Wehrlein: Gap for Manor to make up ‘much smaller’ in 2016

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Pascal Wehrlein believes that Manor Racing faces a far smaller gap to make up to the rest of the teams in Formula 1 this year than it did in 2015.

Wehrlein will make his grand prix debut with Manor in Australia later this month, having joined the team after winning last year’s DTM title.

Manor ran very much as a shell operation to begin with in 2015 after bouncing back from a number of financial issues the previous year, but now appears to be more stable thanks to a technical partnership with Mercedes.

Wehrlein impressed many during pre-season testing in Barcelona with some good times, and he believes that the gap between Manor and the rest of the field is far smaller this year.

“There is a gap that we need to push hard to close but for the team it’s much smaller than before and though everyone is tired after working so hard, we have some things to look forward to now,” Wehrlein said.

“I feel at home with my new team so my thanks to them and I can’t wait to be racing together in Melbourne in two weeks’ time.”

Wehrlein’s final day of running was cut short due to a number of mechanical issues on the car, but racing director Dave Ryan was unconcerned and is sure his driver is in good shape for his F1 debut.

“We’ve had a few issues to deal with during the day and they took a while to get on top of but not a bad result from our 48 laps with Pascal,” Ryan said.

“He did a great job with the limited running we gave him and though it’s never wise to read too much into testing times, I think we can be reasonably happy with where we’ve ended up.

“For Pascal that’s his last lap until Melbourne. He’s in good shape and has the confidence in the car so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do with it.”

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.