Ken Block names Bakkerud No. 2 driver for World RX Team

Hoonigan Racing Division
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PARK CITY, UT, January 20th: Following up on Ken Block’s announcement last week that he’ll be heading to the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the 2016 race season, Hoonigan Racing Division and Block are now pleased to announce that the effort won’t just be a single car entry. Andreas Bakkerud, current top FIA World Rallycross driver, will be joining the team, making it a two-car attack.

A highly talented and experienced rallycross driver hailing from Norway, Bakkerud was Block’s first choice when it came to picking a second championship-capable driver to help anchor his efforts in World RX this year. Bakkerud has also raced behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta ST in the past, which makes him a valuable addition in the pursuit of the Supercar Team Championship title for Ford.

“I’m really excited that I’ve got Andreas [Bakkerud] joining me on my team this year for FIA World Rallycross,” said Block. “I chose Andreas because he’s damn good behind the wheel of a rallycross car and he’s proven that he can win races. He’s also got experience racing the Ford Fiesta ST chassis the last few seasons, which is important. I’m confident that with him on my team, we will be strong contenders for the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship.”

Despite having only been around the top-level of World RX for three seasons, Bakkerud has racked up 5 overall wins and 11 podiums in that time. In addition to those results, earlier in his career he has taken 1st overall in the European Rallycross Championship in the Super1600 class in 2011 and 2012. He made the jump to Supercars in 2013, where he landed two 1st place finishes (Sweden and France) and finished 4th overall in the ERC. In 2014, Bakkerud continued to be a force in the FIA World Rallycross Championship Supercar series with wins in Great Britain and Turkey, finishing the season 5th overall. This past season, Bakkerud finished 4th overall in the championship, racking up a 1st place podium during the Italian round.

“YES! I’m really excited about the opportunity to race alongside Ken and his team—that happens to be one of the best motorsports teams in the world!” said Bakkerud. “I love racing rallycross and I’ve been able to have a few good seasons back-to-back. And the car? Ford Performance and M-Sport are building us one of the best cars to ever race rallycross. So, do I sound excited? Hell yeah!”

Bakkerud continues, “I think that working with Ken and his team in 2016 is really going to help me elevate my driving even further, plus I’ve always admired the way they handle exposing and marketing themselves both on and off event. I think this whole thing is an incredible opportunity not only for myself behind the wheel this year, but to learn and develop myself for the future as well. I can’t wait for the season to start! Thanks again Ken and team for this dream opportunity.”

Bakkerud will join Block on the starting grid at Portugal on April 16th and 17th, piloting the #13 Ford from Hoonigan Racing Division.

As expected, FIA denies granting Colton Herta a Super License to race in F1

Colton Herta Super License
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The governing body for Formula One on Friday said IndyCar star Colton Herta will not be granted the Super License that the American needs to join the F1 grid next season.

“The FIA confirms that an enquiry was made via the appropriate channels that led to the FIA confirming that the driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to be granted an FIA Super Licence,” the FIA said in a statement.

The FIA decision was not a surprise.

Red Bull was interested in the 22-year-old Californian and considering giving Herta a seat at AlphaTauri, its junior team. AlphaTauri has already said that Pierre Gasly will return next season and Yuki Tsunoda received a contract extension earlier this week.

However, AlphaTauri has acknowledged it would release Gasly, who is apparently wanted at Alpine, but only if it had a compelling driver such as Herta to put in the car. F1 has not had an American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015, but Herta did not particularly want the FIA to make an exception to the licensing system to get him a seat.

At issue is how the FIA rates IndyCar, a series it does not govern. The points it awards to IndyCar drivers rank somewhere between F2 and F3, the two junior feeder series into F1.

IndyCar drivers have criticized the system in defense of Herta and the intense, close racing of their own highly competitive series. Herta has won seven IndyCar races, is the youngest winner in series history and has four starts in the Indianapolis 500. He qualified on the front row in 2021 and finished a career-best eighth in 2020.

Rossi, who has spent the last four seasons as Herta’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, lashed out this week because “I’m so sick and tired of this back and forth” regarding the licensing.

“The whole premise of it was to keep people from buying their way into F1 and allowing talent to be the motivating factor,” Rossi wrote on social media. “That’s great. We all agree Colton has the talent and capability to be in F1. That’s also great and he should get that opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.

“Motorsport still remains as the most high profile sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion, the fundamental problem, is that the sporting element so often took a backseat to the business side that here had to be a method put in place in order for certain teams to stop taking drivers solely based on their financial backing.”

Rossi added those decisions “whether out of greed or necessity, is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision for himself as to if he wanted to alter career paths and race in F1. Not points on a license.”

The system favors drivers who compete in FIA-sanctioned series. For example, Linus Lundqvist earned his Super License by winning the Indy Lights championship.

Lundqvist’s required points come via the 15 he earned for the Lights title, 10 points for finishing third in Lights last year and his 2020 victory in the FIA-governed Formula Regional Americas Championship, which earned him 18 points.

That gave the 23-year-old Swede a total of 43 points, three more than needed for the license.

Herta, meanwhile, ended the IndyCar season with 32 points. He can still earn a Super License by picking up one point for any free practice sessions he runs this year; McLaren holds his F1 rights and could put him in a car. Herta could also potentially run in an FIA-sanctioned winter series to pick up some points.

Michael Andretti, who has petitioned the FIA to expand its grid to add two cars for him to launch a team, said he never bothered to explore potential replacements for Herta on the IndyCar team because he was confident the Super License request would be rejected.

Andretti has been met by severe resistance from existing F1 teams and even F1 itself in his hope to add an 11th team. Andretti could still get on the grid by purchasing an existing team and he’d like to build his program around Herta, who is under contract in IndyCar to Andretti through 2023.