Formula 1 bills itself as the most technologically advanced racing series in the world, and for the most part, that’s a fair claim. Still, only the most willfully ignorant among us still believe that the automotive future is anything but electric, and Formula 1’s younger cousin Formula E is making big strides both technologically and commercially. Now, thanks to McLaren Racing, Formula E is getting yet another boost — this time, to its credibility as a top-flight racing series.
McLaren is a name that needs no introduction in motorsports circles, with a rich history of success in Formula 1 as well as in the IndyCar, Can-Am, and WEC series. And, if you follow Formula E currently, you probably know that McLaren is already deeply involved with Formula E as that series’ exclusive Gen2 battery supplier. That supply contract, which ran for 4 seasons and precluded McLaren from entering its own car, ends with the 2021/22 season. After that, the door opens for McLaren Racing to deepen its involvement in Formula E as a competitor in the globe-trotting EV championship series.
“We are delighted that McLaren Racing, one of the most iconic names in motorsport, has secured an option to join Formula E,” Jamie Reigle, Chief Executive Officer of Formula E said, in a statement. “We now look forward to working with McLaren Racing to demonstrate the sporting and commercial potential of Formula E and devise ways to elevate the series to a new level, as part of their evaluation.”
2022/23 will be “Season 9” of Formula E, and efficiency advances over the past 8 years should yield more powerful, lighter cars and faster charging, as well as a set of technical and financial controls aimed at reinforcing the business case for Formula E’s ecosystem of teams and manufacturers. That will be important to other potential competitors as well, especially large F1 teams who will be looking for ways to keep their people employed once Formula 1’s new “cost cap” regulations come into play in 2022 — including Ferrari.
“Ferrari feels a lot of social responsibility towards its employees and we want to be sure that for each of them there will be a workspace in the future,” Ferrari F1 team principal Mattia Binotto told Sky Sports Italy back in May. “For this reason we have started to evaluate alternative programs and I confirm that we are looking at IndyCar, which is currently a very different category from (Formula 1).”
If both McLaren and Ferrari join their F1 rivals Mercedes-Benz (and, for that matter, IndyCar rivals Andretti and Penske) on the 2022/23 Formula E grid, I think it will go a long, long way towards developing interest in electric racing — and developing the technology, as well. What do you guys think? Is this a great way to show John Q. Public that electric cars can be exciting, or the best way to do it? Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know!
Source | Images: McLaren Racing, via Formula E.
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