Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Meghana Sree
As we close out yet another thrilling season of Formula E’s on-track action, the centrestage now shifts to the backrooms. Teams will now make big moves, sign lucrative deals with drivers, and form the grid for season ten, starting at Mexico in January 2024. Right when the final race ended, the first card was played, signalling the start of the “silly season” in
With the rumour mill cooking once again, and certain drivers and teams in the spotlight more so than others, we take a look at some potential headlines and rumours of Formula E’s grid for 2024.
Frijns Leaves ABT Cupra - The First Move Has Been Played
Yes, even before he turned the wheel of a Formula E car on Sunday, Robin Frijns announced his decision to leave debutants ABT Cupra at the end of season nine. And some sources reveal he could be heading back to familiar pastures.
It was a tough season for Frijns with the newest entrants for 2023, the highlight of his season being a shock pole position at the team’s home race in Berlin. He led an ABT Cupra 1-2 in a sodden qualifying, but struggled to match the pace of the front-runners in the race. He ultimately wound up outside the points.
Even still, the highs have been few and far for ABT Cupra, the team starting on a blank slate this year, compared to their fellow debutants Maserati and NEOM McLaren, who acquired the assets of Rokit Venturi and Mercedes EQ respectively. The team experienced struggles due to the inefficiency of the Mahindra powertrain and suspension, regularly finishing outside the points.
Frijns has linked up with the team he left, before joining ABT Cupra - Envision Racing, his home for four seasons prior. Frijns took two victories for the team in green, and was a familiar face at Envision in the Gen2 era. He was replaced by the 2015-16 Formula E World Champion Sebastian Buemi, and will join forces with the Swiss driver next season. He replaces the Jaguar-bound Nick Cassidy, who played a crucial role in Envision Racing’s victory in the constructors standings.
An All-Kiwi Line-Up at Jaguar
And speaking of Jaguar, they have opted for an all-Kiwi line-up for season ten in 2024. This is set to be a formidable line-up. After all, the drivers in question finished in the top three of the championship standings this season, taking a combined eight victories from 16 races.
Yes, the drivers in question are Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy. Having driven two lesser-key seasons in the Gen2 era for Envision Racing, and then winning at New York City in 2022, Cassidy stepped up to the foreground in 2023 and came of age in a stunning season.
Four victories followed during the season: At Berlin, around the iconic streets of Monaco, a thrilling win around Portland’s road course, and finally, a dominant showing in a soaking wet London E Prix to round out the season. Cassidy played a vital role in bringing home a Constructors’ Championship to the team wearing green.
Cassidy heads to the Jaguar team on a multi-year contract, starting from 2024. He would partner up with Mitch Evans, also on a multi-year contract with the team. Speaking of Evans’ season, it was yet another typical Evans season - rapid pace on some days, dogged by inconsistency in between. His four race wins encapsulate the speed Evans had on his day, but incidents with former teammate Sam Bird cost him valuable points during the season.
Nevertheless, the Kiwi at Jaguar drove spectacularly for a large portion of the season, finishing third in the standings, right behind his future teammate Cassidy. Despite his inconsistencies, Evans would certainly be a formidable aide to Cassidy, and this could turn out to be one of the strongest line-ups on the grid.
The Curious Case of Sam Bird
Formula E veteran Sam Bird opted to leave Jaguar, having taken two victories and frequent podiums for the British team over the three seasons.
A veteran of 110 Formula E starts, Bird began his Formula E career racing for Virgin Racing (now Envision Racing) in the inaugural Formula E season in 2014. He won the second-ever Formula E race to be staged, around the streets of Putrajaya, Malaysia. Since then, the Briton had a unique record of winning at least one Formula E race every full season, a run that ended last season.
Bird has experienced two tough seasons at Jaguar, finishing 13th in 2022 with only 51 points, and a highest finish of fourth in the season opener at Diriyah. Bird managed a much better 2023 season, netting an eighth position finish in the standings, with four podiums to his name. Although he maintained a largely stable relationship with former teammate Evans, the two did come together twice, at Hyderabad and Jakarta this season.
Bird’s next move was a hot topic in the paddock. While the rumour mill put him in contention for a seat alongside eventual champion Jake Dennis at Andretti, some whispers stated he was McLaren-bound for 2024. A move to the papaya team looks like a possibility for 2024, although nothing has been officially announced yet by either party.
The Andretti Conundrum - Who Joins Dennis for Season Ten?
Speaking of Avalanche Andretti, the big question hovering around the American team for season ten is this: who will fill the prestigious seat alongside world champion Jake Dennis?
