Formula E

Rookie Jake Hughes: “I’m very confident in my own ability”

3 Mins read
Credit: Sam Bloxham courtesy of FIA Formula E

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship‘s newest outfit, the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team have enjoyed a very strong start to their time in the all-electric series, with rookie driver Jake Hughes having been one of the stars of pre-season testing.

Hughes was phenomenal all week at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and was a regular name towards the top of the timesheets, mixing it amongst the DS Automobile powered challengers. McLaren are, of course, using the Nissan Formula E Team‘s package for Season Nine and have interestingly faired better than the Japanese side in Valencia.

The Brit incredibly won a mock-race on Wednesday, cementing his place as someone who could pull-off a few surprises in the upcoming season. Apart from causing a red flag on the opening day after breaking down, the week was largely positive for the former Formula 2 driver, who is aware that there is a “certain level of expectation” on his shoulders.

Based on completed laps, Friday was his best day by far after completing ninety-five circulations of the circuit; however, two sessions did take place on the last day of the official test. Despite it being a new car and a new team, Hughes appeared somewhat surprised at how well everything went, something he said was a “testament to the hard work” of every colleague in his team and at Nissan.

“It’s been overall positive I would say. It was my first proper time in this car with this team and I feel good about it. As a team we haven’t had much time with this new generation car.

“For me also, as a rookie, there is a certain level of expectation coming in – both from myself and the people around me. I’m very confident in my own ability and thankfully that has translated so far on track. We have had good pace in both push and race laps, but we will need to stay sharp as it won’t always be as smooth as it has been this week.

“The car has been pretty reliable. I wouldn’t say unexpectedly, but there is a certain level of teething issues you expect with a new car. The fact that it has been running so well regardless, is a testament to the hard work of all women and men at the team and at Nissan. Valencia is a completely different track than what we will race on in the season; so more challenges to come. I’m looking forward to the season start.”

“I’m happy it went smooth” – René Rast

On the other side of the British team’s garage, the returning René Rast also enjoyed a successful week of testing at the Spanish circuit, a week he labelled as “intense”.

The last time Rast raced in Formula E was staggeringly sixteen months ago and was, of course, in the Gen2 car, meaning his return to the championship is far more difficult than usual when making a comeback to a category. Despite this, he has looked very good in Valencia and has also featured towards the top of the leaderboard at times, suggesting that the combination of youth and experience in the McLaren line-up could be an extremely good choice.

Rast was pleased to get through the entire week “without any big issues”, and was “positively surprised” to see that the team’s “car seems to be quick”.

“I think we can say it’s been an intense and good week. We have done a lot of laps, without any big issues. I don’t think that was a given, going into this week. We were not sure how reliable everything would be, both as a team and across the paddock.

“I’m positively surprised with how it went. On top of that, the car seems to be quick; so, a lot of positives to take away from Valencia. For me it was the first time working with the team during an official event and I’m happy it went smooth so we could focus on the driving and processes. We still have a lot of preparation ahead of us before Mexico, but I’m really looking forward to the first race.”

Credit: Sam Bagnall courtesy of FIA Formula E
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