McLaren might need to make a big change to thrive in Formula E | Motorsport


Despite all its motorsport pedigree and the fact it was taking over the title-winning Mercedes team, the brand new McLaren Formula E operation was never realistically expected to win in its first season.

But it nevertheless must already be looking to the next homologation phase in Formula E after a largely moribund first campaign with Nissan power.

Its options, though, could be limited right up until the Gen4 rules set for the 2027 season come into play. That won’t stop its leaders Ian James and co-owner Zak Brown from exploring all avenues of interest, which may also include manufacturers new to Formula E.

It became clear to James, and his 2021 and 2022 title-winning squad, that there were degrees of incompatibility in the alliance it has forged with Nissan. That is undeniable after an end to the season in which McLaren gained just 16 points from the final half of the calendar.

To put that into perspective, the bottom-ranked team Abt Cupra scored the same amount over that period. NIO 333, which was one place behind McLaren in the teams’ standings and 46 points adrift over the full season, outscored it by six over the last eight races.

Although publicly the partnership between McLaren and Nissan appears strong, the discrepancy in cultures between the two entities could ensure that this deal is a brief one, with the possibility that it will cease at the end of next season.

It is unlikely that McLaren will become a Formula E manufacturer in its own right in the foreseeable future, although according to Brown it is “something that we’ve spoken about”.

The main reason why that is just lip service at present is because of the financial constraints around that level of commitment for McLaren, an organisation that already has programmes in Formula 1, IndyCar, Extreme E and Formula E, while there also festers a clear ambition to take the company back to Le Mans, probably for 2026.

“For us as a manufacturer, it’s a challenge financially for us to make…

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