Adrian Sutil has received a five place grid penalty after changing his gearbox ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday.
The German driver is currently fighting to secure his future in Formula One after a difficult run of form that has seen him pick up just three points since the British Grand Prix back in July. That said, these are the only points that Force India as a whole have scored in this time period as Paul di Resta’s form has nose-dived thanks to five consecutive retirements.
During the final practice session at Suzuka on Saturday morning, Sutil made an error on the exit of Spoon, causing his Force India to spear into the wall on the left-hand side of the track and causing damage to his car, warranting a new gearbox.
This incident did end his session but the team was able to repair the car in time for qualifying, but the lost running did prove costly as Sutil could only qualify in seventeenth place.
As a result of the penalty, Sutil will start the Japanese Grand Prix from last on the grid. Jules Bianchi had qualified last and does carry a ten place grid penalty into the event after picking up three reprimands across the course of the season. However, as his penalty was received before Sutil’s, it is applied to the results in that order, meaning that the Marussia driver actually makes up a position.
Charles Pic is also subject to a ten place penalty due to his tally of reprimands, but he will drop just one place on the grid to P20 behind teammate Giedo van der Garde.
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.