Sauber optimistic Ferrari upgrades will push team forward at Spa

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Sauber will look to increase its points haul at Spa this weekend, thanks to a couple targeted upgrades introduced by engine partner Ferrari.

A Spa-specific front wing and more powerful power unit are coming on board the the C34 chassis, driven by Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

“[We are] looking forward to stronger performances thanks to a number of upgrades that will be progressively introduced,” head of track engineering, Giampaolo Dall’Ara said in the team’s pre-race advance. “At Spa both C34 will be fitted with more powerful Ferrari power units and track specific wings.

“Traction and braking, although, as usual, important, are second to stability and reactiveness, therefore rather specific set-ups are being worked out.”

Spa has been a bit of a bogey track for Sauber in recent years.

The team has not scored a point in the Belgian Grand Prix since Kamui Kobayashi came eighth in the 2010 race. The last four years has not seen a finish better than 12th (Kobayashi in 2011).

Sauber scored 14 points at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, but has added only eight more over the last nine races.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”