Kanaan: We didn’t do a good job keeping Rubens in IndyCar

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KV Racing Technology’s new lineup of Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro is one of the most popular in the IndyCar paddock. That said, there’s still a feeling of disappointment that Kanaan’s longtime best friend and last year, teammate, Rubens Barrichello isn’t around this year.

Barrichello raised enough money between Brazilian companies and some out of pocket to race in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series after a 19-year career in Formula One.

Although Barrichello has started the most races in F1 history, more than 300, continuing out of pocket in IndyCar for a second season wasn’t realistic. He wanted to come back, according to Kanaan.

“I don’t think he needed any convincing. He wanted to do it,” Kanaan said in a press conference Wednesday. “But coming from Formula One, and he brought a lot to us by doing the switch, we didn’t do a good job getting him to stay. When he put almost $5 million out of his own pocket after 19 years just because he wanted to keep racing, it was remarkable.”

Kanaan cited a number of factors, including the challenging climate of selling sponsorship for IndyCar racing, despite a good on-track product.

“To ask him do it again, I don’t think was fair,” he said. “I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just the situation we all face. He felt he couldn’t find the money, and got an offer in (Brazilian) stock cars and some TV work to do that. It was just consequences of the financial situation right now.”

Citing sponsorship challenges, Kanaan can relate. A number of companies – Hydroxycut, GEICO and Mouser Electronics – have already stepped up to sponsor the No. 11 KVRT-SH Chevrolet entry this year. Reportedly, more races are still available for sale on this car.

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

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

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.