Hughes: 'Nothing can prepare you for Formula E'

NEOM McLaren's Jake Hughes says he's confident his debut Formula E campaign will be a positive one, having worked his way up motorsport's junior ladder to get here.

Jake Hughes McLaren Valencia

The 28-year-old has two years under his belt as reserve driver at the McLaren team's prior incarnation - Mercedes-EQ - and fought hard to climb the ranks with fice competitive seasons in GP3 Series and FIA Formula 3.

So, the McLaren move he's now secured is the culmination of years' work, and not he's got the opportunity, he's keen to show what he can do in machinery like no other. He's impressed right away, too. In Valencia, as of Friday morning, he'd only failed to make the top 10 on the timesheets on one occasion and posted the second quickest time twice.

"As race drivers, we typically come up through the levels from karting to Formula racing and at this level, the cars tend to be quite similar," said the Birmingham-born racer. "Then you arrive in Formula E and there’s almost no preparation for it – there’s nothing to prepare you for it and you have to learn on the job, basically.

"Fortunately for me, I’ve had two years as a reserve driver with this very team (as Mercedes-EQ) so I feel very prepared for it. Nevertheless, it’s always going to be a learning process and a bit of an adventure – trying to learn a Formula E car and the new Gen3 package – I honestly really enjoy it.

"With the new tyre this year, the car’s very alive on track and it’s always moving underneath you. It feels like you really have to drive it and I’m enjoying it so far!"

Hughes: 'Formula E one of the strongest series in the world, if not the strongest'

Hughes is well aware of the challenge that awaits him with the quality and experience on the Formula E grid but he's already shown that, at least in testing trim, he can mix it - and with the total reset Gen3 brings there's as good a chance as any for the Brit to mix it at the front.

"I think a lot of people, including myself, would say that it’s one of the strongest championships in the world – if not the strongest," he says. "We have 22 cars on the grid and 22 drivers with the quality to win a race. You’ll see that the racing is very close and the cars can also follow each other very, very closely.

"The teams are very good at learning how to maximise the package they have and it’s all in the detail. So for me being a rookie, it’s obviously going to be a challenge. I have a really good team behind me though, so I’m confident the adventure will be a positive one."