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McLaren 'concerned' by Audi and BMW Formula E exit - Brown

McLaren 'concerned' by Audi and BMW Formula E exit - Brown

F1 News

McLaren 'concerned' by Audi and BMW Formula E exit - Brown

McLaren 'concerned' by Audi and BMW Formula E exit - Brown

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has stated the withdrawal of manufacturers Audi and BMW from Formula E has caused "a bit of concern" with the team yet to decide on its option to join the grid in 2022.

McLaren secured an option to join Formula E for season nine, the 2022-23 season, in January.

Although season eight, the campaign that will begin at the end of 2021, was never an option, the exit of two major German manufacturers has caused pause for thought.

With Mercedes also yet to decide on its future participation, Brown is currently assessing the commercial viability of competing in the all-electric championship.

“On Formula E, we are looking to see how it continues to develop," he explained.

"Obviously, with Audi and BMW leaving it’s a bit of a concern. We’re not quite sure what Mercedes is going to do and when we make a decision, is it commercially viable? We’re still looking at that.

“Is it operationally distracting? Formula E teams are becoming quite big now. They’re talking about putting a cost cap. That is not yet done but a Formula E team is 60-70 people and currently doesn’t have a cost cap so we don’t yet know if it is going to be economically viable without a cost cap. I don’t think it is."

“With all that we have got going on with IndyCar, with Extreme E, is it something that we feel the timing is right? So we like what Formula E stands for, we like the racing. We have been participating as the supplier, so those are the things that are in our consideration set."

Brown added: “It was always our intention to make a decision by the end of the year for season nine which we are still on course to make a decision."

McLaren requires an engine partner for WEC bid

McLaren already competes in Formula 1, IndyCar and Extreme E but, alongside Formula E, the manufacturer is considering racing in the new World Endurance Championship hypercar category.

However, as its engine does not conform to current regulations, Brown conceded the team will need to find an engine partner if this effort is to go any further.

“On WEC, I am very happy to see the LMDH hypercar coming together because that was a concern," he said.

"There, our engine does not work in the current regulation, our crank height is too high, so it requires us to have an engine partner so that is something that we are exploring.

“A WEC team is also quite a large team and quite an undertaking of development. I think it does fit great with our racing pedigree and our automotive business so that is something that we would really like to do but we are still evaluating if we are going to do it and when we are going to do it.

“If we do it, it would be for the 2024 season. We would not be at this point ready to start for the 2023 season and we will need to make that decision in order to be ready for 2024 by the end of this year as well.”

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