The NEOM McLaren Formula E Team have finally announced the signing of Sam Bird for season 10, to replace the outgoing René Rast.
It was confirmed by the Woking-based team last week that Rast would be departing after just one season with the side. Bird is a solid replacement for the German, with the British driver having left Jaguar TCS Racing following the conclusion of season nine.
The Formula E veteran spent three seasons with Jaguar prior to his switch to McLaren, which’ll see him partner Jake Hughes in what is an all-British line-up for the British team.
Bird is one of a few drivers to have competed in every season in the all-electric series, meaning he’ll bring an extensive amount of experience to McLaren, who have just finished their first season in the championship.
A change of scenery was needed for Bird, who’s time at Jaguar failed to live up to its expectations. Despite this, he remains as one of the quickest drivers on the grid, as proven in 2023, a year which saw him claim four podiums.
He’s “super excited” to have joined an outfit with “so much heritage and prestige” and is “super motivated” to help McLaren progress to the front of the field.
“I’m super excited to get going with the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team,” Bird said.
“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.”
McLaren’s package proved to be quick over one-lap last season, but it lacked in race trim. Energy efficiency wasn’t their strong point, something which resulted in Rast claiming the team’s only podium in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
They ultimately ended the 2022/23 season P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, a spot they can finish well above if they can improve their race performance. This is where Bird’s experience will be vital, with Team Principal Ian James having revealed how the British driver is super hungry to get started on McLaren’s 2024 preparations.
“It’s great to be able to share the news that Sam will be joining the team for Season 10, alongside Jake,” said James.
“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.”