Haas returns to points as Grosjean banks seventh place in Austria

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After scoring in three of the first four Grands Prix this season, Haas F1 Team had a four-race dry spell without points since the start of the traditional European season at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in May.

But Romain Grosjean returned to the top 10 finishers Sunday in Austria, with seventh place in the Haas VF-16 Ferrari.

Grosjean’s four points finishes have now come in four different positions – sixth in Australia, a team-best fifth in Bahrain, eighth in Russia and now seventh today at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

Grosjean started 13th on Pirelli’s supersoft tires, then went 27 laps before pitting for softs which he’d run the remainder of the race. He gained spots during the safety car period for Sebastian Vettel’s frontstraight accident, but got docked five seconds post-race for a speeding penalty.

Nonetheless Grosjean was able to build enough of a gap to continue on and not lose further points. He’s 10th in the driver’s championship, the team still a solid eighth.

“It was a pretty good race. The first lap was not great. I was pushed out by another car and I lost quite a few positions,” Grosjean said. “After that we stayed out on the supersofts, even though the tires were going away. I managed to pick up some pace and run well. The safety car came when we had planned our stop, so that helped a little bit. After that I was behind (Jensen) Button. I was trying to chase him and overtake him, but it was just too hard to follow another car and then be able to pass.

“The last few laps, I learned I had a five-second penalty, so I had to open the gap to the car behind. I really pushed it to one hundred percent every single lap, which was quite fun, but stressful as well. I didn’t want to go out. In the end it was Perez that went out, so it was all good for me.”

Team principal Guenther Steiner added, “Finally back in the points, but we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. The whole team did a fantastic job and we ended up seventh and 11th. Romain got a time penalty. However, we managed to remain in our position. His tire strategy was a little different than most, but it worked and the car was quick.”

Teammate Esteban Gutierrez came up shy – again – of his elusive first points with his third 11th place finish of the season.

“For Esteban, his start wasn’t great, so he lost a few positions,” Steiner explained. “Also, his tire strategy didn’t work as we planned, but he managed to climb up the grid to finish in 11th, half a second behind (Pascal) Wehrlein. It will be Esteban’s third time in 11th, so it shows he can do it and the team can do it too. Overall, it’s a relief to have points again and we’re looking forward to Silverstone.”

As teams prepare for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next week, the next question will be whether Circuit of The Americas follows through on this tweet, below, since Haas F1 Team has scored points on the fourth of July weekend.

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.