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McLaren, Lotus leave Italy empty handed after tough race at Monza

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Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix proved to be a race to forget for both Lotus and McLaren as they left Monza with little to show for their efforts.

Coming off the back of Romain Grosjean’s breakthrough podium finish at Spa two weeks ago, Lotus arrived in Italy hoping to cause another upset and increase its advantage over Force India in the race for P5 in the constructors’ championship.

With both Grosjean and teammate Pastor Maldonado starting inside the top ten, the British team appeared to be on the cusp of another good haul of points.

However, its race lasted barely a lap as both drivers got caught up in incidents at the first corner. Maldonado was forced to pull into the garage and retired at the end of lap one after clashing with Nico Hulkenberg at turn one.

“I had contact in turn one where the Force India came into the side of me and took out my front-right suspension and that was the end of my race,” Maldonado explained. “We were looking for a strong finish and we had potential for that. Everyone knows that turn one at Monza can be tough and that’s what we saw today.”

Grosjean pulled his car to the side of the track and retired on lap two due to damage caused by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr off the line.

“We had the potential of a good race ahead of us,” the Frenchman explained. “I made a strong start but got hit by a car from behind in turn one which broke my rear suspension so that was it for us. It was a too optimistic move from Nasr who hit me which meant my race was over.”

McLaren managed to make it past the first lap, but was left to fight well outside the top ten for much of the race. Fernando Alonso retired with a few laps to go, whilst Jenson Button finished 14th as the last classified car bar the Manors.

“We always knew that Monza and Spa-Francorchamps would be among the least well-suited circuits for our car, and so it proved at both venues,” racing director Eric Boullier said.

“Here in Italy, we’ve come away with nothing to show for our efforts, and obviously that’s hard to take for all concerned. It’s been a stressful few days for us – that’s probably been as obvious from the outside as it’s been painful on the inside – but we’ll now return to Woking and Sakura and continue the hard work in an effort to claw our way back to the front.

“We aren’t predicting great things for the next race, Singapore, but we’re hoping that that street circuit’s characteristics will be slightly kinder to our car than Spa-Francorchamps and Monza have been.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”