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Preview: Formula E Season Ten, and Mexico City

Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Hugh W


The dust has settled on Formula E’s inaugural season of the Gen3 era, and after yet another of Formula E’s action-packed driver transfers, battle lines are drawn once again, the points reset to zero, and it's game on, as the all-electric series returns for its tenth instalment. 


Brace yourselves for the ultimate guide to the 2024 Formula E season, as we look at the calendar for the upcoming season, along with a look through the line-ups, before going on to the Mexico City E-Prix weekend. 


What’s in the calendar? And what’s dropped?

The season was set to be Formula E's longest, spanning 17 races across 11 rounds, but after the demise of the Hyderabad E Prix, these figures were reduced to 16 and 10 respectively. Despite retaining the same number of races as season nine, the calendar features a number of revisions, with more new locations making their way to the Formula E calendar. 


One notable addition sees Formula E venture into the Land of the Rising Sun for the first time, as Tokyo is pencilled in to host round five of the season, on March 30th.


Only two weeks later, the drivers and teams will venture into European soil, for the Italian round on the calendar, a double header slated to be held on April 13th and 14th at Misano, a regular host of the Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix. 


The permanent road course takes the place vacated by the Rome E-Prix, which was taken off the calendar following concerns over the circuit having been too big for the Gen3 cars, as an incident-ridden weekend caused concerns over the future of the street race. 


Another staple on the Formula E calendar, the Berlin E-Prix also features a revised track layout, with two long straights headlining a fresh layout. 


Finally, Formula E is also set to return to China, for the Shanghai E-Prix, which will take place on a revised layout of the Shanghai International Circuit. This circuit has also hosted Formula One in the past, having played host to the Chinese GP between 2005 and 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic saw the event slip off the calendar. Formula E last raced in China in 2018, around the port town of Sanya. 


Several events have dropped off the calendar, though, to make way for the new venues. Apart from the aforementioned Rome circuit, and the last-minute drop of the Hyderabad E-Prix, the Jakarta E-Prix double-header has also been dropped from the calendar, albeit temporarily, with local elections expected in June, when the event usually takes place


Apart from the trio, the popular Cape Town E-Prix has also quietly slipped off the Formula E calendar for 2024, with organisers targeting a return for 2025. The 2023 running of the event was voted by fans as the best race of the season, having witnessed a spectacular race-winning overtake from Porsche's Antonio Felix Da Costa on Jean-Eric Vergne's Penske. 


The Merry-go-round ahead of Season Ten

Speaking of Porsche, the German outfit is one of only three teams to have retained their driver line-up from season nine, with Antonio Felix Da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein staying on at the team for another season.


Wehrlein's championship charge was derailed by a lack of pace late on in the season, and the German will be looking for a much stronger showing this time round. 


Another team retaining their driver line-up from Season 9 is DS Penske, with Vergne and 2022 Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne staying on for 2024. Touted to be one of the strongest line ups on the grid last season, the French team experienced a tough introduction to the Gen3 era, taking only one win all season, at the Hyderabad E-Prix. 


Vandoorne experienced a tough title defence, finishing outside the top ten in the standings, whilst not taking a single rostrum finish in the season. 


The team's nadir came at Portland, though, with both cars forced to start from the pit lane, after the team was found out to be using RFID components during practice, and accused of spying on other teams. In addition, the team lacked out and out pace compared to their Jaguar and Porsche counterparts. 


However, the recent winter break has rejuvenated the team, and with Vandoorne and Vergne continuing on, it is clear the team believe in the project to pay off in the longer term. With one season of experience, and a smooth integration of the DS-Penske partnership, the team sets its eyes on the leading quartet, and look to challenge them for the championship in 2024. 


Vandoorne and Vergne are no stranger to being in championship fights either, having won a combined three championships in the series, and being the only line-up on the grid to have two world champions comes at an advantage. They will certainly back themselves to come good in such situations once again, and would initially pin themselves underdogs for the title. 


Finally, the newly-rebranded ERT Formula E Team (formerly NIO 333 Formula E Team) put faith into their existing line-up of Dan Ticktum and Sergio Sette-Camara, who led the team to ninth in the standings, their highest finish in the series. 


Ticktum in particular, was a standout performer in season nine, regularly making it to the duels, and even qualifying fourth for the first race of the Berlin E-Prix. He would even go on to take the lead of the race at the start, however, the powertrain of the NIO was no match for their Jaguar and Porsche counterparts, and a race-ending incident with Jake Hughes put an end to his Berlin E-Prix. 


Under a new guise, the team will be eyeing a fresh start, and look to morph into a more solid contender, challenging for points more often. 


The rest of the grid witnessed widespread changes, with drivers moving house once again, or heading back to familiar territory. The new faces on the grid also feature a former World Champion, and an Indian rookie looking to make an impression.


