Formula One

McLaren celebrates P5 in ‘super exciting’ FE debut

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The McLaren team marked its maiden ABB FIA Formula E world championship appearance with a top five finish in the Mexico City E-Prix in Mexico City on Saturday.

Jake Hughes qualified in third place for the first round of the new season and went on to cross the line in P5 after an eventful race that saw Mahindra driver Robin Frijns break his wrist in an accident on the first lap.

“It’s been a good weekend,” said the 28-year-old from Birmingham. “I finished with a really good result and I’m really impressed with the team and how well we’re working together.”

McLaren took over the former Mercedes EQ team at the end of 2022. It coincided with the introduction of Formula E’s new Gen3 car, which has involved a lot of work for everyone on the grid.

“It’s been such a short turnaround for us, we haven’t had much time with the car, so to deliver what we have is very impressive,” said Hughes.

“We have things we can improve on, but I’m happy with my performance this weekend and we’ve learned some lessons to take away.”

<div>McLaren celebrates P5 in 'super exciting' FE debut</div>

© McLaren

“It’s been a long time in the making,” said team principal Ian James. “But finally we have been able to celebrate the race debut of the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team here in Mexico City.

“A phenomenal location to be able to kick off the season, Mexico City never disappoints and the fans here seem to embrace electric racing with a passion.

“As a team, we have kicked off the season with a solid performance. Jake has been outstanding all weekend and showed what he can do with a P3 in Qualifying and P5 in the race.”

McLaren FE team boss Ian James and Zak Brown

© McLaren

““What a start!” added McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “It’s super exciting to be part of this series and now finally get it underway.

“Jake delivered superbly on his debut, starting the race from an impressive P3, finishing P5,” he continued. “I can’t wait for more to come from this team in 2023 and beyond, this is just the start of the journey.

“Having the McLaren Racing brand represented in yet another racing series shows that we are serious about what we do: racing. Bring on Season 9!”

Unfortunately the day didn’t go so well for Hughes’ team mate Rene Rast who was forced to retire form the race in the closing laps.

“It was a difficult race for me. I struggled overall today. Qualifying didn’t go too well. We had some pace during the race and made up some positions, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

“I made contact with another car, which broke my suspension. It was not the way we wanted to end the weekend but sometimes that’s how racing goes. I learned a lot that I’m looking to take forward to the next round in Diriyah.”

Avalanche Andretti's Jake Dennis competing in the Mexico City E-Prix - January 14 2023.

© Avalanche Andretti

The race was won by Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis in a dominant performance that saw him finish almost eight seconds clear of TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, the seventh largest all-time margin of victory in FE.

“To win by that margin, to start on the front row and get a Porsche one-two is absolutely incredible,” Dennis said.

“These cars are so hard to drive physically. Obviously, with a lower grip as well, it just makes everything so challenging – but even more rewarding when you win you win by 7.5s.”

The next round is a double header in Saudi Arabia in two weeks time, but ABT CUPRA’ Robin Frijns is in doubt after it was confirmed he needs surgery for a wrist fracture after running into the rear of Norman Nato’s Nissan at the start of yesterday’s race.

That would put an end to Frijns’ 32-race finishing streak in the all-electric series, stretching back to Berlin 2020.

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