Eric Boullier: McLaren would be winning in F1 with Mercedes engines

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McLaren Formula 1 racing director Eric Boullier believes the team would be back winning races if it had Mercedes power instead of working with current partner Honda.

McLaren and Mercedes enjoyed a successful partnership in F1 between 1995 and 2014, claiming three drivers’ championships and two constructors’ titles in that period.

McLaren cut ties with Mercedes at the end of 2014 due to the latter’s focus on its factory team, and rekindled its famous partnership with Honda that ruled F1 in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

However, such form has not been forthcoming, with the relationship between McLaren and Honda at maximum strain after a difficult pre-season test period filled with reliability issues.

McLaren’s current race win drought dates back to the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, and it hasn’t scored a podium since Australia 2014.

Speaking to Spanish publication AS, Boullier said he is sure McLaren would be winning races if it still worked with Mercedes instead of Honda.

“I think we would. Yes, we’d be winning again,” Boullier conceded, before admitting that McLaren had to be competitive if it wanted to keep Fernando Alonso on its books.

Two-time world champion Alonso has made his frustration regarding Honda’s power unit clear in recent weeks, and is now in the final year of his McLaren contract.

“He wants to be competitive because he has talent to show the world and to himself,” Boullier said.

“We need to be competitive to keep him happy. If we’re competitive he’ll be happy.

“If not, he’ll take his own decisions.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

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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.