De Silvestro learns plenty en route to 11th place on Formula E debut

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LONDON – Andretti’s Simona de Silvestro may only have finished 11th in her debut FIA Formula E race on Saturday, but the Swiss driver felt that she learned plenty in her first run with the series’ car at Battersea Park.

The IndyCar driver was confirmed to be racing at the double-header London ePrix two weeks ago, and got her first taste of the Formula E car on Saturday during practice.

After qualifying 17th, de Silvestro managed to fight her way up to 11th at the end of the race, narrowly missing out on a points finish.

“It was okay,” de Silvestro told MotorSportsTalk. “It was an interesting race. For sure, you know 11th is okay. It’s not something to be happy about, but the biggest thing [is] going through the race, you understand everything and that’s really the key to it.

“Our race pace was okay, but we have to start more up front and really focus on that tomorrow.”

De Silvestro explained how it was quite tough to get to grips with the Formula E car, but is keen to return to the track tomorrow with that experience under her belt.

“It’s actually pretty tough to be honest,” she said when asked by MST about the challenge of adapting to the car. “The brakes are quite different to any car I’ve ever driven, and that’s the biggest challenge I’ve had today.

“Throughout the race I learned a little bit more how to push them and how to push the car. The biggest thing is that it’s so different, and having such little practice, understanding everything is quite tough when you’re racing against people who’ve been doing it for a whole year.

“But yeah, it’s okay. It’ll be good to sleep over it and come back tomorrow.”

The final race of the inaugural FIA Formula E season takes place in London on Sunday at 4pm local time.

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.