Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Will Stephens
We aren’t even half way through the present Formula E season and we already have plenty of rumours concerning the drivers and teams taking to the track next season. Next season of course marks the start of the Gen3 era with the lighter and faster new car being revealed ahead of the Monaco EPrix. With no further introductions, let’s first look at what we already know ahead of the 2023 season.
What we know
Team-wise we have Maserati entering the championship as partners with the Venturi team that are exceeding all expectations so far this season with a win and a podium amongst several good results that has put them in fifth in the teams’ championship. Venturi’s current power unit suppliers Mercedes will be leaving the sport at the end of the season, but as a part of their takeover, Maserati will now be providing engines for the Monegasque team.
Another big team change going into the Gen3 era is DS switching from Techeetah to Penske to create the DS Penske FE Team. DS and Techeetah as a pair won back to back Teams’ Championships in Seasons 5 and 6 as well as three consecutive Drivers’ Champions from 2018-2020. Penske meanwhile have been backmarkers so far in their time in Formula E but with DS on their side they’ll surely skyrocket toward the front of the grid. They also have a new driver lineup that suggests the team are really favourites to compete for the championship next season. Jean-Eric Vergne, who won two consecutive championships with DS and Techeetah in 2018 and ‘19, will follow DS to Penske and will be partnered with current Formula E championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne. As I mentioned earlier, Stoffel’s current team Mercedes are on their way out of Formula E at the end of the season and so Stoffel has wasted no time in securing a seat for next season.
A big story that came out this week was the return of the Abt team. Team Abt were frontrunners from the inaugural season in 2014 until they and their partners Audi departed the series last season. After just a one year hiatus, the German outfit have confirmed they are returning to the series they won a Teams’ and Drivers’ championship in. The final team change is Nissan’s purchase of the e.dams Formula E team they have been partners with since the start of the Gen2 era to create a Japanese-licensed Nissan Formula E Team.
Other than the all new Penske lineup, there are only three other drivers who have been confirmed at teams for next season. Jaguar will keep their Bird-Evans lineup for a third consecutive season after lots of success in the first year followed by being presently third in the Teams’ championship this season (mainly thanks to Mitch Evans’ performances at Rome and Monaco). Envision have also confirmed that Nick Cassidy will stay with the British outfit for a third season as they begin Gen3 powered by the aforementioned Jaguar team, as they split with their previous providers Audi.
Most of the rumours currently out there are regarding the return of Team Abt. The German team have been frontrunners in DTM since the series’ inception over 20 years ago and were previously frontrunners in Formula E until they left the series at the end of last season. Their departure was mainly due to Audi’s decision to pull out of the series to focus on an LMDh entry that seems to have been called off to instead focus on an entry in Formula 1 in 2026.
Former Abt Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi is probably not going to rejoin the team that helped him win the championship in 2017. Instead it is likely to be one of Abt’s DTM drivers. Rene Rast and Nico Muller are both Abt DTM drivers who have Formula E experience and are both rumoured to be options. Current Envision driver Robin Frijns is rumoured to be on his last year of contract with Envision and previously drove for Abt in DTM from 2018-2020, racking up three wins amongst 18 podiums in his time with Abt. Frijns also apparently has a contract extension on the table from his current team Envision. Rumours suggest the Abt lineup will be made up of two of the three named drivers. Current Abt DTM driver Kelvin van der Linde is also rumoured to be a candidate. Regarding their powertrain, the two current options for Abt are Nio and Mahindra, with the latter being more probable.
With Vergne already confirmed to be on his way out of Techeetah, his teammate Antonio Felix da Costa is also rumoured to be departing the Chinese team that helped him to the championship in 2020. His likely location looks to be the Porsche team that has massively improved its performance in 2022. Da Costa will almost definitely be partnering Pascal Wehrlein who has had a phenomenal season so far with Andre Lotterer who’s likely to retire.
McLaren announced back in January 2021 that they had an agreement to join Formula E in Gen3 which so far they haven’t acted on but we expect they’ll announce their place on the grid in the coming weeks. That will obviously open up two seats on the grid. One of the likely candidates for one of the seats is IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist. The Swede has driven for McLaren’s Indy setup for the past two seasons and has previously seen lots of success in a two-year Formula E stint with Mahindra where he racked up three race wins. Nio 333’s Oliver Turvey has been a McLaren F1 test driver since 2008 but there isn’t too great of a chance the Brit will leave Nio for the new McLaren entry. There is also little chance current McLaren reserve driver and Formula E reigning champion Nyck De Vries will head to the team due to the likelihood of him joining Toyota’s endurance team.
To finish off then, Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara is likely to stay with the team as they embark on a partnership with Maserati. Edo is of course of Italian heritage so that may be an incentive to stay with the legendary Italian brand. Lucas Di Grassi is also likely to depart the team.
Who do you think will make a surprise switch in 2023? Let us know in the comments. That’s it from me, though, goodbye for now.