Official: McLaren confirm Rene Rast's Formula E exit as Bird move gets closer
Rene Rast will no longer compete for McLaren in the 2024 Formula E season. As the British team confirmed on Tuesday morning, the German will leave the racing team. Already several weeks ago e-Formula.news reported on the expected departure of Rast, whose successor, according to our information, will be the former Jaguar driver Sam Bird.
With a series of social media posts, McLaren bid farewell to Rene Rast, who had helped to shape the first season of the English squad in Formula E. Driving alongside Jake Hughes, Rast scored a podium in Diriyah but failed to finish higher than 13th in the overall standings.
"Danke, Rene," McLaren wrote on a collage of photos of Rast. "We can confirm that Rene Rast 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 Rene the very best in his future endeavours."
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For his part, Rast shared the post on his Instagram story, writing, "Thank you for the incredible journey. I will miss you all."
Rast looks back on grueling season with McLaren
For Rast, the 2023 season, his second full in Formula E, was accompanied by bad luck and mishaps. After his podium result in Saudi Arabia, he only finished in the top 10 in Cape Town and Sao Paulo but subsequently remained pointless. "Often luck was not on our side, it has to be said," he explained the lull in results to e-Formula.news after the season finale in London.
"Often we made driver errors, often we had technical failures, often we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I can name ten examples, such as when there was a technical failure while we were in third place in Rome or, also in third place in London, I made contact with Pascal (Wehrlein). There were many things that didn't work in our favor - especially in the second half of the season."
Rast replacement Sam Bird ready to go
Despite not being invovled in a Formula E program any longer, Rast should still have a busy schedule with BMW M in 2024. In addition to a program in DTM, where Rast won three titles between 2017 and 2020, he is also a member of BMW's LMDh team. There, he is currently preparing the Munich-based company's endurance racing return in a testing program. According to information from e-Formula.news, former Jaguar works driver Sam Bird is to take his place at McLaren.
The Briton achieved good results for Envision (then: Virgin Racing), especially in the first years of Formula E, before he switched to the "big cats". There, however, he was clearly overshadowed by his teammate Mitch Evans. Bird's transfer to McLaren is said to have already been completed, with only the team's official confirmation of the new driver pairing still pending. It should follow in a few days or weeks.
Overview: Formula E transfer rumors for the 2024 season
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|ABT Cupra||Nico Müller||Kelvin van der Linde/Adrien Tambay|
|Avalanche Andretti||Jake Dennis||Felipe Drugovich|
|DS Penske||Jean-Eric Vergne||Stoffel Vandoorne|
|Envision Racing||Sebastien Buemi||Robin Frijns|
|Jaguar TCS Racing||Mitch Evans||Nick Cassidy|
|Mahindra Racing||Lucas di Grassi||tbd|
|Maserati MSG Racing||Edo Mortara||Max Günther|
|Neom McLaren||Jake Hughes||Sam Bird|
|Nio 333||Dan Ticktum||Sergio Sette Camara|
|Nissan||Sacha Fenestraz||Oliver Rowland|
|TAG Heuer Porsche||Pascal Wehrlein||Antonio Felix da Costa|
bold = official confirmation