Formula One reveals details of COVID-19 testing plan for teams

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LONDON — Formula One races won’t be canceled if a driver tests positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or if a team withdraws, CEO Chase Carey says.

F1 wants to avoid a repeat of the Australia season opener, which was canceled when the McLaren team withdrew two days ahead of the March 15 race after a staff member tested positive for the virus.

The season is now set to start with two races in Austria on July 5 and 12.

“A team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race,” Carey said on the F1 website Tuesday. “I don’t think I could sit here and lay out the consequences. But we will have a procedure in place that finding infection will not lead to a cancellation. If a driver has an infection, (teams have) reserve drivers available.”

F1 teams have a tougher time returning to competition than teams in many other sports because of the dozens of people who usually travel to a race and the regular international journeys involved.

Carey said team members will be tested for the coronavirus before they depart for a race and then every two days. Teams will live in a “bubble” system, likely with “sub bubbles” to keep people apart if they do different jobs, he added.

“Clearly we recognize our sport is one which at times, we can’t have 2 meters between every individual on a team,” he said. “When a car pulls into a pit and has to change four tires, there won’t be 2 meters between every individual. We need to make sure we have procedures to manage all those risks as soon as possible.”

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.