McLaren has repeated its desire to race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship when it enters its third rules set at the end of next year.
Formula E has confirmed today that ‘an agreement granting McLaren Racing an option to enter’ has been signed for the 2022-23 season onwards.
It follows similar interest shown by McLaren Racing director Zak Brown last December when he made comments to similar effect during the build-up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Should the option be taken up it would be within the maximum 12 team entry constitution limit of Formula E, meaning that McLaren is likely to be pursuing an agreement to enter purely as a racing team rather than commit to being a manufacturer.
If McLaren Racing wanted to enter as a manufacturer and use its own technology for Gen3 it would have to formally register with the FIA by March 31.
So far only Mahindra has confirmed it will race using its own powertrain from the 2022-23 season onwards.
The most likely scenario, should McLaren Racing advance its option status, would be that it takes on the franchise currently held by either Andretti or Audi.
The former has had its manufacturer partner, BMW, give notice that it will leave Formula E at the end of the coming season, although control of the slot until the end of the 2021-22 season is held by Andretti.
Andretti has recently committed to an Extreme E programme with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown’s United Autosports company.
Audi, which also confirmed it would cease racing in Formula E last November, holds the entry registration as both a manufacturer and a team.
This means that it will have to agree a transaction agreement for a new entity to race in the final season of Gen 2 in 2021-22.
“We’ve been closely observing Formula E for some time and monitoring the series’ progress and future direction,” said Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown in a press release issued by Formula E.
“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.”
Mercedes signed a similar option to gain a position in Formula E in 2017 before a few months later confirming it would join the grid.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and Chairman of Formula E, said of the option signing that it is “a testament to the ongoing impact of our sport. With some of the most famous names in motorsport already competing in Formula E, we are thrilled that McLaren Racing has decided to examine a potential entry to Formula E.”
McLaren Applied which sits alongside McLaren Racing and McLaren Automotive in the McLaren Group structure is currently the supplier and track support team of the spec Gen2 battery. It will relinquish this deal next year when Williams Advanced Engineering takes over the battery supply for Gen3.