Kobayashi hoping for better at Caterham’s home race

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Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi has said that he needs to make the most of practice on Friday if he is to bounce back from a disappointing Australian Grand Prix at the next round in Malaysia (March 28-30).

The Japanese driver completed just one lap on Friday in Melbourne due to a variety of problems with his CT-05 car, meaning that he was left playing catch-up for the rest of the weekend. He did manage to qualify an excellent 15th in the rain, but his race lasted just one corner due to a brake failure.

“The way we bounced back in qualifying in Melbourne showed a little bit of what we can do, but without any real laps in FP1 or FP2 we only had a very small chance to fight,” Kobayashi explained. “With a proper Friday and Saturday programme we can give ourselves the opportunity to show the true pace of the car, and prepare much more for the race.

“Obviously, I’d like to also make sure I don’t have the same brake problems that caused the accident in turn one in Australia – without that I think we’d have had a strong race and we’ll work as hard as we can to give ourselves the chance to really perform.”

The Malaysian Grand Prix also marks Caterham’s home race, with team owner Tony Fernandes hailing from Kuala Lumpur and owning airline company AirAsia. For Kobayashi, the grand prix at Sepang takes on extra importance, but he takes courage in his previous performances there.

“The second race of the year is Malaysia and it’s our team’s first home race of the year, so it’s going to be a good week!” he said. “I’ve obviously raced there a few times before, and finished in the points in 2011.

“This year it would be great if we were able to fight for a point, but we’ll have to make sure we have a better Friday than we did in Australia if we’re going to have a stronger weekend at Sepang.”

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.