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McLaren is a good customer within the Renault-Nissan alliance. After using Losange engines in Formula 1 (until the end of the 2020 season), it is this time towards Nissan that he turns to motorize his future electric single-seaters. Taking over Mercedes’ license on the starting grid of the Formula E world championship, McLaren saw fit to trust an experienced manufacturer, rather than seeking to develop an electric motor and its entire electronic environment at the heart of its own. a series of specialists.
In this context, McLaren will not have the status of “constructor”, and will not be entitled to private tests. But it thus saves a good part of its budget, and benefits from the experience of a brand that has been involved in the series for 4 years, and even for 8 years if we consider the technical team which previously operated under the colors of Renault, which Nissan took over.
=> What we already know about the 2023 Formula E season
A win-win deal
If McLaren will benefit from Nissan’s experience in Formula E, the latter will also benefit from the presence on the track of its new client. “Our partnership with McLaren Racing will be powerful as the association will inspire collaboration and knowledge sharing,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan COO. “It is true that over the last few seasons we have often seen the customer teams and their suppliers at the forefront, because Formula E is a discipline where the exploitation of data is essential for performance. In other words , having the data of four cars instead of two is a great advantage.
As most of the technical elements are fixed for the season, the only lever for progress is in the electronic programming of the cars, the “software” of which can evolve as each team wishes and at any time. The more data the teams collect, the more they can refine their race strategies, progress in energy management and therefore in lap performance. We saw it during the 2017-2018 season, when Jean-Éric Vergne was crowned champion aboard a Techeetah equipped with a Renault engine, but also last season and again this year with the frequent domination of Mercedes. and Venturis, powered by the same powertrain.
For McLaren, choosing the engine of a team already present in the championship was then almost a must, especially since next year’s cars, the “Gen3” will be 100% new. “As we shape the team for its first season in Formula E, we are naturally looking for the best technical partners,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. Nissan has proven its knowledge, know-how and commitment over the past few years, and we are confident that this collaboration will bring great success to both parties. »
The trials have started
For Nissan, as for the other manufacturers involved, next season’s cars have just been delivered to them. The first private tests have just started, and if Nissan will possibly be able to discreetly test McLaren drivers under next season’s transfer window, the British manufacturer can only do simulators.
Nothing has yet been formalized regarding next year’s drivers, either from Nissan or McLaren. noises give Sébastien Buemi leaving Nissan for Envision Racing, while Frenchman Théo Pourchairewho has already taken the wheel of the car on a trial basis, could replace him if he does not find an outlet in Formula 1 for 2023.
As it concerns McLaren, at least one of the two drivers will come from the current championship holders, another condition to hope to be in the game from the first races. Note that the Gen3 will run for the first time in public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which will take place in England next weekend. Nick Heidfeld will drive a Mahindra M9 Electro for the occasion during the famous hill climb.
Text: Didier Laurent
The British McLaren team, which is entering Formula E for the first time for the 2022-23 season, has signed a partnership with the Japanese brand Nissan. The agreement concerns the supply of engines and the sharing of data.