Alonso’s gamble ends in retirement

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Fernando Alonso’s Malaysian Grand Prix ended after just one lap as a gamble from the Spaniard failed to pay off.

Off the start, Alonso tucked in behind Sebastian Vettel despite facing pressure from his teammate Felipe Massa, and the second Red Bull of Mark Webber. Slight contact was made, causing damage to a portion of Alonso’s front wing. He was however able to continue, and he remained in P2 as the drivers completed their first lap.

However, the Ferrari came under pressure from Webber heading into the first corner, and Alonso’s front wing went under his F138. This caused the car to lose control, spearing off into the gravel where Alonso’s rear wheels became beached, ending his race.

Towards the end of the first lap, many expected Alonso to pit for fresh tires and a new front wing, but he decided to continue, most probably until the track dried out allowing for slick tires. This would have saved Alonso an extra pit stop, but in hindsight, the option to pit was definitely the right one.

Unsurprisingly, Alonso returned to the pit lane with his helmet still on, refusing to talk to the media until later in the day.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.