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McLaren’s Sam Bird ruled out of E-prix, replaced by Barnard

NEOM McLaren driver Sam Bird has been ruled out of the Monaco E-Prix this weekend, hampering his challenge for the Formula E (FE) championship

The British driver crashed into the wall at turn two (known as the Saint-Devote corner) during the first free practice session ahead of the main race. 

Bird crashed into the run-off zone at the end of the start-finish straight a few minutes before the end of the session, smashing his front right wheel into the track barrier.

According to his team, Bird sustained a hand injury and will be replaced by their reserve driver, fellow British driver Taylor Barnard. This is Bird’s second hand injury, after he crashed during the 2023 London E-Prix that ruled him out of the final round of the Seoul E-Prix. 

“The NEOM McLaren Formula E Team can confirm that Sam Bird will not be participating for the remainder of the Monaco E-Prix,” the team said in a statement.

“Following his on-track incident, there are signs of a potential hand injury, which needs further medical attention. Sam will be going to hospital for an x-ray to help clarify the nature of the injury.”

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As a result, and pending approval from the FIA, Taylor Barnard will be stepping in for Sam for the remainder of the event, driving the #8 car for the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team,” the statement continued.

Barnard topped the results of the FE rookie practice session with McLaren at Misano, continuing his impressive run as a reserve driver while he simultaneously competes in the Formula Two feeder championship.

NEOM McLaren reserve driver Taylor Barnard replaces Sam Bird for the Monaco E-Prix weekend. Picture: Supplied

Monaco is considered a jewel destination in motorsport, for its reputation as a glitzy, uber-wealthy location that is home to some of the world’s elite, famous and most wealthy. This includes some of the drivers on the FE grid. 

The race is particularly a home race for Andretti’s Norman Nato, who was eighth in the first practice session, behind teammate and defending champion Jake Dennis in fifth place. 

The lights go out for the Monaco E-Prix at 3 PM CAT and will be broadcast for Africa on Supersport channel 206. 

By Mpho Rantao