Fernando Alonso endured another lonely race at today’s Austrian Grand Prix as he crossed the line in fifth place, some eighteen seconds behind race winner Nico Rosberg.
The Spaniard has been making the most of his lacklustre Ferrari F14 T car this season, and currently lies fourth in the drivers’ championship after eight rounds.
Today, he continued his record of scoring points in every race so far, but struggled to match the Mercedes cars out in front and the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Alonso appeared to improve his pace in the second half of today’s grand prix, and nearly caught Massa at the end. However, he says that the cars ahead were not running at their full speed, thus exaggerating his own pace.
“First of all the cars ahead had Perez slowing the group and we were catching up,” he explained. “They seemed to use the maximum power only a few laps in the race and they have so much advantage that they play with it a little bit.
“With Massa in the end, when I was close, he pulled away. Same with Hamilton on the first lap, it was unbelievable the difference between the two cars.
“I think if they ran with those settings every lap they would have lapped everyone, but they cannot do for the whole race.”
Once again though, Alonso was Ferrari’s top finisher in Austria. His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was largely anonymous during today’s race, save for one amusing radio call where he complained about a lack of power. The Finn crossed the line in tenth place.
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.