McLaren considering 2023 Formula E entry

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McLaren is considering an entry into Formula E when its new, third-generation car arrives in 2023.

The team is looking to continue its recent expansion beyond Formula E. It returned into IndyCar this year and is looking at a move into the World Endurance Championship under the new LMDh regulations.

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.

Pato O'Ward, McLaren SP, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2020
McLaren impressed in their first IndyCar season
“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.

Audi and BMW are leaving Formula E
“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.

“Those two series have our attention. We want to get through this season, we want to make sure that anything we do is not a distraction to our Formula 1 efforts.”

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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5 comments on “McLaren considering 2023 Formula E entry”

  1. I can’t say why Audi and BMW are leaving but I know Merc are putting quite a bit into liquid hydrogen and BMW have already gone a way in developing hydrogen fuel cells. I do know that despite the hype around battery powered EVs many in the motoring industry still see them as only a transition to something else.

    1. I thought the whole point of Formula E was to have electrically powered motors. Maybe that allows using some sort of direct fuel to electricity conversion as a variation on battery technology, but I think it precludes any internal combustion engine technology regardless of the fuel.

  2. Tip of the iceberg.

    I can see most F1 teams being involved with FE by 2030

  3. If only FE wasn’t so gimmicky. I find it hard to even call it a sport.

  4. Waste of time, as Audi and BMW found out.

    F1 and IndyCar are enough to manage.

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