Webber: Ferrari planning long-term move for Vettel

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Red Bull driver Mark Webber believes that Ferrari are planning a move for three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the future, with the recent signing of Kimi Raikkonen being a solution in the short-term.

The Italian team is currently in the middle of a drought, having failed to win either championship since 2008 despite the arrival of star driver Fernando Alonso in 2010. However, with the signing of Raikkonen for 2014, the policy of having a designated number one and number two driver appears to have disappeared at Maranello, but Webber believes that this merely a short-term solution to the team’s poor form.

“For lots of reasons Ferrari need to be winning again in Formula 1,” Webber explained to Sky Sports. “It has to happen so this is the first step forward for them to get the team back in [form]. Constructors’ is important, Ferrari winning that, and then the drivers’ Championship as well. So those two things have got to come together.”

He then went on to suggest that Raikkonen is merely a stop-gap for Ferrari before signing Vettel.

“Two years for probably both of them actually I think. And then what they do after that, obviously, pick Seb up off the back of Red Bull and they keep moving from there.

“But it [signing Raikkonen] is a very short-term aggressive statement from Ferrari to put the team at the front.”

Aged 34, Raikkonen is approaching the end of his Formula One career, with his Ferrari deal taking him to his 36th birthday. Therefore, the team may see this as a chance to get to the front and then have the form to make a move for Vettel, who has raced just once for a team outside of the Red Bull setup (one race for BMW Sauber in 2007).

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.