Rosenqvist: Mercedes, Porsche arrivals ‘last nail in the coffin’ for FE critics

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Formula E race winner Felix Rosenqvist has welcomed the addition of manufacturers Mercedes and Porsche to the series, saying their joint arrival is “the last nail in the coffin” for the all-electric series’ doubters.

The reigning champions in Formula 1 and the FIA World Endurance Championship respectively, Mercedes and Porsche confirmed last week they would be joining the Formula E grid in season six, starting in the winter of 2019.

Mercedes will be shutting its DTM program in order to commit to the electric single-seater championship, while Porsche’s entry comes at the cost of its successful LMP1 team.

The news means there are 11 manufacturers signed up for Formula E in season six, with the likes of Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Renault already enjoying involvement.

Reflecting on the announcements from Mercedes and Porsche, Rosenqvist believes it will silence many who doubt Formula E has a future within motorsport or is of interest to manufacturers.

“You always hear people trash-talking Formula E, especially the older generation, that it’s not proper racing, blah blah blah. I think they sort of put the last nail in the coffin,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports.

“It was quite nice. A lot of people got a bit silence by that. Massive for Formula E, and good for everyone involved. It just says a lot about where the championship is heading.

“I think it’s also important to not look at where the championship is now but where it will be in five years. I think that’s the main thing, and I think that’s what the manufacturers are thinking as well.

“This is just the beginning. For sure there will be bright times ahead for the series.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

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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.