Sebastian Vettel first discussed Ferrari move back in 2008

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Ahead of his debut for the team in Australia next weekend, Sebastian Vettel has revealed that he first discussed a possible move to Scuderia Ferrari back in 2008.

The German driver walked away from Red Bull at the end of 2014 after 15 years in association with the brand, with the relationship yielded four drivers’ championships between 2010 and 2013.

He ultimately secured a seat with Ferrari for the 2015 season, but explained to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport this week that the move has been years in the making.

“When I arrived at Toro Rosso [in 2007], I started greeting Stefano Domenicali and the Ferrari technicians who took care of my engine,” Vettel said.

“With Domenicali, I discussed once and again about a potential future for me at Ferrari. In 2010 there was another approach, but again with nothing put to paper.”

Vettel also revealed that he held secret talks with Ferrari in the 2012 off-season after defeating the team’s lead driver, Fernando Alonso, at the final race of the year for the drivers’ championship.

“In the winter between 2012 and 2013 I went in secret to Maranello to talk with Luca di Montezemolo,” he explained.

“By the middle of last year, Domenicali was gone but the contact continued with Marco Mattiacci and I spoke again with Montezemolo, but at one point Montezemolo and Mattiacci left the scene too.”

Vettel discussed the move Michael Schumacher when he was first approached by Domenicali, and asked his manager, Sabine Kehm, about it last year when more formal talks were held.

“Talks went on anyway and I asked Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm for her opinion,” Vettel said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t speak with Michael.

“A while ago I told him about the possibility offered by Domenicali, and he said that if I agreed, I would find a nice atmosphere and a great enthusiasm in Maranello.

“It was a dream for me. Now I’m happy I’m inside that dream.”

Like Vettel, Schumacher left a championship-winning team (Benetton) to try and rebuild the Ferrari into world-beaters. Ten years and five world titles later, Schumacher left the team and retired from F1 in 2006 having done exactly that. The challenge now lies with Vettel to emulate his childhood hero and take the Italian marque back to the top of the sport.

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.