Raikkonen confident 2015 will hold better things for Ferrari

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Kimi Raikkonen is confident that 2015 will hold better things for Ferrari following a difficult season that saw the Scuderia score just two podium finishes.

After struggling to adapt to the new technical regulations for 2014, Ferrari suffered its worst season in 22 years that was marked by a number of changes across the course of the year.

Former team principal Stefano Domenicali resigned back in April, falling on his own sword to make way for Marco Mattiacci.

However, Mattiacci lasted just seven months, and was fired on Monday following the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi. He has been replaced by Maurizio Arrivabene.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was arguably the highest-profile casualty of 2014, resigning in September. A close second is the departure of Fernando Alonso, who is poised to join McLaren after five disappointing years with Ferrari, making way for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Despite having an early Ferrari test blocked by Red Bull, Vettel did make an appearance in the team’s garage in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, getting to know his new engineers and teammates.

This came as little surprise to Raikkonen, who is looking forward to working with Vettel in 2015 as the race to catch Mercedes begins in earnest.

“It was nice that he joined us in the garage for the first day of testing, although I have to say that didn’t surprise me, because I know what he’s like and his approach to work,” Raikkonen said. “I think we can enjoy ourselves on track together, both of us fighting to be ahead of the other, while also working as a team to reach the common target of progressing in order to get the Scuderia back to the level it should be at.

“The components we tested in Abu Dhabi have produced a lot of useful data, which can now be analyzed along with that from Sunday’s grand prix. The team’s priorities are clear and we are well aware what are the areas that did not match up to our expectations.

“I am sure that thanks to the knowledge we acquired over the course of the season, we will be able to develop a more competitive car.

“Clearly, how much progress we make depends on the time available and the possibilities presented by the regulations, which for the moment, impose certain limits for everyone, but I have every confidence in the ability of the team.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

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.