Multiple names have been thrown into the ring: Maserati driver Maximilian Gunther, former Mahindra driver Oliver Rowland, reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich, Nissan driver Norman Nato, and even the recently-ousted Nyck de Vries, 2021 Formula E champion. Robin Frijns was in the mix too, before being rumoured to return to Envision Racing.
Felipe Drugovich looks the favourite to join Andretti, with Maserati MSG set to renew their current line-up of Gunther and Edoardo Mortara. Despite all the whispers pointing to a deal with Maserati MSG for season ten, the focus could well and truly shift to the electric racing arm of the American giant, a seat alongside the World Champion looking more of a reality than a rumour.
Drugovich faces stern competition from Rowland and current Nissan driver Nato.
Having sealed his Formula 2 championship in 2022, the reigning champion has dabbled with reserve driver roles at Aston Martin in Formula One, and at Maserati MSG in Formula E, even doing the Formula One pre-season testing earlier this year in February, stepping in for an injured Lance Stroll. His efforts behind-the-scenes could well and truly be rewarded with a drive for the upcoming Formula E season, should it all work out for the Brazilian.
The Nissan Seat for 2024: Rowland vs de Vries
You might have noticed my mention of Nato as one of the candidates for the Andretti seat in 2024. Yes, the rumours have surfaced as a result of Nato’s expected departure from the Nissan team ahead of 2024.
Nato and his manager Tiago Monteiro held talks with Andretti ahead of the season finale at London, and thus, his name was thrown into the ring for a seat alongside current champion Dennis.
However, with the odds looking in Drugovich’s favour, and Nissan chasing former Mahindra driver Rowland and 2021 Formula E champion de Vries, the Frenchman could be without a seat for 2024.
de Vries’ signing would be a boost to the Japanese team, forming a strong force to rookie sensation Sacha Fenestraz. de Vries will be looking to rejuvenate himself, should he return to a series he excelled at, prior to the tough AlphaTauri stint that followed.
And as for the other driver in the fray, Rowland formerly drove for Nissan, before moving to Mahindra ahead of the 2022 Formula E season. The British driver left the Indian team following the Monaco E Prix, having sustained injuries from an incident during the race, and was replaced by Roberto Merhi for the remainder of the season.
A reunion with his former employers could prove to be a strong move for Rowland, with Nissan’s fortunes having improved vastly since his last outing for them.
A Rookie Trio for 2024?
Should Andretti sign Drugovich to compete in the 2024 Formula E season, he could potentially be joined by two more rookies on the grid. The 2023 season had two full-season rookies, while Merhi and David Beckmann stepped in for seven races and two races respectively.
And it is Merhi’s current drive that could potentially be snapped up by a rookie. Yes, Jehan Daruvala has been rumoured to take a seat at the Indian team for 2024. The Indian driver, currently driving for MP Motorsport in Formula 2, has spoken earlier of Formula E being a potential target for 2024. Daruvala is also the team’s reserve driver, and has taken part in rookie in-season tests at Berlin and Rome this year.
Daruvala is currently in his fourth Formula 2 season, and with 2024 on the horizon, the Indian would be targeting a Mahindra seat for 2024, alongside stalwart Lucas Di Grassi. And this could well and truly come to fruition. In addition, an Indian team and an Indian driver would make for a strong marketing strategy for the team, who will be looking for a better showing in 2024, following a dismal tenth position finish in 2023.
The final rookie on the grid could be down at this season’s debutants, ABT Cupra, and another reserve driver deal could be in the works. Possible replacements after Frijns departure from the German outfit could be Kelvin van der Linde, who stepped in for Frijns in four of the 16 rounds this season, and Adrien Tambay, son of former Formula One driver Patrick Tambay, the young Frenchman having taken part in the rookie tests in Berlin and Rome this year.
All in all, the rumour mill has been working overtime, and these are the drivers and teams expected to be moving house for 2024. The potential Formula E grid for 2024 could look as follows:
Envision Racing - Sebastian Buemi, Robin Frijns
Jaguar Racing - Mitch Evans, Nick Cassidy
Avalanche Andretti - Jake Dennis, Felipe Drugovich (TBC)
Porsche - Pascal Wehrlein, Antonio Felix Da Costa
NEOM McLaren - Sam Bird, Jake Hughes
Maserati MSG - Max Gunther, Edoardo Mortara
Nissan - Sacha Fenestraz, Oliver Rowland/Nyck de Vries
NIO 333 Formula E Team - Dan Ticktum, Sergio Sette Camara
Mahindra Racing - Lucas Di Grassi, Jehan Daruvala (TBC)
ABT Cupra - Nico Muller, Kelvin van der Linde (TBC)
But what do you think? Who might we see on the grid next year and in which teams? Let us know in the comments below!