Formula E Season 4 preview - five rookies on the starting grid
The fourth season of the FIA Formula E Championship will start this weekend with a double-header event at the streets of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong ePrix will feature two races on Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3, with twenty drivers from ten teams on the starting grid.
The season features 14 races, with final double-header event scheduled for July 28-29, 2018, in Montreal. Between Hong Kong and Montreal, other hosting cities would be Marrakesh, Santiago de Chile, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Zürich and New York (two races).
Ten same teams will participate in Season 4
There are many changes among teams and drivers on the official entry list for the 2017/2018 Formula E season. Ten teams will again take part in the championship, four of them with new names due to sponsorship changes and manufacturer involvement.
Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport cosmetically changed a name to Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler, due to Audi’s increased involvement in the team. Dragon Racing dropped the Faraday Future from its name while NextEV NIO Formula E shortened its name to just NIO Formula E Team. MS Amlin Andretti became MS&AD Andretti Formula E Team.
Three leading teams retained drivers
Whilst the changes among the teams are cosmetical, driver changes are significantly bigger, although three leading teams from 2016 retained their line-ups: Renault e.dams (Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost), Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler (Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt) and Mahindra Racing (Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld).
DS Virgin Racing, the fourth-placed team in 2016, signed Alex Lynn as a replacement for Jose Maria Lopez. Sam Bird will stay with the team for the fourth year in a row. Inaugural Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. has moved to Panasonic Jaguar Racing, to drive alongside Mitch Evans. As a replacement for Piquet, NIO Formula E Team hired former IndyCar driver Luca Filippi. His teammate would be Oliver Turvey.
Two FIA WEC champions as Formula E rookies
Dragon Racing also has a new driver, the 2016 FIA WEC champion Neel Jani, who entered the championship to drive next to Jerome D’Ambrosio, who is driving for Dragon Racing since the inaugural FE season. One more former FIA WEC champion joined Formula E grid. Andre Lotterer joined Techeetah, replacing Stephane Sarrazin. Jean-Eric Vergne stayed with Techeeath.
Venturi Formula E Team retained Maro Engel and added one more former DTM driver to line-up – Edoardo Mortara. One more Formula E rookie in Hong Kong would be Kamui Kobayashi, who joined Andretti Autosport. The team retained Antonio Felix da Costa.
Last year, the Hong Kong ePrix was also the opening round of the championship, with one race only. Sebastien Buemi clinched a victory, ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Nick Heidfeld.
2017/2018 Formula E entry list
|Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1||Lucas di Grassi|
|DS Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird|
|Panasonic Jaguar Racing||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.|
|Venturi FE Team||4||Edoardo Mortara|
|Dragon Racing||6||Neel Jani|
|Renauld e.dams||8||Nico Prost|
|NIO FE Team||16||Oliver Turvey|
|Mahindra Racing||19||Felix Rosenqvist|
|MS&AD Andretti FE Team||27||Kamui Kobayashi|
|28||Antonio Felix da Costa|
Photos: Formula E,