McLaren Racing, the same entity which manages the McLaren Formula One team, has signed an option expressing interest in entering Formula E for the start of its Gen 3 era in season nine.

McLaren is already involved in Formula E, with its sister company McLaren applied technologies (MAT) designing the batteries that have been used in Formula E’s Gen 2 car. With Williams Advanced Engineering winning the tender to design the Gen 3 batteries, this frees up McLaren to enter the series without any conflicts of interest.

“We’ve been closely observing Formula E for some time and monitoring the series’ progress and future direction.” Explained McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown. “The opportunity to take an option on an entry and the completion of the McLaren Applied supplier contract with the FIA at the end of Gen2, gives us the necessary time to decide if Formula E is right for McLaren as a future competition platform.”

The news comes a month after German manufacturers BMW and Audi both announced that they would be pulling out of the championship at the conclusion of season seven. So far only Mahindra Racing has committed to participating in Gen 3, although several manufacturer teams have released statements emphasising their long-term commitment to the series.

With a maximum of 12 team entries allowed on the grid, it is anticipated that if McLaren chose to go forwards with their option to enter then it would be in place of the departing Audi Sport team, with Andretti currently expected to continue without the works involvement of BMW.

“McLaren Racing securing an option to join the Formula E grid from Gen3 is testament to the ongoing impact of our sport.” Said Formula E’s co-founder and chairman Alejandro Agag in a press release announcement. “With some of the most famous names in motorsport already competing in Formula E, we are thrilled that McLaren Racing has decided to examine a potential entry to Formula E.”

“We are delighted that McLaren Racing, one of the most iconic names in motorsport, has secured an option to join Formula E.” Added Formula E’s CEO Jamie Reigle. “McLaren has contributed immensely to Formula E’s success as suppliers of our Gen2 battery systems.

“We now look forward to working with McLaren Racing to demonstrate the sporting and commercial potential of Formula E and devise ways to elevate the series to a new level, as part of their evaluation.”

McLaren’s statement on their website concludes: “McLaren Racing will spend 2021 continuing to evaluate the feasibility of entering the series against a range of established criteria before deciding whether to proceed.” What exactly this criteria entails remains to be seen.