Piquet Jr. adds Formula E win to family’s legacy on streets of Long Beach

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Nearly 35 years to the day after his father won the 1980 United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach (March 30) for his first Grand Prix victory, Nelson Piquet Jr. matched his father as a winner on the iconic streets of Long Beach.

Difference is, that was a Formula 1 race won by Nelson and today’s was the Long Beach ePrix, Round 6 of the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship season. Piquet Jr. is also the sixth winner in as many races this season.

Piquet Jr.’s win Saturday in the No. 99 China Racing Spark-Renault SRT_01E came after a dominant performance, only losing the lead in the 39-lap race on the pit stop cycle for a couple laps, where he had several seconds in hand heading into the stop and several more coming out of it.

He took the lead off the line from Daniel Abt, who inherited the pole in the No. 66 Audi Sport ABT entry after Sebastien Buemi lost the pole due to exceeding his available power use in qualifying.

Once Piquet Jr. was through to the lead, Abt ran second ahead of several others – notably teammate Lucas di Grassi, Andretti Autosport’s Jean-Eric Vergne and e.dams Renault’s pair of Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi.

The hometown hopes for Andretti’s Scott Speed ended on Lap 4, when the California native smacked the wall on exit of the Turn 1/2 chicane. Speed ended second in Miami but didn’t follow that up today.

That caused one safety car period, and a second followed several laps later when Charles Pic made a late, low percentage lunge into the hairpin turn (Turn 7) that contacted Jarno Trulli and spun them both around.

Abt was first of the leaders to pit on Lap 22, while the majority of the rest followed on Lap 23. Bruno Senna, Salvador Duran, Loic Duval, Jaime Alguersuari and Pic were last of the leaders to pit on Lap 24.

Piquet Jr. maintained the gap on the pit sequence, with Vergne up to second, Abt in third, di Grassi fourth and Buemi fifth.

Some of the leaders fell out of contention in the late stages. Abt and Prost each earned late-race drive throughs, Abt for over use of power and Prost for contact with Jerome d’Ambrosio. That dropped Prost back to 14th and Abt 15th at the finish.

Piquet Jr. was able to cruise home to the victory by 1.705 seconds over Vergne, who delivered Andretti’s third runner-up finish this season by a third different driver. It also marks the Frenchman’s elusive first podium finish in the series.

Di Grassi made it back to the podium in third, with Buemi fourth after starting 10th due to his grid penalty, and Senna in the top five after maximizing his pit strategy from 12th.

Senna and Prost had one brief dice at Turn 3, which sounded nice to hear – Senna’s uncle Ayrton never raced at Long Beach, while Prost’s father Alain failed to score a point in Long Beach in three starts.

Di Grassi reassumes the points lead with Prost’s penalty and non-points finish, although Piquet Jr. has closed to within 1 point (75-74).

RESULTS: Round 6

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.