Spanish circuit to offer first glimpse of form guide heading into Season 10 of all-electric single-seater series.
As has become customary in recent years, Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo will host the prelude to Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship later this month (24-27 October), with the official pre-season test set to offer an early indicator of the pecking-order in the all-electric series.
Following a number of driver changes over the off-season, the grid looks somewhat different heading into the 2023/24 campaign – the second with the pioneering Gen3 car – but Jake Dennis is banking on continuity. The defending champion remains with the renamed Andretti Formula E outfit in his quest to clinch back-to-back crowns. The Briton will be partnered by race-winner Norman Nato as the Frenchman gets his big break in place of André Lotterer, who has called time on his stint in single-seaters.
Arguably the biggest move of the summer was Nick Cassidy’s defection from Jaguar-powered Envision Racing – who he helped to propel to the Season 9 Teams’ title alongside Sébastien Buemi – to ‘works’ outfit Jaguar TCS Racing, where he will line up next to countryman Mitch Evans. The duo finished respectively second and third in the standings in 2022/23, so will represent one of the most potent pairings in the 22-strong field.
Cassidy has been replaced at Envision Racing by Robin Frijns, who is returning ‘home’ to the team with which he competed from 2018 to 2022, and where he claimed both of his career victories and all bar one of his podium finishes. The Dutchman is bidding to battle back from a challenging campaign, while Season 2 champion Buemi stays on-board in the sister Envision entry.
Continuing the homecoming theme, two other drivers to have gone back to their roots are recent team-mates Oliver Rowland and Lucas Di Grassi. After sitting out the second half of last season, Rowland has rejoined Nissan Formula E Team – with whom the British racer has achieved the bulk of his success in Formula E – following a year-and-a-half with Mahindra Racing. He will take to the track alongside series sophomore Sacha Fenestraz, who impressed over the course of his maiden campaign in the championship.
Di Grassi, for his part, has returned to ABT CUPRA – the team with which he started out in Formula E, securing the coveted Drivers’ trophy in 2016/17 and tallying four further top three championship finishes. He will be flanked by the incumbent Nico Müller.
The Brazilian will be succeeded at Mahindra by fellow former champion Nyck de Vries, back in Formula E after experiencing a taste of Formula 1 with Scuderia Alpha Tauri. The Dutchman – who lifted the laurels in Season 7 – will be partnered by Edoardo Mortara, who finished runner-up to him in his title-winning campaign.
There is, conversely, no change at TAG Heuer Porsche, DS PENSKE or the renamed ERT Formula E Team – formerly NIO 333 Racing – all of whom are betting on consistency as they maintain their respective driver duos. Porsche continues with last season’s early pace-setter Pascal Wehrlein and 2019/20 champion António Félix da Costa, while two-time title-holder Jean-Éric Vergne and Season 8 champion Stoffel Vandoorne team up again at DS PENSKE. ERT has kept the faith in promising young guns Dan Ticktum and Sérgio Sette Câmara, the latter having sped to a career-high fifth-place finish in India back in February.
NEOM McLaren will field an all-British line-up, as series stalwart Sam Bird – a winner of 11 E-Prixs to-date – joins from Jaguar to compete alongside compatriot Jake Hughes, with Maserati MSG Racing retaining the services of Maximilian Günther and promoting former reserve driver Jehan Daruvala to a race seat for the forthcoming campaign.
The highly-rated Indian might be the only rookie in the pack, but he will not be the only rookie on the track in Valencia, with all teams obliged to run a newcomer in at least one session around the 3.37km, 15-turn circuit, which is sweeping and technical in equal measure.
Zane Maloney (Andretti Formula E) will be joined by Sheldon van der Linde (Jaguar TCS Racing) and Jack Aitken (Envision Racing), with Luca Ghiotto and Victor Martins both trying out for Nissan Formula E. Tim Tramnitz and Adrien Tambay will take to the circuit for ABT CUPRA, as Mahindra Racing entrusts its car to reserve and development driver, Jordan King. Gabriela Jílková will appear for Tag Heuer Porsche, with Robert Shwartzman at DS PENSKE, Mikel Azcona at ERT Formula E, Taylor Barnard at NEOM McLaren and Yann Ehrlacher at Maserati MSG Racing.
There will be six three-hour sessions in total – two per day on Tuesday (24 October), Wednesday (25 October) and Friday (27 October) – with Wednesday’s running due to include a brace of race simulations. Friday’s sessions will be open to the public. – www.fia.com