Report: As Force India awaits car upgrades, team preps for China in search of points

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The going hasn’t been easy for Sahara Force India to kick off the 2015 Formula 1 season, with its new VJM08 chassis delayed until the third and final test of the preseason and now updates to said chassis likely to wait until the heart of the European season.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Autosport expected upgrades will now not be introduced until the Austrian Grand Prix on June 21, at the earliest.

“It’s a major B-spec car as we’re looking to introduce a significant upgrade,” Fernley told Autosport. “We felt we might as well try and hold with what we can and then hopefully we can bolt on an improvement.”

Force India made it into the points in Australia more by surviving than by outright pace, but managed a double score with Nico Hulkenberg in seventh and Sergio Perez in 10th.

At Malaysia two weeks ago, Perez and Hulkenberg ended 13th and 14th.

The team heads to China this week at the moment unlikely to match their results of sixth (Hulkenberg) and ninth (Perez), on current form.

“Everyone in the team deserves credit for the strong reliability of the VJM08, but there is a long way to go on the development path,” team principal Vijay Mallya said in the team’s advance release. “We know the areas we need to improve and I’ve been impressed with the attitude of the team. The morale is strong and we will keep fighting hard to score as many points as we can in these early races.

“The upcoming weekend in China will be an interesting one. We will try and take some steps forward, based on what we have learned in Malaysia, and we will go to Shanghai targeting points. Formula One put on a very good show in Sepang so let’s hope for more close racing this weekend.”

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.