McLaren considers entering Formula E in 2022, as BMW and Merc exit
LONDON - McLaren Racing have signed an option to compete in the electric Formula E championship from 2022-23, the Formula One team announced on Monday. The British-based team will spend 2021 assessing the feasibility of joining the series for season nine, when a lighter and more powerful Gen3 car makes its debut with faster charging.
BMW, whose team are run by US-based Andretti Motorsport, and Audi have both announced they are leaving the series at the end of this year.
Formula E, a recognised FIA-backed world championship, allows a maximum 12 entries.
McLaren Applied Technologies is the exclusive battery supplier of the series until 2022, with McLaren precluded from competing until that contract expires.
"We’ve been closely observing Formula E for some time and monitoring the series’ progress and future direction," said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in a statement.
"The opportunity to take an option on an entry, together with the completion of the McLaren Applied supplier contract... gives us the necessary time to decide if Formula E is right for McLaren as a future competition platform."
Formula One is introducing a budget cap this year and some teams are looking at shedding staff by redeploying them to other areas.
"McLaren Racing securing an option to join the Formula E grid from Gen3 is testament to the ongoing impact of our sport," said series founder Alejandro Agag in a statement.
The seventh Formula E season is due to start in Saudi Arabia with night races on Feb. 26 and 27. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)