Mercedes drivers ‘remain free to race’, team orders a ‘last resort’

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Mercedes Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg remain free to race after “positive meetings” were held with team bosses ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Rosberg clashed on the final lap of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, prompting team boss Toto Wolff to suggest that team orders may be used in the future to prevent such incidents.

Hamilton said that he hoped Mercedes would not take such action, while Rosberg remained adamant that he had done nothing wrong in defending his position from his teammate.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Mercedes confirmed that meetings had been held between the drivers and team officials, in which it was decided that team orders will not be used.

However, the team said that its “rules of engagement” have been strengthened to deter Hamilton and Rosberg from clashing on-track, with team orders being considered a “last resort”.

Here is the statement in full:

”This morning at the headquarters of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team in Brackley, UK, positive meetings were held between Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg,” it reads.

“Our drivers were informed that they remain free to race for the world championship.

“We believe this is the essence of Formula One including between teammates. As passionate racers, we want to see them racing, and so do the fans of Formula One.

“However, this freedom comes with a duty for our drivers to respect the values of the team.

“In the past five races, there have been three incidents which have cost us over 50 points in the constructors’ championship.

“We have therefore strengthened our rules of engagement to include much greater deterrents to contact between our cars.

“With these in place, we will trust our drivers to manage the situation between them on track. Their destiny is in their own hands.

“The drivers were also reminded that we may issue instructions during the race to protect against a potential loss of constructors’ points, such as we did at this year’s Monaco GP when Nico was instructed to let Lewis pass.

“If the drivers do not honour the revised rules of engagement, we may impose team orders as a solution of last resort.

“Finally, we restated our belief in Lewis and Nico as the best driver pairing in Formula One.

“Since 2013, we have won together a total of 43 races and 40 further podium finishes, plus two consecutive world championships. This record speaks for itself.”

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.