Car No.: 19
Best Finish: P6 (Australia, Bahrain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 11th
Hopes were high for Felipe Massa’s bonus season in Formula 1, only made possible by Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement and Valtteri Bottas’ subsequent move to Mercedes. Yet it failed to offer the kind of form that could secure the Brazilian a longer future in the series.
Massa made his love of the new-style cars for 2017 known through pre-season, and Williams made a good start to the year as he led the midfield runners by finishing sixth in Australia. After repeating the result in Bahrain, it was looking like Massa could become a serious force in the midfield fight.
But those races proved to be the high point of his season. Points were picked up in small doses leading up to the summer break, finishing no higher than ninth, although a possible podium – and maybe even a victory – was lost in Baku after a suspension failure that could have reshaped Massa’s season.
Instead it was Lance Stroll who took the plaudits for hitting the podium in Baku, with Massa failing to record a result better than P8 until the penultimate race of the year on home soil in Brazil.
But it was at Interlagos we were treated to a display of Massa at his best. A perfect drive saw him beat former Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in a race-long fight and take P7, acting as a solid sign-off to his home fans.
While it was far from being the season Massa wanted to say goodbye with, he was nevertheless ready to say goodbye this time around – something he wasn’t 12 months ago. It proved to be a classy end to a classy F1 career.
Season High: Saying goodbye to Brazil with a perfect drive to P7.
Season Low: Losing a possible podium or victory in Baku due to a suspension failure.
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.