Alonso matches best 2014 qualifying result at Spa

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Fernando Alonso matched his best qualifying result of the 2014 F1 season today in Belgium, finishing fourth in the session on Saturday afternoon.

In wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps, the Ferrari driver managed to qualify ahead of nearest-rivals Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, and made no secret of his happiness in a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m definitely happy with the result,” Alonso said. “Obviously starting in the first two rows is quite a difficult thing to do.

“We didn’t have any qualifying that we’ve performed at this level in the season so definitely the rain or the conditions, or the car with this level of downforce works a little bit better and we managed to do a good lap and be in the first two rows.

“As I said this is something we are quite pleased with.”

Now, he is hoping to get in the mix for a podium finish behind the dominant Mercedes cars on Sunday at Spa, but knows that he will face a tough fight against the Red Bull and Williams drivers.

“We’ll see, I think the possibility is there, no doubt,” Alonso said. “I think that we are in a good position, fourth, we have some people around us with great pace, like Ricciardo, like the Williams.

“We will need to fight hard to be on the podium but we know that Mercedes, even if they look very quick, they have some mechanical problems in the last races so we just need to be there ready to take any opportunity.”

Alonso came close to winning last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix, before eventually finishing in second place behind Daniel Ricciardo. However, he will know that beating the Australian in tomorrow’s race could go a long way to helping him secure third place in the drivers’ championship, which he admitted yesterday was “ambitious”, but remains his target nevertheless.

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.