. It’s not ‘hey we’ve got the crown and we don’t want to give it away’, it’s ‘we want to get it’.”

The 2015 F1 season kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.

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.