Zak Brown confident Liberty will put Formula 1 fans first

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BIRMINGHAM, UK – McLaren executive director Zak Brown is confident that new Formula 1 owners Liberty Media will put fans first and bring the sport closer to its following.

Brown was appointed executive director of McLaren following chairman Ron Dennis’ departure, having previously played an important role in striking sponsorship deals in F1 with company JMI.

F1 is braced for a period of change following its acquisition by Liberty Media in a $8 billion deal that is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.

Speaking at Autosport International in Birmingham on Thursday, Brown said that F1 should focus on connecting with fans more, having seen first-hand when running a classic McLaren F1 car at Silverstone what effect it can have.

“One of the things we need to do is get the fans closer to the cars. I noticed because people could get close to the [Mika] Hakkinen car, we allowed them to get real close,” Brown said.

“It enabled the fans to get as close to the car as to these cars. People were 10-20 deep just wanting to see the cars. Somehow we need to bring Formula 1 closer to the fans again.

“Yeah 100%. I’ve spent a lot of time with Liberty, big fans of theirs. I think they’re going to lead with ‘what does the fan want?’. I think Formula 1 is a little guilty of ‘what do we want?’.

“We need to realize our audience are the fans. If we get hundreds of millions of them and continue to feed them with the sport that we all love, then everything starts to take care of itself, the sponsors, the tickets, the governments that want the races.

“We need to have a real focus on the fans and I have no doubt that Liberty is going to do that.”

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.