Formula One will hold its longest season in 2021 with 23 races, including return to COTA

Formula One 2021 schedule
YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images
0 Comments

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Formula One is planning a record 23 races in the 2021 season, including one in Saudi Arabia, but has dropped its inaugural race in Vietnam from the schedule.

The April slot for the Vietnamese Grand Prix was listed as “TBC” on the calendar published on Tuesday with no explanation and no mention of Vietnam. The race was scheduled to debut this year but abandoned amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The other 22 races include the first-ever Saudi Grand Prix, set for Nov. 28 in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, and the return of numerous races which were canceled during the pandemic. Circuit of the Americas will return to the F1 schedule with an Oct. 24 race (the Austin, Texas, track also will welcome NASCAR for the first time, along with the return of MotoGP).

“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognize the need to move forward and manage the virus. In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward,” F1 chairman Chase Carey said.

The calendar is largely a retread of the original 2020 schedule, meaning no return for the various one-off races at European tracks such as Mugello, Portimao and Imola, which were added as replacements and generally were popular with drivers and fans.

The venue for the Brazilian Grand Prix is listed as Sao Paulo “subject to contract,” indicating a planned move from Sao Paulo’s established Interlagos track to a new circuit in Rio de Janeiro will not take place. Champion Lewis Hamilton has voiced concern that an area of forest will be cut down to build the Rio venue.

The Dutch Grand Prix will return for the first time since 1985, after being canceled this year and is scheduled for Sept. 5.

The season starts with the Australian Grand Prix on March 28. The race in Melbourne was canceled hours before Friday practice was to begin this year after a positive coronavirus test for a crew member. The finale remains in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 5.

The 23-race calendar is the longest in F1 history. The 2020 calendar originally had 22 races.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

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.