Kobayashi takes gearbox penalty, Maldonado reprimanded

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Kamui Kobayashi will take a five place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix after changing his gearbox ahead of qualifying today.

The Caterham driver was forced to pull over at the side of the track during the final free practice session in Montreal due to a problem on his car. Changing the gearbox did remedy this, but it means that he will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid after qualifying down in 20th position.

“In qualifying we did two runs on the super-softs, but the red flag at the end of the session meant I couldn’t improve my time,” Kobayashi explained. “We’d made a bit more progress since FP3 and the balance was better, so on my last quick lap I made up a tenth in the first two corners, but then had to abort that run so finished in 20th.

“With the grid penalty we have to take for the gearbox change over lunch I’ll start at the back of the grid and all I can do is fight.

“Everyone in the team keeps doing that, even in a tough weekend like we’re having here, and as we saw at the last race, anything can happen and we need to be there if and when it counts tomorrow.”

Kobayashi’s penalty only adds to a miserable weekend for Caterham, who saw Marcus Ericsson spin off during the final part of Q1 today and qualify down in 21st place.

Pastor Maldonado has also been handed a reprimand by the stewards for failing to correctly put his steering wheel back in his car. The Lotus driver parked up at the end of Q1, but did not put his steering wheel back in. The offence may seem to be relative minor, but the stewards do not look too kindly on it.

Interestingly, this is only Maldonado’s first reprimand of the 2014 season.

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.