McLaren: Formula E endeavor linked to ‘mandatory’ cost cap

McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown the Woking-based outfit will only exercise its option to race in Formula E in the future if the all-electric series follows F1 and introduces a cost cap.

McLaren announced last month that it had signed an option to enter the FIA Formula E Championship’s 2022/2023 season.

Brown is therefore evaluating the opportunity for McLaren to further broaden its racing activities beyond F1 and its partnership with Schmidt Peterson in Indy Car.

But any firm commitment to FE will be contingent on a budget cap being implemented by the series.

“The cost cap is mandatory for us, because as a racing team/manufacturer, we don’t have the depth of resources of a BMW or Mercedes or a Porsche, where if we budget X, and because people keep raising the bar, the price becomes Y,” Brown told Autosport.

“What I don’t have is the ability to just go back and say ‘ah, I need another £15million’.

    Read also: McLaren signs option to compete in Formula E from 2022

“We need to have total confidence that we can afford to race for the championship, and that those goalposts aren’t going to move on us.

“I’m very pleased with what I’m hearing, and the numbers that I’m hearing, but that will be something before we make a final decision that needs to be a done deal.

“What I can’t do is enter into a championship, any championship, that potentially has a moving target as a budget.”

Brown said that McLaren’s interest in Formula E was spurred by the announcements late last year by BMW and Audi of the two manufacturers’ departure from the series at the end of this season.

The exits have freed up a couple of slots on the FE grid and therefore spared McLaren the expense of a costly franchise fee.

“[FE] was something that has always been on the solar system page, if you like,” Brown said.

“But then with the announcement of Audi and BMW leaving, because they were sold out of franchises, the only way to enter would have been to acquire an existing team.

©McLaren

“They’re trading for not an insignificant amount of money, which would probably be a barrier to entry for us.

“When the opportunity presented itself to acquire an option, that’s why we moved.

“We’ve been circling. Alejandro [Agag, FE co-founder] knew we’d been looking.

“When that happened, we were a quick call for him to say, ‘you’ve been telling me you have an interest in Formula E, this has just happened which presents an opportunity’.

“We jumped on it to reserve our spot to then give us this year to hopefully get through COVID, have another solid year of Formula 1, because while we’re on a good journey, nobody is comfortable yet.”

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