Vettel handed grid penalty after gearbox change

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Sebastian Vettel has been handed a five place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix after Red Bull changed the gearbox on his car following qualifying.

During the final part of qualifying today, the defending world champion was forced to stop his car out on track because of a problem which was later diagnosed to be concerning his gearbox. As a result, he failed to set a time during Q3, and was therefore classified in 10th place.

However, he will now start tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix from 15th after the team decided to make the change on his car.

The FIA regulations state that any driver whose car undergoes a gearbox change across the course of a race weekend is to be demoted five places on the grid.

“I left the garage for Q3 and lost drive in second gear; I still had third gear and above so we thought we could do the lap with that, but by turn 1 I had lost all the other gears, so we couldn’t continue,” Vettel explained. “I was getting more in to the rhythm with each lap after missing yesterday’s sessions. It was quite close between the cars after the Mercedes and I think I could have had a go for P3 today, but we didn’t get that far. I’m of course quite disappointed.”

It has been a difficult weekend for the team, with Vettel also suffering an electrical problem during FP1 on Friday that meant he could complete just four laps all day.

From P15, he faces an uphill struggle to make the podium, but Sebastian Vettel is a four-time champion of the world for a reason; don’t write him off just yet.

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.