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mclaren joins formula e in 2023
Image: McLaren

Yet another rumour confirmed on the motorsport grid. British racing team McLaren has officially announced its involvement in Formula E in 2023, adding to the racing division which already has Formula 1, IndyCar and Extreme E, three of which use electric power. Best known as a Formula 1 constructor and the second most successful team after Ferrari in F1, McLaren is on the fast track to an electrified future.

Formula E, an all-electric series, is the first to use the new Gen3 car and will be in its ninth season next year. McLaren will reportedly be racing with Nissan provided powertrains for the first two seasons of its existence. Replacing the Mercedes EQ team, ‘Team Papaya’ — named so because of its iconic orange hue — will use the reigning championship-winning Mercedes team alongside some of McLaren’s technical resources.

formula E gen3 car
New Gen3 Formula E car unveiled in April 2022. Image: FIA Formula E

The deal has been in the works since February 2021. McLaren CEO Zak Brown was in discussions with Mercedes EQ before news of Mercedes’ exit was released. Ian James, Team Principal of Mercedes EQ will remain at the helm to lead the new McLaren team. 

Mercedes EQ’s current driver Stoffel Vandoorne has agreed to join the new DS Penske alliance for the Gen3 era. Meaning to say, in taking over the reins, McLaren will be acquiring at least one new driver. According to McLaren, news of the driver line-up, powertrain supplier and commercial partners will be unveiled later in the year.

ian james team principal formula E
Ian James. Image: Mercendez-Benz

James expressed that being a 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.”

‘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,’ James added.

Speaking on Formula E, Brown said it will be “strategically, commercially and technically addictive to McLaren Racing overall”. Known to always compete against the very best and to be on the leading edge of technology, McLaren’s move into Formula E serves as a new way to excite, entertain and inspire its supporters.

“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,” shared Brown.

zak brown
Zak Brown with McLaren F1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. Image: McLaren

All promises and affirmations aside, will McLaren be able to perform well in Formula E and match up to its other standings in the racing division? And will the Mercedes EQ team prove that changing names will not affect its path to the Formula E World Championship?

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