Vettel confident Ferrari can still improve in Canada

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Despite concerning Mercedes with his long run pace during the second free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday, Sebastian Vettel believes that there is still room for improvement at Ferrari in Montreal.

The German driver finished fifth in FP1 and second in FP2 behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton, but the Briton admitted that he was concerned by the pace shown by Ferrari across the long runs in preparation for the race on Sunday.

Speaking after practice, Vettel admitted that he was disappointed to have lost time on track after a heavy rain shower limited running in the second session, but he still felt that Ferrari could up its game ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

“It’s a shame that we couldn’t get out anymore, but we did the maximum to prepare for Saturday and Sunday in a very short amount of time, I think we had only just half an hour,” Vettel said.

“We didn’t have so much running this morning, but everything went according to plan. This morning we had a look on a bit more fuel, trying to get an idea for the race: we didn’t know when the rain would come this afternoon, this is maybe the reason why we didn’t run so much like the others.

“About my race pace, I haven’t seen much of the others yet but the car felt right, now we have to see where we are. I think we can still improve. I am not entirely happy with the runs I had, but I think anybody was with the short amount of time we had today.”

Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was more upbeat after the session, believing it to be a complete contrast of his difficult weekend in Monaco two weeks ago.

“Today everything worked as we expected, we went on with our program trying as always to improve and we are quite happy with the way things worked,” the Finn said.

“The weather was a bit tricky: the rain was expected in the afternoon, then we had to change a bit our program and decided certain things to be done in the morning.

“It’s hard to say where we are, because we did not get enough running, but it was all fine. It’s only Friday and we have to wait and see.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to do well in qualifying, for sure here is easier compared to Monaco, but it will depend on many things, the weather conditions first of all. Tomorrow we’ll see where we are and then we’ll do the best over the 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.