Wolff: Bottas doing a good job ‘filling Nico’s shoes’

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Yes, there hasn’t been a single Grand Prix run yet in 2017 and yes, it’s only been a few weeks since Valtteri Bottas has been formally confirmed as Nico Rosberg’s replacement at Mercedes AMG Petronas.

That said, it’s important to make a good first impression and Bottas has done so within the confines of his new team, Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Toto Wolff said.

Bottas’ first few weeks with his new team will lay the groundwork for the start of his relationship with the team, which is just one year with options beyond 2017.

Wolff said in a video released by Mercedes on Tuesday that Bottas is doing just what’s being asked of him thus far.

“I think the balance between Valtteri and Lewis (Hamilton) works,” Wolff said.

“They’re two very different personalities. For us, it was important to fill Nico’s shoes. Nico had a certain role within the team and Valtteri pretty much fits into that.

“We believe that the interaction and dynamics will work well. They respect each other. So far from what I’ve seen, Valtteri has settled in well.”

Wolff attempted to reflect on the hectic offseason at Brackley and Brixworth, which has not only seen Rosberg ride off into the sunset, but also Paddy Lowe’s departure before his eventual arrival at Williams Martini Racing.

“There was not really time to relax and recharge the batteries!” Wolff admitted.

“The phone is one thing but there were many decisions that needed to be taken, and assessments to be made. Paddy going was another one.

“To make the team stronger, you need to be careful evaluating which steps we take. This is why every day is important.”

Wolff also touched on the new car progress, his thoughts on F1’s new owners Liberty Media Corporation, and other Mercedes-related motorsport topics. You can see the full video linked here.

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.