The Woking-based McLaren Formula E Team has confirmed René Rast's departure following a single season with the squad. This year, the German driver returned to Formula E with McLaren for the British team's first season in the all-electric series, and he helped them to their lone podium (and their first ever) in the championship. In Diriyah, during the third round of the season back in January, Rast finished in third place. According to the team, the rumours about his departure from McLaren were true. After Sam Bird left Jaguar, there was speculation that he might replace Jake Hughes next season. Rast will likely continue to prioritise his DTM season with his BMW LMDh duties for the next season. Overall, season nine was a huge letdown for the three-time DTM champion after a promising start.
McLaren On Rene Rast Departure
In a statement following Rast's departure from the Woking squad, McLaren said: "Rene has been an integral part of the team’s successes and learnings as its first season as the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team. Rene has taken the difficult decision to pursue other opportunities, and the team fully supports his decision. We can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for the team over the past year.
We can confirm that @ReneRastRacing will not be racing for the Team in 2024.
After a year of incredible memories, including our first podium in Formula E, everyone associated with the team wishes René the very best in his future endeavours.
— NEOM McLaren FE (@McLarenFE) August 15, 2023
"Having said that, the team has been working in the background to secure the best possible driver line-up for Season 10, and we are excited to announce the full driver line-up for the 2023/24 season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in due course. Thank you again, Rene – you will be missed."
Rast, hailing from Minden, had his first debut in the series during the 2015/16 season. Subsequently, he had an extended stint with Audi at the Season 6 finale in Berlin, which included six races over a duration of nine days. This performance ultimately secured him a permanent position as a driver one year later. He achieved his first Formula E accolade in his home country of Germany, exhibiting a remarkable and assertive approach to driving.
Sam Bird to Likely Join McLaren
Over the course of his three-year stay with Jaguar, Bird enjoyed significant success, including two race wins, seven podium finishes, and a total of 233 points. After the introduction of GEN3 technology, the British driver scored a respectable eighth-place position, receiving much recognition for his crucial role in the team's success in the domain of Formula E. In Diriyah for Race 1 of the Formula E season, Bird made his 100th career start.
In Hyderabad, he was involved in a collision with teammate Mitch Evans, who was also gunning for the top spot. In the city of Jakarta, where Evans occupied the seventh position, the two individuals encountered another occurrence that resulted in a significant time loss. This event perhaps had a decisive role in determining the outcome of both the Drivers' and Teams' World Championships. The mood inside the paddock of London was characterised by a sense of speculation and eager expectation as the culmination of the Formula E championship drew near. There was much conjecture regarding Bird before Jaguar officially confirmed his departure, with suspicions he may join NEOM McLaren for Season 10.