McLaren boss Zak Brown points out two areas for Formula E to improve

Formula E continues to grow but has a long way to go to increase the size of the championship

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown has pinpointed two areas in which Formula E can improve, including a consistent race calendar being the biggest issues the series faces as it looks to grow the championship.

Formula E is in its 10th season and 36 different venues have hosted events since its inception. However, there is yet to be clear consistency over the majority of the calendar from year to year.

From 2023 to 2024, Hyderabad, Cape Town, Jakarta and Rome were all dropped from the schedule for example. Berlin is the only city to host a Formula E race in every season whilst the Monaco E-Prix appears to have become a staple on the calendar at the end of April, or start of May.

“I think we need to have consistency of a race calendar and date equity, location equity, that’s a big area of opportunity,” said Brown when asked by Total-Motorsport.com how to get more people watching Formula E.

“I think Formula E does a great job digitally. You can always improve on your media and broadcast schedule, so with it being a young series, it still has an element of trial and error and growing.

“From a fan standpoint, the racing is spectacular. I’m very confident and comfortable with the direction of the technology. The teams are amazing, great manufacturers, so the product is awesome.

“Now we just need to get more people watching it. When people know a date and location, they kind of have a solid reason to go back next year and knowing when the race is, is important. Then more consistent media property relationships, I think those are the two areas I would focus on.”

Brown impressed by electric development

The 2024 Monaco E-Prix weekend was very positive for Formula E as the GEN3 Evo car was released to the public, which will be raced from next season in 2025, and Jaguar joined Nissan in becoming the second manufacturer to commit to GEN4 in 2026.

McLaren are one of Formula E‘s newer teams after they took over Mercedes from the end of 2022 and Brown thinks the series is still showcasing the progression of electrification.

“Motorsport has always been about technology and development, especially Formula E around electrification,” said Brown. “Battery technology in particular, if you look back at what a mobile phone use to be and now you can get them as watches. That’s exactly the kind of progression, that’s ultimately led by Formula E on the development side.

Jeff Dodds [Formula E CEO] shared performance figures that the next generation of cars will have and that will be stunning. So you have to start thinking about how to actually put that amount of power down as far as the car, the tyres just with that serious amount of power. That’s exciting and I think electrification is going to develop at a very fast pace.”

Jake Hughes in action at the 2024 Monaco E-Prix | Formula E
Jake Hughes in action at the 2024 Monaco E-Prix | Formula E

McLaren in Formula E for long term

McLaren currently run a Nissan powertrain and are seventh in the teams’ championship after a difficult Monaco E-Prix, where Sam Bird injured his hand in first practice and was replaced by British teenager Taylor Bernard.

Bernard is likely to substitute for Bird at the next event in Berlin on May 11-12 whilst Jake Hughes is yet to build on his rookie campaign from 2023. Nevertheless, Brown is still happy with McLaren‘s involvement and competitiveness

“It’s been exciting,” added Brown. “To get our first win with Sam in Brazil, especially the way he won it, was awesome. Any time we commit to a motorsport, it’s long term, and we don’t underestimate competition.

“I think the competition that is created is as tough as F1, IndyCar – those top level motorsports with the best drivers and best teams. We are making good progress. It’s so competitive that if you have a bad weekend, you can swing up and down the points table pretty quickly.

Formula E has been brilliant for our fans, our employees and partners. Between this and Extreme E, we have an electric racing platform. We have a great team that know how to win races and championships, so now we just need to execute.”

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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