McLaren's Taylor Barnard on his Formula E debut in Monaco

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McLaren's Taylor Barnard on his Formula E debut in Monaco

The Norwich-born racer was called up to replace an injured Sam Bird.

Monaco Review 5

Formula E gained a new rookie at the weekend when 19-year-old Taylor Barnard debuted for NEOM McLaren. Stepping in for an injured Sam Bird, the Brit managed to finish the Monaco E-Prix in 14th having started at the back of the pack. 

It’s not yet been confirmed by the NEOM McLaren team if Bird will be well enough for the upcoming Berlin double-header. In a statement over the weekend, the team confirmed that Bird had broken one of the bones in his left hand and will require further treatment when he returns to the UK. 

HANKOOK DEBRIEF: Five things we learned in Monaco

This isn’t the first time Bird has broken his hand, doing so in London during Season 8 of the all-electric championship, too. 


Speaking after making his debut in Monaco, Barnard said that “the number one priority is to make sure that Sam is getting a speedy recovery and wishing him all the best”. 

Barnard has got experience in these GEN3 cars, having taken part in the Misano Rookie Test earlier this month and completed laps for the papaya team during the Valencia pre-season testing. On both occasions, Barnard was the quickest of the rookies, but his Formula E start does now rule him out of the Berlin Rookie Test in May. 

NEWS: McLaren's Barnard best of the rookies in Misano

“The call before free practice was 20 minutes before, so I had to run to FIA’s Race Control, sign on, run back and then quickly go through the run plan,” Barnard continued. “Thrown at the deep end is the first thing that you think of when a situation like this comes up, but I think I adapted to the situation well. 

“Free practice and qualifying was not quite what we wanted, but the race was definitely positive. I stayed out of trouble handling my energy consumption fairly decently. So it's, it's looking quite positive and I'm quite happy.”


The young driver started from the back of the grid, but managed to avoid any big mistakes to climb up the grid and finished a very respectable 14th. 

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: 2024 Monaco E-Prix, Round 8

“It's definitely chaotic as a driver, but I'm quite happy with the result. I was following Jake [Hughes] for most of the race. He was clearing in the way for me most of the time, and I had to kind of take that approach because I didn't know what to expect. I didn't really have a game plan. I was just trying to keep out of trouble and just progress as much as I could!”

Despite supporting a plaster cast, Bird returned back to the Formula E paddock after his hospital visit and was on hand to give the NEOM McLaren rookie some advice. 


“Before the race, he just reassured me that I knew what I was doing. I had the extra tips that I needed.”

A new Formula E record

Aged 19 years and 331 days, it also meant Barnard is now the youngest Formula E driver there has been in the championship’s 10 year history and the first teenager to start a race. The youngest before this was Matthew Brabham who was 20 years and 270 days old when he started the 2014 Putrajaya E-Prix. 

“I actually didn't know that, someone told me earlier,” Barnard said on being a Formula E record holder. “I haven't been on my phone all day – as you can imagine, I've been very busy! 

“What a place to make my debut, here in Monaco. It’s something that I didn't expect to happen. It's a bit bittersweet, obviously because Sam has injured himself but on the bright side, it's a nice place to make my debut.”