De Silvestro happy with London ePrix weekend, open to more Formula E starts

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LONDON – IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro felt satisfied with her debut weekend in the FIA Formula E championship in London despite failing to score any points across the two races.

De Silvestro was given the call-up to race with Andretti Formula E two weeks ago, racing alongside former Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Swiss driver narrowly missed out on points on Saturday, finishing 11th, and was caught out by a slow-moving driver at the start of Sunday’s race that meant she could finish no higher than 12th.

“The start was good but then we kind of got stuck on the wrong side where somebody didn’t get off the grid,” de Silvestro told MotorSportsTalk after the race. “Into turn three, we really got bunched up, almost broke my wing after somebody chopped me off a little bit. That’s street racing and that’s how it is.

“For sure, I wish it was a little bit better. I struggled a little bit with the energy today, how to conserve it compared to yesterday, used it a lot in the beginning when we were fighting for position. It’s a learning curve and I think we can be happy with the weekend.”

De Silvestro felt that her proficiency behind the wheel of the Formula E car improved over the weekend at Battersea Park, and that she will be better placed if she gets another run in the series.

“I think in general, speed-wise, it was much better,” de Silvestro said, comparing Sunday to Saturday. “Even in practice we were pretty quick and just how to drive the car, I think that was pretty important.

“We learned a lot and I think that’s the biggest thing. For sure if I get another go at Formula E that’s really good.

“It’s interesting. It’s definitely different to have racing like this. The field is really competitive and that is really cool, you know. Everybody is super fast and that’s really challenging because you really have to be on your A-game.

“For sure, the energy management is something you need to learn a little bit, how to do that, but everybody who has had the whole season had a bit of a head start on that. I think, all in all, it was okay. The result is not what we wanted but we’ll always learn from it for sure.”

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.