Maldonado only 12th, but calls Austria “a good weekend”

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After a miserable start to the 2014 season, Pastor Maldonado was feeling positive after securing his best finish of the year at the Austrian Grand Prix today.

The Venezuelan driver may have crossed the line in 12th place and a lap down, but the result does see him move off the bottom of the drivers’ championship, and he was pleased with how his race at the Red Bull Ring went.

“For me in the car it was actually quite a good weekend,” Maldonado explained after the race. “We finished the race which is positive and we made the most of the package we had today.

“We are losing a lot of time in the slow speed corners and we need to keep improving in this area to be more like our good high speed corner performance.”

After qualifying yesterday, Maldonado expressed his frustration over the Renault engine which is less powerful than its Mercedes and Ferrari rivals. Although this has been a recurring problem in 2014, it was particularly damaging here. To make matters worse, a brake problem on his car meant that he was not totally comfortable, but he was still pleased with the race as a whole.

“Unfortunately we had some brake issues from very early on in the race so I wasn’t able to fight others around me, even though it was nice to be running in the top ten during the course of the race,” he said. “After that, it was a case of saving fuel and brakes to get to the chequered flag. I think Silverstone will suit us much better.”

Maldonado’s teammate, Romain Grosjean, also struggled, and could only cross the line in 14th place and one minute behind his teammate.

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.