Hembery: Losing Austin would be “phenomenally negative” for F1

© Getty Images
7 Comments

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has expressed his dismay over the uncertain future being faced by the United States Grand Prix, believing that Formula 1 should be doing more to appeal to the American audience.

Just three years after the US GP was revived at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, its future looks bleak following the state’s decision to cut the tax relief the event receives. The race is listed as being ‘subject to agreement’ on the 2016 F1 calendar as a result.

In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Hembery raised the idea of a three-part F1 world championship that would focus on particular regions.

Hembery’s idea features one championship in Europe, one in Asia and Australasia and one in the Americas, before crowning an overall champion at the end of the year.

“I will be talking to Bernie [Ecclestone] (pictured left) shortly about this,” Hembery said. “I haven’t worked out the logistical problems. It’s up to the teams to do that. But this is all about getting more interest in Formula 1, and particularly in the Americas.

“The market people all say the same thing, which is that the biggest problem in F1 is with the timings. They are all for Europe, which means in America they have to get up ridiculously early to watch the racing.

“There are so many barbed comments about F1 being boring. And if we’re not careful we’re going to talk ourselves into a sport which nobody wants to watch. We are in danger of creating our own downfall.”

Hembery spoke out about the possible loss of Austin, saying that it should be joined on the F1 calendar by more races in the USA to raise the sport’s profile in the American market.

“To lose Austin so soon after getting there – and it’s a good circuit and a well organised show which the fans enjoy – would be phenomenally negative for the sport,” Hembery said.

“I also think it’s important to have a race in California. With this regional idea we could create a concentrated interest in the sport and help build a real fanbase.

“If we carry on making Formula 1 for European television we will end up with a Europe-only audience.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

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.