Grosjean downbeat after ‘the worst Friday you could imagine’

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Romain Grosjean made no secret of his disappointment after enduring “the worst Friday you could imagine” in Singapore as he completed just 14 laps in practice.

Haas driver Grosjean arrived in Singapore hopeful of scoring his first points since the Austrian Grand Prix thanks to the team’s updates on the VF-16 car.

After completing an installation lap in FP1, Grosjean spent 25 minutes in the garage before heading back out.

Once again, the Frenchman could manage just a single lap before Haas opted to end his session and investigate the problem on his car, which turned out to be an engine air let leak.

Grosjean spent the remainder of the session playing cards in the Haas hospitality unit with his trainer before getting ready to make up for the lost time in FP2.

However, a spin at the final corner sent Grosjean into the wall and caused damage to the rear of his car. With Haas needing to change the floor, rear wing and rear suspension, Grosjean’s day was at an end.

“It was the worst Friday you could imagine for us,” Grosjean said.

“I didn’t get a lap in this morning, and then we had some issues this afternoon that we need to solve.

“There was just no performance. It’s a very bad way to start one of the most difficult grands prix of the year.

“Tomorrow is another day.”

Grosjean’s woes placed a greater onus on teammate Esteban Gutierrez to gather data for Haas, with the Mexican turning in 59 laps on Friday.

“It was quite an interesting day today. We brought some updates and it was very interesting to get a feeling from them,” Gutierrez said.

“We were exploring the package, and at the beginning it’s hard to judge – you really need to run it and try to adapt as best as possible.

“We ended up experimenting a little with the setup, even into FP2. I think we have plenty of data to analyze.

“It’s unfortunate that Romain’s car wasn’t able to run. Obviously having two sets of data to analyze is more important. We have plenty to look at though, and we’ll focus on that tonight and make the best of tomorrow.”

Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 9am ET on Saturday.

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.