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Will Jaguar’s new lineup be a success?

Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

The new Jaguar line-up for 2024; Image Credit: Manuel Romano / Getty Images

The news of Cassidy’s arrival has been released, in the wake of Sam Bird’s departure following the London E-Prix after three solid, albeit tough years with Jaguar. Their new acquisition, Nick Cassidy arrives from Envision off the back of a Teams’ Championship title, on top of second place in the championship, just two points ahead of his new teammate, and compatriot Mitch Evans.

So who are Jaguar getting?

Nick Cassidy is one of few Australasian drivers in motorsport to pursue a career in Japan to establish himself, rather than first attempting long and expensive single seater campaigns in Europe. In fact, Cassidy’s longest stint in a single European category before his time in Japan was ten races, to little avail, in the 2014 edition of Formula Renault Eurocup. Nick spent the early stages of his career on home soil in the Toyota Racing Series, racking up two championships and a vice-championship by age 18 in 2013, before embarking on an excursion to Japan in 2015. Japanese Formula 3 success didn’t come as a great challenge to Nick, so naturally the next step was to give F3 a go on the European stage for a full campaign with frontrunners Prema. It’s honestly a shame Nick ended up spending this year racing against the golden era of F3 drivers in a field of around 20 drivers - five of which would one day compete in Formula 1. Nonetheless, P4 in the championship behind Lance Stroll, Max Gunther, and George Russell is no lazy effort.

This would be an untimely end to Nick’s European career, though, and over to Japan he headed, with a third of the triple crown complete, Nick would run four successive dual-campaigns in Super GT and Super Formula, with an extra year in Super GT alongside his European F3 campaign as well. The Super GT title came on the second attempt alongside new Toyota Hypercar star Ryo Hirakawa in 2017. Super Formula and the final piece in the Japanese triple crown would then come in his penultimate Japanese year in 2019. The final year in 2020 would be yet another dual campaign to less success, alongside test work for Envision Racing, the team he’d sign for in Formula E just a year later. In the end of his feeder series and Japanese career, not only had Nick racked up a long list of championships and accolades, but also the list of drivers he’d bested is a well established group.

  • Alex Palou - 2021 IndyCar champion

  • George Russell - F1 Race Winner

  • Lance Stroll - F1 Polesitter

  • Daniil Kvyat - F1 Podium Finisher

  • Nicholas Latifi - Ex-F1 Driver

  • Guanyu Zhou - F1 Driver

  • Nikita Mazepin - Ex-F1 Driver

  • Callum Ilott - F2 Vice-Champion

Finally, Nick would get his chance on the big stage in the 2021 Formula E season. A quiet opening three races would precede a pole position in Rome: a pole which Nick would ultimately throw away with a spin on the opening lap of the E-Prix. Nick scored points as one of nine finishers in Valencia, as well as Monaco. Puebla was the site of a maiden rostrum for the Kiwi, a feat which was matched the weekend after, in New York. Six points from the remaining four races would rule Nick out of any title fight, finishing 15th in the championship come the chequered flag in Berlin. When all is said and done, though, any Formula E fan could tell you that Season seven in 2021 is not a measure of success at all, and the subsequent changes to the qualifying structure made amends to all the issues with the 2021 season.

Once again with Envision, the start to 2022 would be much worse than the year prior, just 16 points from the opening half of the season, compared to teammate Robin Frijns’ 81. Nick cemented New York as his happy hunting ground, with a double pole around the docklands. Race one saw Nick lead as the class of the field, until a sudden downpour saw the frontrunners all aquaplane off at the same corner.

The subsequent red flag rewound the results to their status before the downpour, meaning Nick Cassidy would take his maiden Formula E victory despite the technicalities. However, damage sustained to the monocoque of Cassidy’s car would incur a penalty that would drop him to the back of the pack, losing his second pole. Another podium followed in London, before double points in Seoul, and an improvement in P11 in the championship.

From Berlin onwards, Nick scored 52 points, in comparison to Frijns’ 45. 2023 pre-season testing was tough for Envision - Nick included - so expectations weren’t as high as anticipated; as we all know, the Envision squad needn’t have been worried, and the rest is history.

Image Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images

So will the pair work as a team?

Mitch Evans has been with Jaguar since 2017, and due to having five teammates in three years, Mitch found himself in a solid position as the team leader by 2020, a year where he'd lead the championship until the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season until August. In the remaining six races - all held around various iterations of the Berlin Tempelhof circuit - Mitch would drop to seventh.

That would all change, though. The arrival of Formula E veteran Sam Bird in 2021 meant competition within the Jaguar team. The Brit was easily one of the most recognisable and successful names in Formula E, and his acquisition was certainly a determined signing on Jaguar’s part. Promise early on in Diriyah led to no eventual success in 2021; a year of radical unpredictability - Evans missed out on the title by no fault of his own, while Bird followed just behind. With the new qualifying format, 2022 minimised Jaguar’s success to midfield familiarity for Bird, and a mighty title challenge of too little too late for Evans.

Having announced his exit from Jaguar following the London E-Prix, Bird is now officially Rene Rast’s successor at the NEOM McLaren team, partnering fellow Brit Jake Hughes for the papaya squad: Nick Cassidy is now in the fray.

In their three years of sharing the Formula E stage, the Kiwis have only collided once on track, just three races ago, on the opening lap of the second Rome E-Prix, the weekend in which the wheels of this move started rolling. When compared head-to-head, Evans ups Cassidy in the championship 2-1, missing out on going 3-0 by just two points this season. Overall, in their 49 races together, their record is 20-18 - a far narrower margin than you’d expect, considering their overall championship gap over three years is 125 points.

A key flaw in Mitch Evans’ Formula E campaigns is his proneness to a massive off-day. Whether it be an on-track clash or just a clear lack of pace, they seem to all too often for Evans compared to his rivals. A great skill that Nick Cassidy demonstrated in his 2023 title challenge is his ability to stay on the ball all season long.

Had it not been for Evans’ fatal mistake on the opening lap in Rome, Cassidy would’ve headed to London with a lot more momentum to take on Jake Dennis. The dynamic Jaguar have created is a duo who have the potential to dominate on their day, with the ability to pick up the points when it isn’t clicking for one of them. An issue that Jaguar had in the Bird-Evans era was that the pair were two peas in a pod: A lineup missing that week-in, week-out consistency from either driver.

We can surely expect great things from Jaguar this year. Their powertrain customers Envision have lost their prized asset, and now find themselves with an ageing lineup, and the fight will be against Andretti, who’ve dumped their anchor driver Andre Lotterer, with an able successor in the form of ex-Nissan driver Norman Nato, creating a lineup just as strong as Jaguar’s. Similarly to last season, the hard work done in the background by each team counts for double in the championship battle.

Image Credit: Manuel Romano / Getty Images

Do you think Jaguar have struck gold with their lineup? And will it be Jaguar, Andretti, or potentially an outsider who reigns victorious in 2024? Let us know in the comments below. That’s it from me, though, so goodbye for now.


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