No deadline for Force India to decide on second F1 seat for 2017

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Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says there is no deadline to make a decision on its second Formula 1 seat for 2017 following Nico Hulkenberg’s departure.

Force India had planned to retain both Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez for 2017, only for the German to recently decide on a switch to Renault.

With Perez firmed up, Force India is now on the lookout for a new teammate for the Mexican, holding what is arguably the most attractive free seat on the grid for 2017.

Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon, Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen have all been linked with a move to Force India for next season.

However, Force India is not going to rush into a decision, with Fernley explaining that team owner Vijay Mallya will make the final call after talks begin next week.

“I’m not close at all,” Fernley said when asked if he was close to making a decision.

“It’s Vijay’s decision and we’ll start those discussions probably when we get back next week.”

Fernley was asked if there was a deadline for Force India to make a decision, but said: “No, I don’t think so.

“I think we’ll take our time, have a look at what offers are on the table.

“Vijay will make his decision and then we’ll announce it.”

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.