Sauber picked up its first points of the 2016 Formula 1 season on Sunday as Felipe Nasr finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in ninth place.
In a year blighted by financial difficulties, Sauber has found itself sitting bottom of the constructors’ championship since the Austrian Grand Prix when fellow backmarkers Manor managed to get Pascal Wehrlein across the line in P10.
Nasr started 21st in Brazil, but a bold strategy call from the Sauber pit wall allowed him to make up positions as others opted to switch tires on numerous occasions.
Nasr ran as high as sixth in the closing stages, but was powerless to keep the likes of Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo behind.
The Brazilian managed to hold on to ninth place at the checkered flag, picking up two points for Sauber and lifting the team above Manor in the standings.
“I have no words to describe now. But it feels amazing, the way it all happened,” Nasr told NBCSN after the race.
“I never really gave up even though the year has been difficult. Here could be the opportunity. Sunday will be an important day to keep the car on the track.
“When it came I was here and ready for every single part of the race. The track conditions were nuts. I couldn’t have hoped for better. To do it here in Brazil was great. An incredible feeling.”
Nasr admitted that the result eased some of the pressure on the team after a difficult year, with the difference between 10th and 11th in the constructors’ standings equating to tens of millions of dollars in prize money.
“A difficult year. But I never lost confidence in the team,” Nasr said.
“It was a matter of putting things together. I saw it and I said I’m going to give everything today. Hard to keep [Fernando] Alonso behind. But that’s racing. I really enjoyed it today.”
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.