Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes, Formula E, Diriyah E-Prix, Race 2, 2022

McLaren announce purchase of Mercedes EQ Formula E team

Formula E

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McLaren Racing have confirmed they will acquire the Mercedes EQ Formula E team and rebrand as their own entry to the series next year.

Mercedes announced last year that they would leave Formula E at the end of 2022, prior to the introduction of the new ‘Gen3’ car for the electric championship’s ninth season.

McLaren Racing had previously expressed an interest in joining the series when the third-generation car is introduced. They confirmed today they will do so by purchasing Mercedes EQ, the current Formula E teams champions.

The McLaren Group had previously been involved with the series through their McLaren Applied division having supplied the original ECUs for the championship and been exclusive battery supplier up to the end of this current season. McLaren Applied was sold by McLaren Group in 2021.

Upon completion of their takeover of Mercedes EQ, McLaren say that current team principal Ian James will remain in his role to enable a “smooth transition” into its new identity as McLaren.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said acquiring Mercedes EQ will provide their wider racing programmes a “competitive advantage” by expanding their knowledge of electric vehicle technology.

“McLaren Racing always seeks to compete against the best and on the leading edge of technology, providing our fans, partners and people with new ways to be excited, entertained and inspired,” said Brown. “Formula E, like all our racing series, fulfils all those criteria.

“It is also satisfying to provide a home for the class-leading Formula E team that Mercedes has built, which will become a fully-fledged part of the McLaren Racing family. While run separately to our F1 and IndyCar teams, Formula E complements and builds out our EV racing programme alongside Extreme E.”

The latest expansion of McLaren’s racing activities means they will be present in Formula 1, IndyCar, Extreme E and Formula E from 2022.

Mercedes EQ team principal Ian James said it would be a “privilege” for his team to join McLaren.

“McLaren has always been synonymous with success and high-performance,” James said. “This is a great moment for all parties involved but, above all, for the people that make up this team. They are what keeps its heart beating. Being able to continue working with them is what I am most excited about.

“I’m very much looking forward for this next chapter for the team and will be a proud member of it in 2023. Until then, we will be focused on delivering the best results possible as the Mercedes EQ Formula E Team, for the remainder of the current season.”

Mercedes EQ currently lead the Formula E teams championship with 120 points. Driver Stoffel Vandoorne is also on top of the drivers’ standings having won the most recent round of the series in Monaco.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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17 comments on “McLaren announce purchase of Mercedes EQ Formula E team”

  1. How badly did De Vries fall out with McLaren in 2019? They might not want to retain him.

  2. Great news for the sport, another big name joining the field.
    Curious about the drivers lineup.

    Ricciardo to FE & Colton Herta to F1? :P

    1. Well, no, it’s one big name in, one big name out.

      1. Maserati is joining the serie next season as well

  3. Now they only need to hire one finn and one scot and they are basicilly unbeatable

  4. I hope McLaren isn’t stretching itself too thin. This had better not come at the detriment of their F1 team….

    1. Their choice.
      They’ll race anywhere that is financially beneficial to them.

  5. I really hope that this isn’t McLaren’s attention straying from F1. Time and again, they’ve undertaken other motorsport projects to the detriment of their core F1 focus.

    1. I don’t think it’d be that bad. The budget will be available thanks to cost cap in F1 and they’ll be able to retain many workers. Hope that they’ll have good management in FE.

      Driver wise, I think they’d contract 2nd tier drivers for at first. Can’t see the likes O’Ward or Herta straying off to FE.

    2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      14th May 2022, 16:19

      Looks like they’re buying an existing operation. It should just keep running itself, just under different ownership

  6. They can run FE out of ricciardo’s back pocket. Alongside Indy, Zak biggest blunder, though who would have guessed ric was going to be an average driver like sainz the guy he replaced.

    1. Up until now, hardly as good actually. McLaren clearly lost a lot in the swap so far.

  7. Not a word about any future line-up but I hope Vandoorne doesn’t get ousted again. Ousted two times by a team, did that ever happened ?

    1. Vandoorne has already signed with DS Penske next year.
      Good decision !

  8. RandomMallard
    15th May 2022, 11:50

    I think this has the potential to be a good move for McLaren. I don’t know what this will involve in terms of powertrains (will they keep the Merc powertrain, build their own etc, and how much intellectual property can/will be shared), but they’re buying a very competitive team in FE. Hope it works out for them.

  9. Great move from McLaren who’s MO under Brown is really to sell the brand and bring partners on board. Doing this means another set of cars to sell space on and provide further value for new and existing partners whilst adding minimal cost or risk to the wider org. Moves like this add to McLaren’s move to being a ‘racing team’ instead of an F1 team which is great for their long term health. Obviously great for the Mercedes race team so looks like a win-win to me.

  10. This is a great move by Mclaren, and a really terrible one by Mercedes – do they not realise Formula E has the exclusive rights to electric single seaters for the next 16 years or so, beyond the point fossil fuel road car production stops? And that they’re selling the best team on the Formula E grid to a key rival in F1?

    It reminds me of the terrible error that Ferrari made of selling their designer John Barnard’s Guildford Technical Office to Mclaren around 1990, which then led to Mclaren taking on Ferrari by entering the road car business via their F1 road car, which they built in the engineering centre Ferrari had created… Oops!

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