René Rast is keen to race in the Formula E World Championship again, despite reports that he’s leaving the series.

Ahead of last weekend’s 2022/23 season finale in London, it was reported by The Race that Rast had agreed not to complete a second season with NEOM McLaren, opening up a seat at the Woking-based team.

That seat has been linked to Sam Bird, who confirmed on Monday that he’d be departing Jaguar TCS Racing. Bird is believed to have secured a seat on the grid for 2024, with many pondering whether he’s struck a deal with McLaren.

Rast is reportedly going to focus on his BMW commitments next year, which will see him compete in the World Endurance Championship in a WRT-run hypercar, alongside a campaign in DTM.

However, when asked by Motorsport Week if the second race in London was his last in Formula E, Rast smiled and stressed that he hoped it wasn’t the end of his career in the series.

“I don’t hope so. Let’s see,” Rast told Motorsport Week last Sunday after the final race of the season.

The German driver only actually returned to Formula E at the start of season nine, with him having sat out 2022. Rast originally left the sport when ABT departed at the conclusion of season seven, before returning with McLaren for the start of the Gen3 era.

He’s enjoyed his returning campaign and remains adamant that Formula E is “one of the toughest” categories in the world.

“Definitely. I did. Yeah. And Formula E is still one of the toughest racing championships in the world,” insisted Rast, when asked if he enjoyed being back in Formula E.

“And I enjoyed working with professionals, with the team, with the professional drivers. So it’s been a big joy, even though it can be frustrating at times, but I still enjoyed it.”

The second half of Rast’s 2023 campaign was quite disappointing on the whole; however, the same can be said for his rookie team-mate Jake Hughes.

McLaren made an excellent first impression in the opening rounds of their debut season, which saw Hughes claim pole in the third race of the year in Diriyah. Whilst the British driver failed to convert pole into a podium in Saudi Arabia, Rast was on hand to finish third.

Rast’s podium in round three was McLaren’s only rostrum of the entire season, with the side having often shown better one lap pace than race pace. Their efficiency was their biggest downfall, as Rast and Hughes struggled to make any progress when qualifying towards the back.

This was the case once again in the season finale, in what were treacherous conditions. Rast’s group time in qualifying was only good enough for 13th on the grid; however, had he been in the other group session then his time would’ve been enough to progress to the duels.

He made up just the one place during what could be his final race in the championship, with qualifying having been a “tough one to swallow”.

“Today my qualifying lap time I did was not too bad,” Rast reflected on Sunday.

“We were just in group A, which meant I was starting P7, or I was seventh in the group. If I would have done that lap time in group B, I would have been into the duels, which Norman [Nato] did. I did basically the same lap time as Norman. He started fourth, I started 13th.

“And that’s just because I was in a different group. So sometimes you’re just not at the right end of the spectrum. Which meant that we didn’t collect any points today, unfortunately. So, yeah, it was a tough one to swallow.”

The opening race of the final weekend of the season at the ExCeL Centre had started very well for Rast after he qualified fifth, something which allowed him to get amongst the fight at the front. He sat in the top three for the bulk of the race, before a collision with Pascal Wehrlein damaged both cars. He finished 14th as a result.

Both races combined marked a “difficult” weekend for McLaren, which he recognises could’ve been significantly better.

“Difficult for us. I think yesterday we could have had a very good day,” said the 36-year-old.

“I think I finished fifth in qualifying and was running P2, p3 in the race until the contact with Pascal, which then obviously resulted in a non-scoring result.”

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