Sam Bird will join fellow Brit Jake Hughes at the Woking-based McLaren Formula E team for Season 10 of the FIA Formula E Championship. Bird, who had been racing for Jaguar TCS Racing but was released at the end of the season, has replaced René Rast and is a welcome boost to the Woking team thanks to his speed and his experience racing in all nine seasons of Formula E. McLaren had a rough season in 2023, the first year of Gen3, due to the lack of energy efficiency in its race car. As a result, the team finished on the podium just once. With Bird on board, the team should be able to move up from this year's disappointing P8 finish in the Constructors' Championship thanks in large part to his wealth of experience and talent.
Formula E: Sam Bird Super Excited to Join McLaren
McLaren joined Formula E at the start of season 9, effectively taking over Mercedes' place after the German manufacturer withdrew after winning back-to-back teams' and drivers' titles with Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne. Bird will be competing alongside Jake Hughes, who renewed his contract with McLaren just last week and is returning for a second year.
The news you've all been waiting for...
Welcome to the Team, @sambirdofficial!
— NEOM McLaren FE (@McLarenFE) August 22, 2023
On joining McLaren, Sam Bird said, “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. 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.”
Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said, “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!”
Formula E: Sam Bird Racing Career
Bird started his career in single-seater racing in 2004 in Formula BMW, where he finished second in 2005. He then competed in Formula Renault and went on to race in multiple seasons of Formula 3 and the GP2 Series before moving on to Formula 1 with teams like Williams Racing and Mercedes AMG Petronas. Additionally, he has participated in the FIA World Endurance Championship since 2014. Noteworthy achievements encompass securing victory in the LMP2 category in 2014 alongside G-Drive Racing, as well as attaining a second-place finish in the LMGTE Pro class with AF Corse in 2016.
Sam Bird has been a participant in the Formula E championship since it began in Season 1. Over the course of those nine seasons, the 36-year-old has amassed an impressive 11 victories, 26 podium finishes, and six Julius Baer Pole Positions, making him one of the most successful drivers on the grid. At the conclusion of the 2022/23 season, he departed from Jaguar TCS Racing following a tenure lasting three seasons.