McLaren’s ‘weakness’ present despite maiden victory


Jake Hughes conceded after the São Paulo E-Prix that McLaren’s “weakness” is “exaggerated” in the peloton-style races, which returned in dramatic fashion last weekend.

Hughes made an excellent start but was quickly sucked into the midfield, as a result of losing several places in one corner. Once swallowed by the pack, making ground has proven to be virtually impossible, as the Briton discovered.

Track position is vital in the peloton-style, something which benefitted Sam Bird. Hughes’ teammate was amongst the frontrunners for the entirety of the race, and ended up winning thanks to a stunning last-lap overtake on Mitch Evans.

Bird’s win marked McLaren’s first in Formula E and highlighted just how efficient their package now is, although in Hughes’ case, the team’s weakness remained visible.

“It’s great,” Hughes told RacingNews365 on Bird’s win. “It’s what we know already that I guess, confirms to us that the step we made from Season 9 in efficiency is really, really powerful. The weakness of the car that we know we have is is only exaggerated when we have these type of races.

“Actually, when you’re in mid grid, really, it’s just it’s hard to keep building momentum to use our efficiency. But when you’re, like we have been in Mexico and Diriyah, towards the front in a flat out race or whether you are in the top five like Sam was here in a pack race.

“The efficiency can shine through, but it’s just we need to find a way to improve if we qualify mid grid in these types of races.”

Stuck in the ‘bite’

Hughes ended up retiring from the race in the closing stages following a technical gremlin, although he admitted that his race was over even without the problem.

“We had a mechanical, so we had to DNF to protect the car a little bit because it was basically for the last, I don’t know, five laps or four laps before that point it was basically cutting power,” Hughes added.

“My race was kind of done already. “I had a really good first two laps or something, I was seventh. And the problem is with these pack races that we have is like, I had one lap where I tried a move around the outside of one of the slow corners and I lost four places, you go back to P11 or P12.

“You’re in the bite. Some laps you win two, some laps you lose two but you can never really build momentum. And it’s like you’re eating your tyres to try and stop the rot and overtake. You’re not being efficient. And it’s just such an advantage to be in the top five.”



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