Formula E

McLaren’s Ian James: “There’s still work to do in order to realise our full potential”

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Credit: LAT Images courtesy of FIA Formula E

The NEOM McLaren Formula E Team endured a challenging weekend at the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix; however, René Rast still performed superbly and recovered from a grid penalty to claim fourth.

McLaren’s weekend in Cape Town was arguably one of their most difficult of the season, with the team having not had the usual pace that’s seen them towards the front all season so far. The Woking-based team are usually one of the best in qualifying; however, Jake Hughes qualified thirteenth after hitting a wall, and Rast qualified seventh. Rast actually the started the race in tenth following a three-place grid penalty for hitting Jake Dennis in India, giving him plenty of work to do.

Despite his grid penalty, Rast recovered superbly during the race to claim fourth, elevating him from eighth to seventh in the Drivers’ Championship. Hughes’ race was just as challenging as his qualifying, with the Brit having struggled for pace towards the end of race, resulting in him only managing tenth.

McLaren Team Principal Ian James recognises that “there’s still work to do in order to realise our full potential”, with the hope being that they can find more pace across the next month before the inaugural race in São Paulo.

“Cape Town has, undoubtedly, provided one of the most stunning backdrops to a Formula E race. The Capetonians have also welcomed us with open arms, proving not only to be passionate about motorsport, but knowledgeable about Formula E. I’m confident that the race itself also delivered for the fans, with action aplenty.

“For our part, we didn’t see the strong Qualifying pace we’ve achieved at the previous events. Despite this, René was able to top his group and progress to the duels, eventually starting P10 on the grid following a 3-place penalty carried-over from Hyderabad. Jake started in P13, which left both drivers with plenty to do doing the race. 

“Ultimately, knowing that the race itself had the potential to throw up a few surprises, our focus was on executing a strategy which would deliver solid points. To this end, the team delivered, with René finishing in P4 and Jake in P10. There’s still work to do in order to realise our full potential, but we’ve now got a few weeks before the next race on the Saturday 25 March, in São Paulo – and the team will be working as hard as ever.”

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