Pirelli: Mercedes gained nothing from tire test

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Following the confirmation that Mercedes took part in a secret tire test after the Spanish Grand Prix, Pirelli has acted quickly to defend itself over the matter, claiming that the German team did not benefit from the test.

In-season testing is banned, but Mercedes ran around 1000km at the Circuit de Catalunya two weeks ago, and despite an outcry from the other teams, Pirelli’s F1 chief Paul Hembery is confident that no rules have been broken.

“Absolutely not, no,” Hembery said when asked if Mercedes had benefited from the test by Autosport. “Because it’s no relevance to what’s happening here.

“It’s completely regular in that we are allowed to do 1000 kilometre of tire testing with any team.”

Hembery also revealed that plans were in place to do another test in the near future.

“We’ve done it before with another team and we’ve asked another team to do some work as well.”

This tire row looks set to continue throughout the weekend, but Mercedes will be keen on putting this controversy behind them to convert their front-row lockout into their first win in 2013. Pirelli are adamant that such a test is permitted by their contract with the sport, and Mercedes also maintain their innocence over the matter.

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.