The biggest changes were rung in at Mahindra, who opted to completely change their driver pairing, signing a returning Nyck de Vries, apart from bringing onboard veteran Edoardo Mortara to the series. 


De Vries won a closely-fought championship battle in the 2021 Formula E season, with over 10 drivers mathematically in contention heading into the Berlin double-header, with new teammate Mortara, and BMW-I Andretti (now Avalanche Andretti) rookie Jake Dennis his major contenders. 


The Dutchman chose to give up a dual programme at the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Formula E, to chase the mighty Formula One dream with AlphaTauri. However, his F1 dream never fully took off, having been sacked by the Faenza-based squad only ten races in. 


De Vries has now opted to take up a dual programme for Toyota's hypercar team in WEC, alongside a Formula E return with Mahindra. Having recovered from the bitter axing by AlphaTauri, he will surely be motivated to return to familiar ground, and show his Formula E skills for Mahindra. 


His partner-in-crime Edoardo Mortara also had a tough 2023, failing to finish on the podium all season for Maserati. It was a far cry from his prior two seasons for Rokit Venturi, when he finished runners-up to eventual Mercedes champions De Vries and Vandoorne in 2021 and 2022 respectively. 


The Swiss racer proved to be a far shadow of his championship-contending self, struggling to adapt to the new Maserati Gen3 machine, something teammate Gunther did with aplomb. While the German took two wins, Mortara experienced his first winless season in four years, since the covid-shortened 2019-20 Formula E season. 


With two drivers hungry for redemption, and a team looking for success after a tough 2023, as part of team principal Frederic Bertrand’s long term vision for the Indian outfit, expect the team to make a step up in 2024, and improve on their tenth-position finish from season nine. 


Mortara was also part of a direct swap with Mahindra’s reserve driver Jehan Daruvala, the Indian moving to the Trident of Maserati to make his Formula E debut in 2024. The Indian racer is the latest to graduate from the road to F1, cutting short his season for MP Motorsport one race weekend earlier, making his way to the electric racing series. He will join Max Gunther, who displayed impressive pace towards the end of season nine. 


Daruvala has prior experience of testing Gen3 machinery with Mahindra, during rookie tests at Berlin and Rome in 2023, and this impressed former team principal James Rossiter, who in turn was glad to bring the Indian racer on board.


However, the latter’s departure during the winter raises questions about the leadership of one of Formula E's newest names, with no replacement announced yet. 


As one new name from Season 9 seeks a replacement to their lead personnel on the pit wall, another will be looking for their experienced signing to strike gold in 2024, to put themselves in the fight for race victory, like their counterparts across motorsport. 


NEOM McLaren have also changed their driver line-up ahead of season ten, with the experienced Sam Bird moving over from Jaguar to partner promising season nine rookie Jake Hughes. 


Hughes showed spectacular speed early in the season, making the duels in qualifying at the season opener in Mexico, before showing excellent speed across the twists of Diriyah to take pole position for round three. 


His inexperience showed in the races, but the Briton still impressed nonetheless, helping McLaren to eighth in the standings in their debut outing. In addition, Hughes outscored returning teammate Rene Rast in season nine, despite the latter taking the team's only podium at round three, the same race when Hughes snatched a sensational maiden pole position. 


Bird's addition brings in a wealth of experience to a team so young, the British veteran having raced in every season of the series. Bird raced for Virgin Racing back then, and claimed third in the first-ever Formula E race at Beijing, before dominating round two at Putrajaya to take victory. 


However, Bird’s form has dipped recently, enduring his second winless season in succession. The Briton held the rare feat of winning a race until the 2022 season, when he went a season without standing on the top step of the podium. Spars with teammate Mitch Evans at Hyderabad and Jakarta cost him and the team valuable points, and Bird was admittedly disappointed with the run-ins. 


With a new environment, and a hungry young rookie alongside, Bird has the perfect chance to resurrect his Formula E career, and take McLaren to the top of the Formula E podium for the first time. 


As for Evans, the Kiwi racer will be joined at Jaguar by his compatriot Nick Cassidy, forming one of the most formidable and potent pairings on the grid. Cassidy came of age in 2023, coming back from lower down on the grid to take stunning race victories, as he triumphed at Berlin, Monaco, Portland, and at the season-ending London E-Prix.


His coming-of-age season took Envision Racing to their maiden constructors title too, ahead of Jaguar themselves. 


However, Cassidy was the first to express disappointment on losing out to Jake Dennis in the drivers’ standings, furious after miscommunication caused him to clash with teammate Sebastian Buemi at the first race of the London E Prix weekend. The incident cost Cassidy a shot at the championship. 


