- McLaren currently unable to race in Formula E under battery supplier deal
- All-electric racing series among several new motorsport categories being evaluated by British team
British motorsport outfit McLaren have secured an option to join the Formula E all-electric racing series from the 2022/23 season.
McLaren Applied currently serves as the exclusive battery supplier for Formula E, meaning the Woking-based outfit are unable to enter a team until that contract expires.
With that deal set to end at the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign, McLaren are now considering whether to join Formula E as part of an ongoing evaluation of several potential new motorsport categories.
“We’ve been closely observing Formula E for some time and monitoring the series’ progress and future direction,” said Zak Brown, chief executive of McLaren Racing. “The opportunity to take an option on an entry and the completion of the McLaren Applied supplier contract with the FIA at the end of Gen2, gives us the necessary time to decide if Formula E is right for McLaren as a future competition platform.”
McLaren are currently committed to Formula One until 2025 under the global championship’s new Concorde Agreement, while they also have an entry in the US-based IndyCar Series. Brown said last year that the team is also interested in racing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the International Motor Sports Association's (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The new agreement with Formula E does not guarantee that McLaren will join the grid, but it does give them the option to become one of a maximum of 12 entries for season nine, which will usher in the series’ new Gen3 era. The Gen3 regulations will be headlined by more powerful, lighter cars and faster charging, as well as a new set of technical and financial controls.
News of McLaren’s interest will come as a boost to Formula E after German manufacturers BMW and Audi announced in December that they will exit the series following the 2021/22 season.
Jamie Reigle, Formula E’s chief executive, added: “We are delighted that McLaren Racing, one of the most iconic names in motorsport, has secured an option to join Formula E. McLaren has contributed immensely to Formula E’s success as suppliers of our Gen2 battery systems.
“We now look forward to working with McLaren Racing to demonstrate the sporting and commercial potential of Formula E and devise ways to elevate the series to a new level, as part of their evaluation.”