F1: Recapping the past week’s news

Getty Images
0 Comments

Romain Grosjean DQ’ed from Italian Grand, but Haas F1 to File an Appeal

Although he finished sixth in last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean was subsequently disqualified when it was found that the floor of his Haas F1 VF-18 did not meet the proper specs, outlined in article 3.7.1 d of the Technical Regulations.

The discovery was unearthed following a protest from Renault, which sits fourth in the constructor’s championship, just ahead of Haas.

Per Formula 1.com, the FIA issued a declaration clarifying the rule and requiring teams to be compliant with it by the Italian Grand Prix. Haas requested flexibility, citing the August break – teams are required to completely shut down for two weeks – and limited time as hampering their ability to have adjustments made on their cars by the time of the Italian Grand Prix.

However, while Haas did not receive a formal response, the stewards issued a statement following the race weekend, as outlined in the aforementioned Formula1.com story: “While the Stewards are also sympathetic to the difficulties of producing these parts, the Stewards noted that at least one other competitor was able to comply in the time provided.”

“Further, it was made clear to the competitor from the outset that the FIA Technical Department did not consider their car to be in compliance, and further that they left themselves open to the circumstances they now find. It was therefore the obligation of the competitor to be in compliance, which they did not do.”

Haas is planning to appeal the ruling.

Said Team Principal Guenther Steiner, “We do not agree with the Stewards’ decision to penalize our race team and we feel strongly that our sixth-place finish in the Italian Grand Prix should stand. We are appealing the Stewards’ decision.”

Hamilton Endorses Ocon

SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 25: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP congratulates third place qualifier Esteban Ocon of France and Force India in parc ferme during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2018 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)

The new-look Racing Point Force India outfit was brought out of administration by a group of investors headed by Lawrence Stroll, father of Williams driver Lance Stroll.

Consequently, a hot rumor is that Lance Stroll could move to Force India as soon as this year. With Sergio Perez bringing sponsorship of his own into the team, Stroll’s potential move would come at the expense of Esteban Ocon, a Mercedes junior driver who has been with Force India since 2017.

As a result, Ocon’s F1 prospects are unknown at this point, and his future is somewhat in doubt.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE – JUNE 23: Esteban Ocon of France and Force India smiles during the F1 Festival Marseille 2018 on June 23, 2018 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for F1)

Four-time champion Lewis Hamilton jumped to Ocon’s defense recently, saying that he rates Ocon very highly.

“I’ve always been a supporter of Esteban. I think how he conducts himself and how he performs on track is exceptional,” Hamilton said in a story posted on Formula1.com.

Hamilton also added that Ocon deserves a spot on the F1 grid, and a strong spot at that.

“I’ve not read of who’s signed where and what seats are available, but he needs to be in a great car because he’s one of the top drivers here, so I hope that opportunity is there for him,” he asserted.

Follow@KyleMLavigne

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

0 Comments

Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit. Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome in 1974. Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2