JEDDAH: The 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season will see two German giants — TAG Heuer Porsche and Mercedes-Benz EQ — complete a full grid of 24 cars for the very first time in Formula E’s history, creating one of the most eagerly anticipated showdowns in motorsport.
In total, 12 teams from around the world are now focused on the Diriyah Circuit in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22 and 23. The track, created in the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the home of kings and heroes, is set for electrifying action, given that season 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship kicks off with a doubleheader of back-to-back races. Here we meet the teams that will be fighting for glory.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler — Germany
For Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, the 2017/18 season of the Championship saw the team fight back from the brink of defeat to finish first overall, clinching the title by just two points in the final round. With a history in the series dating back to the very first Formula E race in Beijing in 2014, Audi Sport has competed in everything from the World Rally Championship and Pikes Peak, to Super Touring and GT racing. Completing the team’s driver lineup is Brazilian driver Lucas Di Grassi, the winner of the drivers championship in the 16/17 season and his German teammate Daniel Abt.
Both drivers have been with the team since the first season. With a title to defend, the battle has just begun for the German manufacturer.
BMW i Andretti Motorsport — Germany
BMW has been a mainstay of Formula E since the championship’s inception. Alongside providing the entire fleet of safety and official cars, the German giant became a full manufacturer works team ahead of the 2018/19 season, when it partnered up with Andretti Autosport.
The team fielded Antonio Felix da Costa and newcomer Alex Sims behind the wheel of its Gen2 challenger, the BMW iFE.18. Rounding off its first campaign as a works team with a 5th-place finish, the team signed former Dragon driver Max Guenther for the current season while retaining Sims.
DS Techeetah — China
After clinching the team championship title at the end of a grueling 2018/19 campaign, DS Techeetah is looking to scoop its second title with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa in this season.
First entering into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the 2016/17 season, after taking over the entry previously held by Team Aguri, reigning champions Techeetah face their third campaign in the competition with Vergne and da Costa driving the DS E-Tense FE20.
Envision Virgin Racing – UK
Envision Virgin Racing has been competing in the championship since the inaugural season, and is one of two British teams (alongside Panasonic Jaguar Racing) in the series. Partnering with digital energy company Envision Group, Virgin Racing becomes Envision Virgin Racing for the 2018/19 season. Long-time Virgin driver Sam Bird and familiar Formula E face Robin Frijns complete the driver lineup for the season.
Geox Dragon Racing — US
Geox Dragon has been a mainstay of Formula E, competing in every race to date. Founded by Jay Penske in 2007, the outfit is the only all-American team on the grid, headquartered in Los Angeles, California — the largest single metropolitan electric vehicle market in the world — with additional operations at Silverstone in the UK.
For Geox Dragon’s sixth season in the series, the team signed former Formula 1 and World Endurance Car Champion Brendon Hartley and former DTM runner-up and Formula E debutant Nico Muller.
Mahindra Racing — India
Mahindra Racing has competed in the championship since 2014. The team scored its breakthrough maiden win in the 2016/17 season, and in 2017/18 went on to score two more victories. For the 2018/19 season, the team was fronted by long-standing Formula E and former Dragon driver Jerome d’Ambrosio as well as rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein.
After a strong season together, the pair remain in place for a second consecutive season, getting behind the wheel of the new M6Electro, which sports a powertrain developed in partnership with German engineering giant ZF.
Mercedes-Benz EQ — Germany
Mercedes-Benz EQ joins the grid for the curent season after transitioning from HWA Racelab. With 125 years of motorsport experience, the entry marks the beginning of a radical new chapter as it works toward an all-electric future. Behind the wheel of its new Gen2 challenger, the Silver Arrow 01, is Dutch reigning Formula 2 Champion Nyck de Vries and former Formula 1 driver, Stoffel Vandoorne.
With a strong racing pedigree outside of Formula E, such as five constructor’s titles in the hybrid era of Formula 1 and seven driver titles, few names can claim to be more successful on the racing circuit.
Nio 333 — UK/China
The team is the racing arm of Chinese car maker NIO — makers of the record breaking EP9 hypercar, which set a new lap record of the Nurburgring in 2017. Nelson Piquet Jr. remained with the team for three seasons, partnered by Oliver Turvey. For the 2017/18 season, Italian IndyCar driver Luca Filippi replaced Piquet Jr. to partner Turvey. For the upcoming season, Turvey remains, and Ma Qing Hua has taken over from Filippi — the first Asian to participate at Diriyah. They pilot NIOs striking green and white Gen2 challenger.
Nissan e.dams — Japan
After announcing its arrival into Formula E in 2017, Nissan partnered with seasoned outfit e.dams (formally racing partner of French manufacturer Renault) to become Nissan e.dams. After finishing runner-up in the teams’ championship in its debut season, it will challenge for the title in the 2019/20 season. Nissan is the first Japanese manufacturer to enter the series and is a world leader in the design and manufacture of all-electric cars.
Racing for the team is Formula E veteran and former champion Sebastien Buemi alongside British driver Oliver Rowland.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing – UK
The team heads into its third season with its new Gen2 Jaguar I-Type III. With one of the richest histories in motorsport of any manufacturer, dating back to 1948, the British car guant revived its motorsport program to showcase its range of electric cars with its entry into Formula E in 2016. The team calls on Mitch Evans and James Calado as the stars of their show.
Tag Heuer Porsche — Germany
After more than 30 years, Porsche returns to single-seater racing, making its debut in the 2019/20 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. They are represented by Andre Loterrer and Neel Jani, and going up against fellow German car giants Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the series will see them race head-to-head for the first time in history.
With one of the longest-standing track records in motorsport dating back to the 1950s, Porsche’s entry into Formula E is the latest step in the German manufacturer’s history. After its most recent success in endurance racing, including multiple victories in both LMP1 and GT categories, the brand turns to the all-electric racing series to ready the next generation of electric Porsche road cars.