What could a McLaren Formula E entry look like?
Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Mariah Lutz
Following the announcement from McLaren regarding their intentions in Formula E, I thought it would be a good idea to look at what a McLaren Formula E team could look like with their entry next season.
McLaren are entering Formula E by taking over Mercedes’ FE Team’s current Formula E operations with them departing from the series at the end of this season. McLaren and Mercedes have been partners in Formula 1 for decades, with Mercedes powering McLaren’s F1 team from 1995 to 2014 and again last season.
This relationship will continue into Formula E, with McLaren existing as the Mercedes Formula E team that wrapped up the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships last season. McLaren has done similar things in IndyCar, taking over the Schmidt Peterson entries to become McLaren Arrow SP. That team is still located in the states at SP’s base which suggests the potential for McLaren to utilise Mercedes’ facilities at Brackley, with some work being done from the McLaren Technology Centre.
When it comes to the drivers, McLaren will have to go looking for their own pairing rather than inheriting Mercedes’ current lineup. Both of Mercedes’ Formula E drivers, Vandoorne and De Vries, are McLaren F1 reserves (one of the benefits of their partnership). Many will also remember Vandoorne driving for McLaren in F1 from 2017 to 2018. However, both drivers already seem to have plans elsewhere for 2023. Vandoorne is all but confirmed to drive for DS Penske next season, with De Vries likely to be offered a Toyota WEC drive.
There are, however, other options out there for McLaren. For example, Felix Rosenqvist, one of their current IndyCar drivers, had a successful two-year tenure in Formula E with Mahindra. Rosenqvist racked up three wins in two years with some very good results before switching to IndyCar in 2019, which he is still in, albeit with a different team. Unfortunately, Felix hasn’t quite made it in IndyCar. With VeeKay and Rossi headed to McLaren Arrow SP, Rosenqvist is expected to be axed from the team and may be headed back to Formula E, where he properly made a name for himself in single-seaters.
Another potential option, while there have not yet been any rumours, is Oliver Turvey. The Brit has been a McLaren F1 test driver since 2008 and has been in Formula E with the NIO team since the inaugural Formula E season in 2014. While Turvey has ignored interest from other teams on multiple previous occasions, it might be time for Turvey to part ways with NIO for McLaren after 8 seasons with the Chinese outfit. Jake Hughes’ name is also rumoured to be in the hat. Hughes has worked with various Formula E teams in the past as a test and simulator driver and currently serves as a Mercedes Formula E reserve.