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Why Brown 'doubled-down' on Formula E with McLaren

McLaren have entered the electric racing championship in season nine, taking over the Mercedes entry.

Zak Brown says a "reset" and success seen in the Extreme E championship were key drivers behind his decision to enter Formula E. McLaren took over the Mercedes entry for season nine of the all-electric racing series, which began in Mexico City last weekend as their racing portfolio now covers Formula E, Extreme E, Formula 1 and IndyCar. FE has undergone major changes to the cars over the off-season, with the new 'Gen3' design featuring an all-new car with increased power and modified braking systems. Brown believes that a "great opportunity" was presented to McLaren - sweetened by their Extreme E exploits in the debut campaign of the electric rally series.

Mercedes exit was "great opportunity"

"Mercedes was choosing to exit the sport, and there is now Generation 3 so we felt like there's going to be a bit of a reset, but of course we still have a lot to learn," explained Brown ahead of the season-opener in Mexico City. "The opportunity to acquire the team that has won the last two championships - to keep it intact and led by Ian James who led them to those World Championships - was a great opportunity to hit the ground running with an existing team that already knows how to win. "There's a little bit of reset going on, and ultimately we decided to enter because in a very short period of time, we saw how successful Extreme E was for ours fans, our employees and partners and we felt: 'Let's double down' because sustainability is that important to us. "We're very excited to be able to have the Mercedes employees now be McLaren employees. "I think given our history with Mercedes, that was a nice way to transition from the Mercedes family into the McLaren family, so we're excited to work with all the men and women on the racing team."

Brown explains driver choices

Both of the Mercedes drivers from season eight were not retained for season nine at McLaren, as Nyck De Vries headed to F1 with AlphaTauri and reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne moved to the DS Penske squad. In place of the last two champions are Rene Rast and Jake Hughes - the latter a reserve driver for the Mercedes Formula E team. In Mexico, Rast was forced to retire from collision damage while Hughes qualified third and came home fifth in the Nissan-powered car. It is a line-up Brown is happy to have put together. "With Rene, he is a [three-time DTM] champion and is an extremely fast racing driver who is experienced and has been in Formula E [in the past], so we're very happy to get Rene. "Jake has a great history with Mercedes and was simulator and reserve driver, so that was someone who Ian felt he and the engineers knew well and had done a lot of development work and earned his opportunity."

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