Raikkonen’s engineer won’t follow Finn to Ferrari

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Reports in the Italian media have suggested that Kimi Raikkonen’s current engineer at Lotus, Mark Slade, will not follow the Finn to Ferrari at the end of the season despite the good working relationship they have forged over the years.

Slade and Raikkonen first worked together when the Finn joined McLaren in 2002, going on to win nine races with the British team before moving to Ferrari in 2007. However, the pair were re-united at Lotus where Slade worked alongside Simon Rennie as Raikkonen’s engineer in 2012 before Rennie left Enstone at the end of last season in favor of a move to world champions Red Bull.

It was confirmed last month that Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus to return to Ferrari for 2014, with many expecting Slade to follow suit. However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, the team is instead looking to promote someone in-house.

According to the publciation: “Ferrari have no intention of hiring Mark Slade to bring him to Maranello. The Finn will be asked to work with another engineer, chosen by team principal Stefano Domenicali, as the Alonso-Stella partnership is unbreakable.”

Andrea Stella had worked with Raikkonen in 2009 before the Finn’s departure from the sport. Alonso directly replaced Raikkonen, working alongside Felipe Massa who himself has forged a popular partnership with his engineer, Rob Smedley. Quite whether Smedley will remain part of the Ferrari set-up remains to be seen, but it is unlikely that he would continue in his current role with Raikkonen arriving.

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.