McLaren confirms Bird Formula E signing

NEOM McLaren has confirmed that Sam Bird will replace Rene Rast at the team for its second Formula E season.

Bird joins Jake Hughes in an all-British lineup for the team which debuted in the 2022-23 season after taking over the back-to-back championship-winning Mercedes entry. The move comes after Bird’s departure from Jaguar TCS Racing, his seat there being taken by Nick Cassidy.

“I’m super excited to get going with the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team. Becoming part of a team with so much heritage and prestige as the McLaren Racing family feels special,” said Bird. “We know there is some work to do ahead of Season 10, to ensure we get to where we want to be, which is at the front of the Formula E pack.


“It feels great to be part of the team and I can’t wait to kick off the season preparations. I’m super motivated and driven to deliver success with the team in Season 10.”

Bird’s resume boasts a second-placed finish in the 2013 GP2 season,an FIA World Endurance Championship title in the LMP2 class with G-Drive Racing in 2015, and a runner-up finish in the GTE class with Ferrari a year later, as well as stints as a test driver for the Williams and Mercedes Formula 1 teams.

Bird (left) will take the seat vacated by Rene Rast (right). Alastair Staley/Motorsport Images

But it’s in Formula E where Bird has spent the majority of his top-level career. He has competed in every season of Formula E, and sits joint second on the series’ all-time entry list with 114 races entered, just two behind Lucas di Grassi. In that time he’s notched up 11 race victories (third overall) and had a best championship finish of third in the 2017-18 campaign.

He made his category debut with Virgin Racing, remaining with the team for six seasons as it morphed into DS Virgin and eventually Envision Racing. He moved to Jaguar for 2020, where he remained until the 2022-23 season finale.

It’s that experience that Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing and team principal, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, believes will help propel the team forward.

“It’s great to be able to share the news that Sam will be joining the team for Season 10, alongside Jake,” he said. “Sam is a proven force in Formula E, as well as other categories of racing, and his experience and determination will fuel the team ahead of an exciting season to come.

“As soon as the deal was done, his first question to me was when he could come into the office to start the preparations for Season 10 – this clearly shows his hunger and commitment to making Season 10 a success for the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team.

“Having both Sam and Jake on board has already instilled confidence in the team.”

Mclaren Racing CEO Zak Brown added: ““It is a pleasure to welcome Sam to the McLaren Racing family. Throughout his time in Formula E, Sam has proven himself to be an impressive talent, and we are eager to leverage his experience and expertise to help bring the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team further success in Season 10.

“Alongside Jake, I’m confident that we have one of the strongest pairings on the Formula E grid. Bring on Season 10!”

Story originally appeared on Racer