Kanaan on Brazil cancellation: “Big disappointment… everyone caught by surprise”

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INDIANAPOLIS – Although he’s raced in both Rio (1998 to 2000) and Sao Paulo (2010 to 2013), Tony Kanaan was welcoming the opportunity to race in Brasilia this March.

And then, within a day, it all went away for reasons outside INDYCAR’s control.

When asked his immediate reaction, Kanaan deadpanned, “Awesome! Couldn’t have come at a better time.”

But the mood quickly turned serious, as you might expect.

“It’s disappointing. I mean, I’ve lived there my entire life and I knew it was a possibility,” Kanaan said during INDYCAR Media Day in Indianapolis.

“My biggest concern was how this was going to affect the series. I guess Mark Miles and his team did a great job protecting that, which at least on that matter I think he explained here couple minutes ago.”

Kanaan admitted he lost some sponsorship as a result.

“It’s a big disappointment. I think everybody got caught by surprise,” he said. “I worry about the fans that got disappointed. I worry about the TV station. They got a lot of stake in the race, got caught by surprise as well. We sold a bunch of tickets. A lot of sponsorship went away with it as well on my end.”

Here was Miles’ take on the Brasilia cancellation:

“Just a comment on the Brasilia situation. You’re right, it had to do with the changing of elections, politics between a national and regional federal district of Brasilia governments.  It wasn’t lost on us they were on schedule and invested an enormous amount of money already in the improvement of that track.

“To be clear, I don’t like it happening.  I think we kind of protected ourselves.”

For Kanaan, he said the series did what they could, which was almost nothing.

“It’s so disappointing. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing the series can do about it. Nothing even the TV, that was the promoter, could do about it. It was a lot higher than that,” he said.

“It’s hard to swallow, hard to understand, and extremely disappointing. I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. A big disappointment in my country of what they’ve done for us.”

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.