Ferrari, Mercedes, Toro Rosso help test 2016 Pirelli tires

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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has thanked Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso for volunteering to help test prototype compounds for the 2016 Formula 1 season in Austria earlier this week.

Following the race at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, all teams except for Manor stayed on to test on Tuesday and Wednesday in the last running outside of a grand prix weekend for 2015.

As well as evaluating their own parts and possible upgrades for future races, Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso took time out of their schedules to help Pirelli test its prototype tire for next season.

In spite of a wash out for much of Tuesday, Hembery was pleased with the work that had been undertaken by Pirelli in Spielberg.

“It was a slightly frustrating beginning to the test in Austria, with rain wiping out the opening morning,” he said. “However, some solid work was carried out from Tuesday afternoon onwards, with even some occasional glimpses of sunshine on Wednesday.

“Many thanks to Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso, which volunteered to help us test some new materials for the 2016 season, now that there are no longer any official in-season dedicated tire test days.

“The results we obtained will be very useful as we continue the development of our next generation of tires.”

Pirelli’s contract with F1 runs out at the end of 2016, and is set to fight for an extension alongside Michelin, who confirmed earlier this month that it would be seeking to enter the sport.

The F1 Strategy Group had originally planned to implement a free tire choice for the 2016 season, allowing teams to choose from all four of Pirelli’s compounds for each weekend instead of sticking with the two that are allocated per race.

However, this move has since been rejected, with Pirelli stressing the safety risk of letting teams run with unsuitable tires at races.

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.