McLaren Racing has announced that it has signed an option to enter the FIA Formula E World Championship in Season Nine (2022/23), as part of its ongoing evaluation of potential new motorsport platforms.
The option provides McLaren with the choice to enter the championship as one of a maximum 12 entries for the 2022/23 season.
McLaren Racing is precluded from competing as a team in Formula E while McLaren Applied is the exclusive battery supplier to the series. However, with that contract expiring at the end of the 2021/22 season, the team can now consider participation.
McLaren Racing will spend 2021 continuing to evaluate the feasibility of entering the series against a range of established criteria before deciding whether to proceed.
“We’ve been closely observing Formula E for some time and monitoring the series’ progress and future direction,” admitted Zak Brown. “The opportunity to take an option on an entry, together with the completion of the McLaren Applied supplier contract with the FIA at the end of Gen 2, gives us the necessary time to decide if Formula E is right for McLaren as a future competition platform.”
Asked if McLaren is concerned at the recent withdrawals of BMW and Audi, Brown said: “The reason we’ve taken up an option is to give ourselves the appropriate time to evaluate Formula E as a platform for McLaren Racing in the future. It will be a comprehensive evaluation and will look at a broad range of factors, including the new Gen3 car, upcoming budget cap, commercial and marketing outlook, and the background to decisions made by those brands who have chosen not to continue.
“We have taken the option now to give ourselves the appropriate time to properly evaluate this proposition in detail. We are satisfied that we have the necessary time should we choose to commit.
Asked if McLaren will field its own team or partner with an existing team, he admitted that this “will form part of our evaluation” as will any possible driver line-up.
Asked if McLaren will redeploy staff to Formula E from F1 in light of the reduction in budget cap, again Brown said that this “will form part of our evaluation”.