Berlin E-Prix – McLaren have finally confirmed that they will be on the grid for season 9 and that they will take over running of the Mercedes team.
Early last year the British team signed an option to join the series for the start of the Gen3 era but until now hadn’t confirmed whether they would be taking it up or not. In the Team Principals’ press conference yesterday Mercedes boss, Ian James, was talking about the newly revealed Gen3 car and how excited he was about it despite Mercedes being set to leave after the end of this season.
When questioned on that by Hazel Southwell, James said that he was confident about the future of the team but that it was Andretti’s day so he wouldn’t be revealing anything yet. There wasn’t long to wait however as the McLaren takeover was announced less than 24 hours later.
McLaren’s CEO, Zak Brown, said that Formula E satisfied all the criteria that the team look for in a series and that joining would help them in their sustainability goal. McLaren have been on that sustainability journey for quite a long time, having been the first team to achieve the FIA’s highest sustainability accolade, three-star Environmental Accreditation, back in 2013 and they have retained it even since.
“McLaren Racing always seeks to compete against the best,” Brown said, “and on the leading edge of technology, providing our fans, partners and people with new ways to be excited, entertained and inspired. Formula E, like all our racing series, fulfils all those criteria.
“As with all forms of the sport we participate in, Formula E has racing at the centre but will be strategically, commercially and technically additive to McLaren Racing overall. 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.
“I firmly believe that Formula E will give McLaren Racing a competitive advantage through greater understanding of EV racing, while providing a point of difference to our fans, partners and people, and continuing to drive us along our sustainability pathway.”
To ensure a smooth transition from Mercedes to McLaren, James will continue on as the Team Principal. He thanked Mercedes for their time racing together and their help in securing the team’s Formula E future. He added that it was a privilege to join McLaren and continue working with all the personnel who had made up the Mercedes-EQ team.
“Today’s announcement confirms the next exciting chapter in the development of the team,” James said. “Since our inception in 2019, performance, sustainability and adaptability have been the keys to our success. I would like to thank [Mercedes-Benz] for being the most supportive owner by helping us to do what we do best: racing. Now, once again, they have been instrumental in securing the right partner to continue our Formula E journey.
“Becoming part of the McLaren Racing family is a privilege: McLaren has always been synonymous with success and high-performance. 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 Season 9. 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.”
While Formula E’s Co-Founder and Chairman, Alejandro Agag, revealed that McLaren have been on his team wishlist since the series started and he’s delighted to finally see that actually come to fruition.
“I’ve wanted McLaren to be part of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship since Season 1,” Agag said, “and I’m delighted we finally made it happen. But it is so much more than just deciding to go racing. Being part of Formula E signals a strategic investment in the future of electric vehicle development. I welcome Zak’s belief that Formula E provides a cutting-edge environment for a proven innovator like McLaren to accelerate their EV experience and performance.
“I am also happy that the deep skills and capabilities developed by the current Mercedes-EQ team in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will find an exciting new home with McLaren. This will be a formidable team next year.”
McLaren added that news of their driver line-up and powertrain supplier would be revealed in due course.