Haas suffers double DNF in Malaysia, fined for unsafe Gutierrez release

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The Haas Formula 1 Team endured a Sunday to forget at Sepang as both Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix due to mechanical issues on their cars.

Haas had been hopeful of scoring its points since the middle of July after qualifying 12th and 13th, with Grosjean rising into the top 10 early on.

However, the Frenchman was sent careering into the barrier at the final corner after suffering a brake failure early on in the race.

“We really don’t know what happened yet, but the pedal just went straight to the floor and I had to avoid the car in front of me,” Grosjean said.

“Our data didn’t suggest anything beforehand. It’s a shame. We did a really good first lap and we were looking at points running inside the top-10. Things just didn’t go very well.

“I was racing with Fernando [Alonso]. He had power, so it was very difficult to keep him behind. I was then just trying to follow his pace. The plan was to try to keep the tires alive for quite a while. We just didn’t get to that point, though.”

Gutierrez had been caught up in the first corner fracas, leaving him running well down the order, but he failed to even finish the race after losing his front-left wheel when running down the main straight.

“Today we had a fantastic start. It was pretty good up to the first corner when, unfortunately, I got a puncture in my rear-right tire from Kevin [Magnussen] touching behind,” Gutierrez explained.

“I then had to come back to the pits. The floor was damaged and when I went back out on track I was fighting a lot, pushing to make up places, but the car wasn’t easy to drive.

“We had to retire after my second pit stop as we had a mechanical failure. Overall, a pretty disappointing weekend, but we have to keep our focus and keep the rhythm as we head to Japan.”

Haas was later hit with a €5,000 fine from the FIA for releasing Gutierrez’s car in an unsafe manner.

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.