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Red lights out: Season 7 kicks off in Diriyah

Season 7 kicks off this Friday and before red lights go out in Diriyah, it is time to take a look at who is driving where, what could be expected from each team and driver, and what this season might be all about.

This Friday 26th February, Formula E's seventh season will kick off in the streets of Diriyah. The Saudi Arabia double-header will be the series first ever night event in a season that currently has eight races confirmed to take place between the months of February and June. 

Season 7 will be Formula E's first ever season as a world championship, a status that granted by the FIA back in 2019. Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa has highlighted the prestige it will have to whoever clinches victory by the end of the season to become the first ever Formula E world champion: "It’s the first World Championship season and I am more motivated than ever, because who wouldn’t want to be the first Formula E World Champion?"

Antonio Felix da Costa will look to defend his and DS Techeetah's titles in an ever so challenging field. He comes into season on the back of a superb title-winning campaign where he obtained three victories, in addition to three podium finishes that paved the way for the Portuguese to clinch his first ever title of his Formula E career. 

Formula E organisers are optimist this season could be completed with no unexpected events in between, after the previous season had a five-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was finished with a six-race event in Berlin Tempelhof. 

"I don’t think anyone could have foreseen what the last year would be like and certainly not for how long the pandemic would last. The situation is still severe and the fact that we can go racing is nothing but a testament to success of Formula E’s rigorous protocols to keep everyone safe", observed da Costa ahead of the season opener.


The Season 7 grid

A total of 12 teams will be contesting in this edition of the fully-electric championship, and some of the lineups bring new faces to the grid. In fact, three drivers will make their Formula E debut: Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti), Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing), and Norman Nato (Venturi). 

Drivers who had taken part in the series on previous occasions are also making their comeback. Pascal Wehrlein, who did five races for Mahindra last season has now joined Porsche; while Tom Blomqvist, who raced for Andretti and Jaguar in Seasons 4 and 6 respectively, will have a full-time seat at NIO. 

Sam Bird, who had been racing with Virgin ever since Formula E's very first race, has moved to Jaguar. This switch might feel strange for the series' fans, as Bird has gone to become one of Formula E's most recognizable drivers in his purple Envision Virgin overalls. 

DTM star Rene Rast has had various appearances in the series but for the first time in his career he will have a full-time seat. The Audi driver had already joined the German outfit back in the Berlin six-race event, replacing Daniel Abt, and will team up for the whole season with Lucas di Grassi. 

Alex Lynn had also joined Mahindra Racing in Berlin last year and will continue to race for the Indian team in Season 7. On the other side of the garage will be Alexander Sims, who switched from BMW to Mahindra ahead of this edition of the championship. 

Over the course of the seasons, Formula E has become more and more challenging on track, with action-packed races, nail-biting moments, and unexpected results to come out after each round. This season will likely be no exception, with strong lineups fighting each other to take the world title. 

What can be expected? As said previously, da Costa will undoubtedly defend his title, while teammate Vergne, known for his hunger for victory, will fight back to clinch his third crown. The Nissan e.dams drivers could definitely be up in the fight too, as their results in the past seasons have put them on the verge of title definitions. The Mercedes duo will not be far behind either, coming from a third-place finish in the Teams' Championship. 

Di Grassi will aim to go back to winning ways, now pairing up with Rast whose vast experience and success in DTM will be put up to the challenge in Formula E. Maximilian Guenther, who has had stellar performances in his two seasons in the series should be one to keep an eye on. 

The Jaguar and Porsche pairs are undoubtedly two teams to watch. Virgin and Mahindra are two teams that have had stellar performances and are always up for big drives on track. Venturi is a team that has gone from less to more over the course of the years and will aim to continue improving and succeeding in the championship. 

While NIO and Dragon –now Dragon Penske, are two outfits that have not been able to match the others' pace in the past seasons, it is key to keep an eye on these teams as they have had surprising drives and could be up for a shocker in Season 7. 

Car #DriverTeam
11Lucas di GrassiAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler
33Rene RastAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler
28Maximilian GuentherBMW i Andretti Autosport
27Jake DennisBMW i Andretti Autosport
6Nico MuellerDragon Penske Autosport
7Sergio Sette CamaraDragon Penske Autosport
13Antonio Felix da CostaDS Techeetah
25Jean-Eric VergneDS Techeetah
4Robin FrijnsEnvision Virgin Racing
37Nick CassidyEnvision Virgin Racing
20Mitch EvansJaguar Racing
10Sam BirdJaguar Racing
29Alexander SimsMahindra Racing
94Alex LynnMahindra Racing
5Stoffel VandoorneMercedes-EQ Formula E Team
17Nyck de VriesMercedes-EQ Formula E Team
8Oliver TurveyNIO 333 Formula E Team
88Tom BlomqvistNIO 333 Formula E Team
23Sebastien BuemiNissan e.dams
22Oliver RowlandNissan e.dams
48Edoardo MortaraVenturi Racing
71Norman NatoVenturi Racing
36Andre LottererPorsche Formula E
99Pascal WehrleinPorsche Formula E

Andrea Perilli

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