Formula E Season 4: What’s New With The All-Electric Series?

Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Contributor

Formula E has returned for its fourth season with a double header race in Hong Kong. It is probably the most anticipated season of the all-electric series so far, with some drastic changes in drivers, venues and technology likely to increase the sport’s popularity.

New Drivers

There are five new yet familiar faces on the Formula E grid this season who bring a depth of motorsport experience to the grid. Former F1 favourite and WEC driver, Kamui Kobayashi, joined the Andretti team this season and now partners former Macau GP winner Antonio Felix Da Costa. The addition of Kobayashi will likely promote a bit more overtaking in the sport, and Andretti head into this season with a very strong line-up.

Three-times Le Mans winner, Andre Lotterer, joined Jean-Eric Vergne at Techeetah, a team that secured victory at the last race of the 2016/17 season and will be hoping to improve on their 5th place finish in the Teams’ standings.

The Swiss influence isn’t a party of one this season with Neel Jani, an experienced LMP1 driver, having joined Dragon Racing. He will be battling for local support at the new race in Zurich against fellow compatriot Sebastian Buemi.

The diversity of racing background is further fortified with the arrival of Luca Fillipi, a former Indycar driver who replaced the Jaguar-bound Nelson Piquet Jr at NIO and partners Oliver Turney, who topped the times in pre-season testing. NIO must have entered season 4 with an air of confidence, and Fillipi might find himself at the sharp end of the grid from the start, it will be interesting to see how he deals with this pressure in what is a new series for him.

Finally, Edoardo Mortara joined Venturi after recently winning the prestigious Macau GT World Cup. He was also the 2011 DTM champion, and will be hoping to make his mark at a team that only finished 9th in the teams’ standings last season.

New Venues

The arrival of Zurich on the Formula E calendar takes Motorsport to Switzerland for the first time in sixty years. There are also new street races in Rome, Sao Paulo and importantly, Santiago Chile. It is fitting that the sport is heading to Chile given that the country has one of the biggest lithium reserves on the planet, so establishing a sustainable and ecologically viable model for future mining will probably at the top of the to-do list when manufacturers arrive in Santiago.

FE Global Advisory Board

Whilst the newly announced advisory board won’t immediately influence how entertaining the racing will be, it’s worth mentioning its establishment based on the fact that it will play a pivotal role in shaping both future regulations and also placing the sport in the wider electrification of the automotive industry. It is made up of former McLaren F1 boss Martin Whitmarsh, Lucas Di Grassi, Alejandro Agag, Charles Chao, Gerd Mauser and Marco Parroni.

The chair of the board is former F1 World Champion and team-owner, Alain Prost, and the objective is to highlight the very important conversation surrounding conservation. It will look to champion the sustainability argument that the Formula E championship presents, and will hopefully further influence the direction of automation to a greener future.

The 2017/18 season got off to a flyer in Hong Kong, with plenty of action and drama from the start. What was initially regarded as a fringe racing project is quickly establishing itself as a Motorsport mainstay, and the support for the series is on the up globally.

 

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