FIA Formula E season four is set to kick-off next Sunday with Hong Kong ePrix. There are going to be several new faces and, as usual, the season calendar changes drastically on a season that will mark the end of the first era of this series and will be the last one with the current chassis and batteries.
Teams and drivers:
The 2017-18 FIA Formula E season grid will have this look:
Renault e.dams: Nico Prost (#8) and Sébastien Buemi (#9)
The winner of all three Formula E Teams’ Championship held until today will line-up the same drivers that have driven for them since the series were born back in 2014. Season 2 champion and seasons 1 and 3 runner-up Sébastien Buemi will be, again, one of the main contenders to win his second title. Nicolas Prost will partner the Swiss and will try to improve to fight for podiums and wins in a more constant way that he did last season. The team is also the favourite to take another Teams’ Championship in what will be its last season before Nissan takes its place next year.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler: Lucas Di Grassi (#1) and Daniel Abt (#66)
The only team other than Renault e.dams which has always had the same drivers on its cars. The Brazilian driver Lucas Di Grassi will start as Drivers’ Championship title defender and will fight for his second crown next to Daniel Abt, who is yet to win his first race on the series and will have to improve his performance on the team.
Mahindra Racing: Felix Rosenqvist (#19) and Nick Heidfeld (#23)
After winning its first race and having its best performance in season 3, Mahindra Racing will try to repeat or improve this accolade having the same drivers on the team. Felix Rosenqvist, third and rookie of the year last season with one win in Berlin, could be one of the chosen ones to join Di Grassi and Buemi on the fight for the title. The veteran driver Nick Heidfeld will be next to him. He is also expected to fight for bigger things than on the last three seasons.
DS Virgin Racing: Sam Bird (#2) and Alex Lynn (#36)
The British team, powered by Citroen, will start its fourth season with Sam Bird, who has never failed to deliver at least one win per season to the team, as its strongest driver and a title contender. On the other side of the box, Alex Lynn, who already raced for the team in the New York ePrix last season, will make his full-time debut for the team after taking over Jose Maria Lopez’s place.
Techeetah: André Lotterer (#18) and Jean-Éric Vergne (#25)
The team that appeared on season 3 after Aguri’s withdrawal will use again this season the Renault powertrain that helped it to be competitive on season 3 despite the lack of experience on the series. As for the drivers, Jean-Éric Vergne, who drove successfully for the team in 2016-17 and led it to its first win in Montreal, will stay in the team next to André Lotterer. The iconic WEC driver is one of the two that, with Porsche leaving the Endurance Championship, has decided to continue with his career in Formula E.
NIO Formula E Team: Oliver Turvey (#16) and Luca Filippi (#68)
The team that won the Drivers’ Championship in season 1 with Nelson Piquet Jr. sees how the Brazilian driver leaves the team after two difficult seasons. Now, the re-named team (formerly known as NextEV NIO) will line-up Oliver Turvey for the third consecutive season and rookie driver Luca Filippi, whose last single-seater race the Indy Toronto of 2016, which was part of the 2016 IndyCar season on which he drove part-time with Dale Coyne Racing.
MS&AD Andretti Formula E: Kamui Kobayashi* (#27) and Antonio Felix Da Costa (#28)
Andretti Autosport’s Formula E section will also change one of its drivers after a difficult season 3, on which its car has been really off the pace. Antonio Felix Da Costa will stay on the team for the second consecutive year. Kamui Kobayashi is to make his Formula E debut this weekend in Hong Kong. He is, however, not expected to run the entire season as Tom Blomqvist was part of the full-time drivers list that the FIA released. With these changes, which is sure is that Robin Frijns won’t race at the series this season.
Dragon Racing: Neel Jani (#6) and Jerome D’Ambrosio (#7)
The American team had its worst performance on season 3 and struggled a lot to score points. This season, they will try to change this and return to the top spots. In order to achieve it, the driver that has raced for the team since its creation and has taken its two race wins, Jerome D’Ambrosio, will stay for a fourth season and a rookie, the other driver coming to Formula E after the departure of Porsche from the WEC, Neel Jani, will be his team mate.
Venturi Formula E Team: Edoardo Mortara (#4) and Maro Engel (#5)
The Monegasque manufacturer is another one of those teams whose performance has become worse through seasons. To change this trend, they will continue with Maro Engel, the only driver that drove full-time for them in season 3, and will put a rookie next to him. This rookie driver is Edoardo Mortara, who joins the series following the departure of Mercedes-Bemz from DTM, where he raced this season.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing: Nelson Piquet Jr. (#3) and Mitch Evans (#20)
Jaguar made its Formula E debut last season and, despite the good results took time to arrive, the improvement through the season was clear and they’re now set to continue this progression. Out of the two drivers that were part of the team in season 3, the one who had the best results, Mitch Evans, will stay for the team. On the other hand, Adam Carroll will be replaced by season 1 championship Nelson Piquet Jr., the only driver that changes team for this season.
Season 4 race calendar will consist of 14 races at 11 different venues. The season will start the 2nd of December of 2017 in Hong Kong and will finish the 29th of July of 2018 in Montreal.
This will be the complete calendar:
|Hong Kong*||Hong Kong Central Harborfrount Circuit||2-3 December 2017|
|Marrakesh||Cicuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan||13 January 2018|
|Santiago||Santiago Street Circuit||3 February 2018|
|Mexico City||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez||3 March 2018|
|Sao Paulo||TBA||17 March 2018|
|Rome||Cicuito Cittadino dell’EUR||14 April 2018|
|Paris||Paris Street Circuit||28 April 2018|
|Berlin||Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit||19 May 2018|
|Zurich||TBA||10 June 2018|
|New York*||Brooklyn Street Circuit||14-15 July 2018|
|Montreal*||TBA||28-29 July 2018|
*: Double-header events.
The major changes on the calendar are the discontinuity of the Buenos Aires and Monaco races. There will be new races in Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo, Rome and Zurich. The Hong Kong race becomes now a double-header and the Berlin race does the opposite change, going from two races to one. The Montreal circuit could change the track.
Despite the major changes will be seen in season 5, on which the batteries will last an entire race and there will be a brand new chassis, there are also some minor changes to be implemented in 2017-18.
Basically, the maximum power that the cars will be allowed to use during a race will change from 170 kW to 180 kW. Also, the point that a driver is given if he sets the fastest lap of the race will be only given if this driver ends the race on the Top 10.
These are, basically, the main changes of the new season of Formula E. With that, we can only wait until the lights go off in Hong Kong to see who are the drivers that will fight for the fourth FIA Formula E championship.