The five-time race winner joins Evans at Jaguar, who finished just behind in the standings in 2023, emerging as a championship contender late in the season, after yet another stellar showing at Rome. However, it was a typical Mitch Evans season, pacey on his day, yet relatively inconsistent. 


The aforementioned incidents with former teammate Bird cost him valuable points, while running into the back of Cassidy at Rome in round 14 took both out of the race, allowing Dennis a free run to victory, along with a valuable cushion going into the London double-header. 


Now, with an old friend by his side, Evans will be hungry for redemption, and with both racers in prime form, and looking to bring home that elusive championship, this team dynamic will be one to keep an eye on during Season 10. Jaguar are arguably favourites for the constructors title, provided they keep it clean on the track. 


They will face the sternest of challenges from reigning champion Jake Dennis though, who bounced back from mid-season lows, stitching together a strong five-race podium streak to kick-start a championship charge on the verge of derailing, as the Andretti racer had scored no points for two months in between. 


Dennis brought home the ultimate prize, but inconsistencies from the other half of the Andretti garage cost the team a shot at the teams championships, losing out to the combined forces at Envision Racing and Jaguar in the race for the title. 


However, the team have signed a strong contender for 2024 — with season nine returnee Norman Nato moving over from Nissan to take the coveted Andretti seat. Nato had a successful return to the series in Season 9, finishing on the podium at Rome, holding off the quicker Jaguar of Sam Bird with a broken front wing. 


The Frenchman finished in the top ten in 2023, amassing 63 points, far ahead of Season 9 driver Andre Lotterer in the standings, and generally showed a strong turn of pace throughout the season. Having moved around teams in his Formula E career, Nato has finally got his big break, and would look to capitalise on this opportunity in 2024, as Andretti looks to chase after the teams championship, while Dennis will aim to defend his crown. 



Coming Home — drivers return to familiar surroundings for 2024

While many drivers are set to don new overalls in 2024, certain names will be returning to familiar surroundings, looking for better days. 


The biggest of these names include 2016-17 world champion Lucas di Grassi returning to the ABT fold once again. The Brazilian has fond memories with the German outfit, having driven to championship glory in their machinery in the 2016-17 Formula E season. 


This will be Di Grassi’s fourth different team in the last four years, switching to Rokit Venturi in 2021, with Audi leaving the sport. The Brazilian then opted to make a switch to a languishing Mahindra outfit, with an aim to help change the Indian team’s fortunes going into the new Gen3 era of Formula E. 


However, after only one season, he opted to make a move to a fellow Mahindra-powered ABT Cupra outfit, returning to the name he has achieved so much success for, joining forces with another impressive name from 2023, Nico Mueller. 


The Swiss racer has already spent a season with ABT in 2023, and impressed with a stellar sixth place in an attritious race one of the Rome E-Prix weekend, his — and ABT’s best result of 2023. Mueller followed up this performance with tenth in race two, before taking another stellar eighth at a rainy season finale in London. 


ABT experienced a tough return to the series — finishing last out of 11 teams in 2023, with their potential marred by an inefficient Mahindra power unit, and a series of issues affecting them in 2023. However, with Porsche power expected in the team’s machines in the future, there is certainly light at the end of this tunnel, certainly an influential factor in Di Grassi’s return to the ABT fold. 


Di Grassi replaces the departing Robin Frijns, who returned to familiar surroundings at Envision Racing for 2024, partnering Buemi, who joined the team at the dawn of the Gen3 era. 


Having moved to the newly-formed ABT team in search of a new challenge, Frijns season never materialised, as he only took a handful of points from 2023, the high point being a pole position in an ABT front row lockout at a rain-soaked qualifying at Berlin. 


He was outperformed by teammate Mueller over the course of the season too, and with a seat opening up after Cassidy's departure from the team, the Dutchman has opted to return to familiar surroundings, to the reigning constructors champions. 


Frijns will also have an experienced head at the other side of the garage, in Sebastian Buemi, and the teams’ championship victory will be buoying on both drivers, who will look to defend their crown in 2024.


Finally, Oliver Rowland also returns to the Nissan set-up he was a part of in the Gen2 era, before departing for Mahindra ahead of 2022. However, he left the Indian outfit in the midst of the 2023 season, following a broken arm in a crash at Monaco. Soon after the Monaco E-Prix, Mahindra and Rowland had parted ways, part of a ‘mutual agreement’ between both parties, and Rowland also left disillusioned by the Mahindra machine at his disposal. 


Nevertheless, Nato’s move to Andretti opened up a seat at his former team, and the Barnsley racer needed no second invitation, moving back to familiar territory. With the Nissan machine a lot more competitive compared to its Gen2 counterparts, Rowland will look to build on their strong development in the Gen3 era, and build on Nissan’s seventh-position finish in 2023. 


