Ferrari replaces Arrivabene with Binotto as team principal

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MARANELLO, Italy (AP) Ferrari replaced Maurizio Arrivabene with Mattia Binotto as team principal on Monday following another failed Formula One title chase.

Binotto, who had been working as Ferrari’s chief technical officer, has been with the team for nearly 25 years.

“After four years of untiring commitment and dedication, Maurizio Arrivabene is leaving the team,” Ferrari said in a statement. “The decision was taken together with the company’s top management after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio’s long term personal interests as well as those of the team itself.

“With immediate effect, Mattia Binotto will take over as Scuderia Ferrari’s Team Principal. All technical areas will continue to report directly to Mattia.”

While Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel won the opening two races of the 2018 season and took pole position in three of the first four races, Ferrari’s performance waned as the year went on, enabling Mercedes to win a fifth straight drivers’ title with Lewis Hamilton.

Arrivabene had been in charge since the 2015 season, having previously worked for Philip Morris, a key Ferrari sponsor.

Arrivabene’s criticism of Ferrari’s technical department may have resulted in his ouster.

Having joined Ferrari in 1995 as a test engine engineer, Binotto was involved in the team’s golden years when Michael Schumacher won five titles. He was promoted to technical chief in July 2016.

Binotto had reportedly been chosen previously as Arrivabene’s successor by former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died in July.

Binotto was widely credited with creating cars that were competitive with Mercedes over the past two years – which put a spotlight on questionable strategic choices.

Arrivabene was criticized for the way Ferrari handled its home Italian Grand Prix in September, when a lack of team orders prevented Kimi Raikkonen from clearing the way for Vettel at the start – which was followed by contact between Vettel and Hamilton.

There was another tactical error concerning the choice of tires during qualifying for the Japanese GP. Hamilton clinched the title two races later in Mexico – with two GPs to spare – and finished with an 88-point advantage over Vettel.

In four seasons under Arrivabene, Ferrari won 14 races – 13 by Vettel and one by Raikkonen – and finished second three times in the constuctors’ standings.

The 2019 season opens with the Australian GP in Melbourne on March 17.

Former Sauber driver Charles Leclerc has been hired to replace Raikkonen for this season, with Raikkonen having gone to Sauber.

Raikkonen was the last Ferrari driver to win a championship in 2007.

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.