Mediabank Formule E


Move to McLaren a no-brainer: 'As a kid I watched Senna'

Move to McLaren a no-brainer: 'As a kid I watched Senna'

13 January - 13:32

After a year's absence, René Rast is back on the Formula E grid. Partly thanks to his three titles in DTM, the German is very popular in his home country. With the new McLaren Formula E team, he aims to prove he is not only an absolute top driver in touring cars and endurance racing but also in formula cars.

Rast is looking upbeat, in the paddock for the Mexican ePrix which will be held on Saturday. The German is looking forward to his second, full season in the electric class, he told GPblog exclusively. "It feels very good to be back. Very excited for the first race weekend. Last year I did a bit of a break from Formula E but still felt like I had a bit of unfinished business in Formula E. Once I heard about the possibility to join McLaren in Formula E, I didn’t have to think about it."


When Rast is asked why McLaren, a big smile appears on his face. "McLaren in racing is a very unique brand, has so much history, it’s so iconic. When I was a kid, I was watching Senna and lots of other very good Formula 1 drivers. It’s a brand with a lot of history, so I am very privileged to be one of the McLaren drivers," said the German.

Recent seasons have shown that the differences in strength in the FE are minimal. McLaren are built on the foundations of the Mercedes FE team, which ceased to exist last winter. At the same time, though, it is a new team. "It's kind of a new team," Rast added. "Most of the guys know each other. We are kind of a customer so we don’t know how competitive we will be. There’s always a risk but I feel the team is on a very high level already, even though lots of things are new. I am very impressed by how they work so I am not concerned on that side."

Battle of the boards

"It’s hard to say in percentage. There’s not much missing I would say. What we are missing right now is the operational side really going into racing and feeling the pressure, performing under pressure," he said.

All in all, Rast is keeping a lid on what is possible this season. "I would be happy if we could fight for podiums. Obviously, winning is still on my list very high but the ultimate goal is to always win the championship. That is the goal for McLaren."

Rast will drive a full season in Formula E and, in the meantime, is also a works driver for BMW, after his year-long tenure with rival Audi came to an end. "I don't know yet which programme I will do with BMW," says Rast. "DTM is still an option, but we haven't been able to talk about it after the new year. Hopefully, we will take a decision soon. Formula E is my priority."

Other classes with McLaren?

Possibly his contract with McLaren will open new doors. For example, the team lets drivers from their own IndyCar programme test drive Formula 1"I haven’t thought about that yet, my main focus is Formula E now. Anything else coming after is not yet in my mind. No, I haven’t talked to Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] yet, we haven’t put a single race lap on the circuit yet so way too early to talk about those things. I think he [Zak] will be here this weekend so maybe I can talk to him after hopefully having a good result."

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