McLaren is considering an entry into Formula E when its new, third-generation car arrives in 2023.
The second generation Formula E cars, which were introduced in 2018, use batteries supplied by McLaren Applied. Because of this, the team is not allowed to compete in the championship.
However from 2023, when the new third-generation car arrives, McLaren will no longer be the exclusive battery supplier to the series. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said they may take advantage of the opportunity to enter the series.
“We’ve been precluded from competing in Formula E because we were the battery supplier,” said Brown. “So within that FIA tender we’re not allowed to compete as a team.
“With the new generation car coming in 2023 and us no longer being the exclusive battery supplier, that’s a racing series that we find very interesting. So that’s something that we are starting to look at more closely.”
In recent weeks Audi and BMW have announced they will leave Formula E following the 2020-21 season, which starts next month. That will free up space on the grid for McLaren to enter, but Brown said he wants to understand the current manufacturers’ reasons for leaving.
“Of course you have to ask yourself why,” said Brown. “But it’s deep with manufacturers support. So I’m ultimately not concerned. But you do get to the bottom of why have they left.”
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“Any time teams or manufacturers leave a series, you have to ask why,” he added. “I don’t know: Obviously Audi’s announced that they’re going and getting in Dakar and LMDh, so that’s great.
“With them being in the same family as Porsche and Porsche being in there maybe their strategy is Porsche should do that, Audi should be somewhere else.”
Brown said the introduction of a budget cap in Formula E also makes the series more attractive.
“It started off being very inexpensive and then it skyrocketed, which is what happens. Now it looks like they’re going to cap that quickly before it further grows.”
McLaren is still pressing ahead with plans to enter the World Endurance Championship when its new generation of cars is introduced.
The team will follow the same decision-making process regarding a potential Formula E entry as it did when it decided to enter IndyCar, said Brown.
“We layered in IndyCar and I think we’ve had a very successful year after a bumpy start in 2019. So those two are something that we’re looking at.
“[It’ll be] kind of the same criteria that we have on IndyCar now: Do we think we can be competitive? Do we think it’s commercially and fiscally sustainable? Do we think it fits our brand? I think both of those series tick all those boxes. So it’s all about layering them in from a timing perspective if we’re going to do either.”
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