Formula E: Bird is the word in delayed Miami ePrix free practice


MIAMI – Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird topped the timesheets in a truncated 35-minute free practice session ahead of the Miami ePrix, Round 5 of the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship.

The on-track activity was delayed nearly three full hours from the scheduled first start time of 8:15 a.m. due to track construction.

Rather than two free practice sessions as was planned, a single one ran from 10:55 to 11:30 a.m., with only a 40-minute break until qualifying at 12:10.

Bird’s best lap was 1:06.588 around the 2.17 km, 8-turn street circuit. Karun Chandhok (Mahindra) and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) were also in the 1:06 bracket and completed the top three.

Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) had an off-course excursion, but was the only driver to encounter issues in the session.

Qualifying follows at 12:10 until 12:57, and will be run in four groups drawn by a random lottery. Groups are linked here via the FIA Formula E website.

The race is still scheduled to start of 4:05 p.m. ET and local time, with the grid opening at 3:30.

Free practice results are linked here.

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.