He will join 2023 rookie Sacha Fenestraz at the team, the French-Argentine looking to build on a solid rookie season, eyeing stronger performances in the races. Fenestraz was a beast in qualifying, thriving under pressure to make the duels regularly, and even taking pole position at Cape Town and Monaco with record laps, before the latter was taken away due to excessive power usage in the final showdown. 


Sporting Regulations Changes in 2024

One of the most-awaited changes for the 2024 Formula E season was the introduction of fast charging, with the much-anticipated feature expected to debut at the Misano-Adriatico E-Prix in April, with provisions to use it in one of the races on a double-header weekend too. However, the finer details haven’t been announced as yet, so it is one to keep an eye on. 


Set to be introduced in season nine, but delayed to season ten due to issues cropping up with the Gen3 car batteries, attack charge will see Formula E drivers make a mandatory pit stop during the race, and the car’s batteries will be recharged in under 30 seconds, with the help of a ‘Boost-charger’ connected to the rear of the car. 


A whopping 600kW of power is expected to pass through these chargers, to enable speedy charging. This new element will help drivers race harder, and unlock two further Attack Mode activations in the race, whilst providing 4kWh more power to the drivers throughout the race. 


This feature would add an even more strategic element to the Formula E scene, with teams getting more attack mode activations, and pit stops would have the potential to change up the race order once again, with varying strategies expected from the field. 


Set to be introduced in the Diriyah double-header, attack charge has been delayed to the Misano double-header — and it will be interesting to see how this situation develops as the season progresses. 


Looking ahead to the Mexico City E Prix

Formula E is set to kick off its tenth instalment of racing at a venue that has quickly become a staple of the electric racing series — the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. 


Also the host of the Formula One race in the country, the Mexico City GP, the Formula E race takes place on a shorter configuration of the track — spanning only 2.6km (1.6 mi) in length. 


The familiar main straight of the track kicks off a lap of the track, before a quick right hander takes the drivers along another sweeping right hand kink. 


This section of track then leads onto a sharp left-hander, an unorthodox overtaking spot if a driver sets up a move off turn one. The drivers then race down a short kink to the right, onto a right-hand hairpin turn of turns five and six, that takes them onto another quick speed stretch. 


A trio of corners make up a chicane on the back straight, and this can be a tricky series of corners to tackle, with Robin Frijns injuring himself in a lap one incident with Norman Nato. The back straight then leads into a right hander taking the drivers into the heart of the Foro Sol stadium, a packed crowd set to cheer the 22 Formula E drivers as they navigate the tricky sequence of corners around the stadium. 


Attack mode is situated on the outside of turn 14, and turn 15 could open up an unusual overtaking spot, in the event of a driver emerging from the attack mode zone, and side-by-side with another driver. 


Exiting the stadium section, the drivers will get the full blast of the iconic Peraltada corner, a high-speed, winding, yet tricky corner for the Gen3 cars to tackle, as they make their way onto the pit straight, and across the line, for a lap around the track. 


The track has played host to seven Mexico City E-Prix since 2016, with one running of the event taking place at the Autodromo Miguel E Abed in Puebla, when the Mexico City track was converted into a temporary hospital for COVID-19 infected patients. 


Even still, the famous racetrack has played host to plenty of Formula E greatness, with the most popular being the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix, when Wehrlein, driving for Mahindra back then, ran out of energy right at the finish line, with Lucas Di Grassi being the victor on the day. 


Wehrlein would finish sixth, having started the final tour in the lead, and would take home the fastest lap, to add to the three points he received for pole position earlier. 


The German racer would redeem himself though, with a peerless drive to victory in the 2022 Mexico City E-Prix, heading a Porsche 1-2. The victory made up for heartbreaks in the previous two Formula E events at Mexico, when he lost victories right at the chequered flag — or after it was flown. 


Most famously, Jake Dennis dominated the first race of the Gen3 era in 2023, winning by nearly eight seconds from fellow Porsche-powered Wehrlein, the efficiency of the Porsche powertrain on display, as they laid down a stern marker on the day, as their quartet of cars finished in the top seven. 


Predicting a winner for the race

Going off historical records, I would go with Pascal Wehrlein to kick off a new season in style, continuing his love affair for Formula E events held in Mexico, as he sets down a strong marker for the rest to chase. Reigning champion Jake Dennis will not be far off though, securing second place, in a reversal of the 2023 race’s results. As for the third driver on the podium, it will be a close fight between both Jaguar cars, and I predict Nick Cassidy to deliver a podium on debut for the British outfit. 


All in all, 2024 is set to be another thrilling year for Formula E, with new and returning faces, a fresh start for some, a return to familiarity for others, as they prepare themselves to tackle 16 challenging rounds over the next few months, seeking to crown a champion in the finale at London — the tenth season of the all-electric racing series.


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