Formula E’s fourth season is just round the corner, and with the public counting down the days until red lights go out in Hong Kong, we analyse each lineup – where we see a lot of familiar faces and some new drivers joining the series.
Three-time Formula E team champions are one of the two teams – along with Audi – to maintain both drivers who started the series’ first ever race in 2014.
Season 2 champion Sébastien Buemi comes off a disappointing season finale in Montreal, and will surely go all in on conquering the championship once again, as we have seen on previous occasions. He is a smart driver behind the wheel and his domination in the first half of S3 – he won five out of six races – is a clear sign of Buemi’s understanding of the fully-electric championship.
Nico Prost will again team up with the Swiss driver. Having won three races in the series’ history, Prost might not have always been fighting at the top; but has always shown a strong consistency un scoring points, which were vital to giving his team three crowns in the Teams’ Championship. His rather unsatisfactory third season could be banished to history if Prost finds good pace in the Season 4 car.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
With Audi fully taking over this season, a massive growth in terms of performance is expected for the German team.
Season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi stays on the team, not only to defend his championship, but to fight for the Teams’ one as well. The Brazilian’s strength in the Montreal season finale, proved the quality of driver he is; leaving no doubts that di Grassi is a clear candidate to win the title again in Season 4.
Daniel Abt has recently become an Audi factory driver, and will take part in his fourth consecutive season with the German outfit. He has been a key player in helping the team score points and victories; however, he is still winless. If he finds great pace, it could be just a matter of a few races until we see the young German on the top step of the podium.
The Indian team will never forget their third season in the series. Attempting to repeat and improve last season’s feat, the team retains both drivers.
Nick Heidfeld might have not won a Formula E race yet, but his performances have been undeniably good. The German scored a number of podiums last season and fought hard at the front, being a massive help for the team as they finished third in the standings. He is likely to win his first Formula E race if the team performs as brilliantly as they did last season.
Felix Rosenqvist came, saw, and conquered. His early first ever pole position in the season’s second round was a clear statement that the Swede was here to stay. His win in Berlin, in addition to the number of podiums he scored, make Rosenqvist a fantastic asset for the Indian team, as they head into their fourth season.
DS Virgin Racing
The British squad enters Formula E’s fourth season with an all-British lineup. Race winner Sam Bird and New York ePrix pole sitter Alex Lynn aim to take their team to the glory it has been awaiting.
Bird’s back-to-back wins in the New York City double header were a clear proof of the Brit’s skills behind the wheel. He is back for his fourth season in the series, aiming to win a title he has been fighting for since day one. The Formula E public is aware of Bird’s talent, and with a perfectly set up car this season, he could be able to achieve more than he ever has before.
Alex Lynn impressed everyone when he qualified on pole position for the first round of the New York ePrix. His race results that weekend might not show what the young Brit is capable of behind the wheel; but a successful career in junior series and endurance racing make Lynn a complete and promising driver in any series he races in. And Formula E will hopefully not be the exception.
Chinese team Techeetah put on a great show in their first ever Formula E season. They secured their first victory in the season finale with a win by Jean-Éric Vergne in Canada – he now teams up with endurance star André Lotterer to keep chasing those brilliant results.
French driver Vergne has been an impressive qualifier since his first ever race in Formula E, but his bad luck to lose race wins had become an issue he was desperately trying to solve. Season 3 was his time to shine: not only he was able to finish on the podium many times, but also won the last race of the season, ticking off the win from the list. Now the Frenchman is eager to win the championship, faithful that his team has the tools to make this happen.
Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner André Lotterer makes his series début. The German is an established star in the racing world, having found success not only in endurance racing, but also in single seaters, being one of Japan’s Super Formula’s most well-known drivers. His Formula E effort is a new challenge for him, as he enters a new chapter on his career, taking a step into electric racing.
Entering their fourth season in the series, Monaco-based team Venturi present what seems to be their strongest lineup to date and one of the most competitive ones on the grid.
Season 3 rookie Maro Engel struggled in the first half of the season, but later showed a considerable improvement behind the wheel of the Formula E car. The German’s second effort in the series should certainly be stronger, with him having a bigger understanding of what it will take to help his team to the top positions in the standings.
Formula E welcomes DTM star Edoardo Mortara, Engel’s fellow Mercedes driver in the German championship. The Swiss-born Italian will surely be one to watch, as he brings a wealth of experience and renown to the grid.
The American squad’s fourth effort in the series aims to leave behind last season’s results, with a promising lineup that combines experience and strength.
Jérôme d’Ambrosio remains with the team he made his Formula E début with, and with whom he has won two races. The Belgian knows he has the potential to perform at the top of the pile, and with a more reliable and competitive car, he should be able to achieve the glory he is hungry for.
Neel Jani makes his Formula E début, as the all-electric series becomes the ninth championship the Swiss ace takes part in. Jani’s experience will be key for the American outfit, and there are a lot of expectations on what the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans winner will do behind the wheel.
After taking over NextEV, NIO retains rising star Oliver Turvey and welcomes Italian driver Luca Filippi.
Turvey has shown throughout his Formula E journey that he has bags of potential, and that he still has a lot more to give. After topping the testing standings twice in the off-season, the Brit and his team are hopeful that this could be Turvey’s year in the fully-electric championship. There are no doubts that the 30 year-old has the pace and the skill; and with a well performing car, he can achieve a lot in the series.
Filippi, on the other hand, is new to the Formula E world, but brings a wealth of experience in single-seaters. His GP2 and IndyCar efforts, including one appearance in the prestigious Indy 500, speak for the Italian’s speed and skill. As has been proven by other rookies in the past, getting to grips with the Formula E car might seem tough at first, but once one knows how to handle it, magic can happen.
After impressing in their first Formula E effort, Jaguar Racing is back, aiming to claim podiums and wins with an intriguing, strong lineup.
Mitch Evans is one of those drivers who can go the extra mile with a car that might not be the best in the field. His results in Mexico, and three races scoring points in a row, show the Kiwi’s enormous talent behind the wheel.
Teaming up with the New Zealanderis Season 1 champion Nelson Piquet Jr., who moves to the British team, after three seasons at NextEV (now NIO). His move means a lot for Jaguar, as the German-born Brazilian is one of the most experienced drivers on the Formula E grid. And likewise for him, as it shows the large amount of trust he has in what his new team can do in Season 4.
MS & AD Andretti
Andretti was the last team to confirm their driver lineup. And although one of its two drivers has been confirmed for just one race, by no means does the team lack experience behind the wheel.
Antonio Felix da Costa will continue at Andretti, aiming to turn luck to his side, after a disappointing first season with the American team. He has shown several times in Formula E what he can do at the wheel, including a race win in 2015. If Andretti has a reliable car, the Portuguese could easily occupy the top positions again.
Former F1 driver and current WEC star Kamui Kobayashi has been confirmed at Andretti for Hong Kong. Though it is still unsure whether he will continue for the rest of the season, it is certain that the Japanese driver has lots of experience and versatility in racing, and is a major gain for the American squad.