Vettel absent from Webber’s leaving party

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The relationship between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber has been far from friendly over the past three years, with the two drivers clashing on more than one occasion despite being teammates. However, it appears that their feud is not a thing of the past with German publication Bild today reporting that Vettel was absent from Webber’s leaving party.

Webber has taken the decision to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, favoring a move to Porsche’s new LMP1 programme that will see him race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year. Therefore, at his final grand prix in Europe, the Australian driver decided the hold a small gathering on the upper level of the Red Bull Energy Station at Monza. F1 drivers and team bosses were all invited along, with the likes of Ross Brawn, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso all attending.

However, Vettel was spotted by NBC Sports’ pit reporter Will Buxton sitting alone, with Bild reporting that the German driver stayed on the lower level of the Energy Station playing on his phone instead of joining the festivities.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time Vettel has not attending an event for Webber, choosing not to join the small party held for the Australian driver’s 200th grand prix earlier on in the season along with team advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.

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.