Brown reveals when McLaren might confirm driver line-up

McLaren will take over from Mercedes and enter the ninth season of the Formula E championship later this year.

As McLaren prepare for their Formula E entry next season, there is much speculation as to whom might form their driver line-up when they take over from Mercedes EQ.

Current Mercedes drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, both have close links with McLaren, with the Dutchman having spent several years as part of the team’s young driver programme, while the Belgian raced for the F1 team full-time in 2017 and 2018 having scored points at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix while standing in for the injured Fernando Alonso.

Those two are possible candidates, but they are set to face challenges from elsewhere too after McLaren IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist extended his deal with the racing group beyond 2023.

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F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, though not in the conversation for next season, could be in with a shout at the end of 2023 when his deal expires at the end of 2023, so there are plenty of options for Brown to look at.

The Woking-based team revealed their orange and black livery for the new generation of cars that will be introduced in season nine, and a driver line-up could be decided upon by the summer.

“I would anticipate around the summer break,” Brown told Give me Sport.

“We’ve signed Felix and we’re undecided which of our race cars he is going to go into. 

“He’s unique in that he’s won in Formula E and in IndyCar and we’re trying to put the best line-ups in across all of our driver rosters so really where Felix will go will depend on what other IndyCar driver we can or can’t get or what other Formula E driver we can or can’t get.”

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Rosenqvist has experience in Formula E before; he spent two seasons racing with Mahindra between 2016 and 2018, winning three races before making a one-off appearance for them when Pascal Wehrlein was unable to contest the Diriyah ePrix.

The options are wide open for the Swede at McLaren, which is why Brown was eager to get him tied down to a new deal.

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“We’re in a great position with Felix and we’re confident, as he has done, he can win in either so we’re like ‘let’s lock him down and then let’s see who’s the best other Formula E or best other IndyCar driver we can get,” explained the American.

Rosenqvist currently sits eighth in the Drivers’ Standings in IndyCar, while team-mate Patricio O’Ward is fourth on a win and two podiums.