Formula E: Season preview part 4 – the competitors!
When the first ever FIA Formula E world championship gets under-way this weekend in Beijing, 10 teams and 20 drivers will be vying to take glory in the first ever ePrix. In this final part of the RTR Sports Formula E season preview, we take a look at all of the teams and drivers who will race for the championship this year.
The first team we take a look at is Amlin Aguri. The Japanese team was formed by Aguri Suzuki, the man responsible for the Super Aguri Formula One team who competed in 2006-2008. Their first driver is British female driver Katherine Legge. Katherine has competed in a wide range of Motorsports during her career including Formula Three, IndyCar and the American Le Mans Series. Alongside her in the Amlin Aguri team will be Antonio Felix Da Costa. Antonio had a fantastic junior formulae career which included success in GP3, Formula Renault, World Series by Renault and a win in the prestigious Macau Grand Prix. Da Costa will not be competing in the opening round however, as he has commitments to racing in DTM. Therefore, 2013 GP2 champion Fabio Leimer, who has previously testing in Formula E, will take his place.
Andretti Autosport, a famous and successful name especially in American Motorsport, is the next competitor in this year’s Formula E season. Andretti Autosport is a leading name in the US. Formed by Michael Andretti, former F1 driver and son of F1 champion Mario, the team take place in a wide range of categories from IndyCar to RallyCross. Driving their first car is Franck Montagny. Franck has previous success in single seater racing, which includes 2 championships in the World Series by Nissan. He also spent time as a Toyota F1 test driver following an all too brief F1 career with Super Aguri. He will be joined, for the Beijing ePrix at least, by fellow Frenchman and former F1 driver Charles Pic.
ABT Sportline, known as Audi Sport ABT in Formula E, are one of the most successful teams to have taken part in the DTM championship, with 5 titles to their name. Their two drivers are Daniel Abt (son of Team Principal Hans-Jürgen Abt), and Lucas di Grassi. Abt is a rising talent in graduation Motorsport having taken part and won in series such as GP3. Di Grassi is a former Formula One driver, having previously driven for Virgin F1 team. Most recently he has had success in the World Endurance Championship with Audi.
Team China Racing, a partnership by former A1 GP entrants Team China and Campos Racing is the next entrant on the list. With combined success in championships including FIA GT1, GP2, World and Euro Touring Cars and more, the team will hope to be a force to be reckoned with. Their drivers are Ho-Pin Tung, who previously has raced in GP2 and IndyCar, and former Formula One and NASCAR driver Nelson Piquet Jr, son of the three time F1 champion Piquet Sr.
Dragon racing, a team currently racing in IndyCar, are the 5th team of 10 in Formula E. Having made their debut at the 2007 Indianapolis 500 where they scored a fantastic 5th with Ryan Briscoe, they now set their sights on Formula E with drivers Jerome d’Ambrosio and Oriol Servia.
One team who is predicted to do very well this season after their strength in pre-season testing is the all French outfit e.dams Renault. Formed by Jean-Paul Driot, founder of successful single-seater team DAMS, and Formula One World Champion Alain Prost, the team will hope to take the championship with drivers Sebastien Buemi (previous Formula One driver) and Nicolas Prost; son of Alain and a strong driver in endurance racing.
One of the most popular line-ups on the field is that of Indian team Mahindra Racing, who will enter previous F1 team-mates Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna. The inclusion of Senna in the Formula E championship will see the return of an interesting rivalry from the past, with Senna and Prost going wheel-to-wheel for the first time since Alain and Ayrton did in Formula One in the 80’s and 90’s.
Trulli Racing is the only team on the grid featuring a driver who is also the principal of the team. Ex-F1 driver Jarno Trulli took over the failed entry by Drayson Racing and will partner fellow Italian and second female driver Michela Cerruti:
“This is a new challenge not only as a driver but also as team owner. Competing at the highest level of performance with a clean energy car makes this challenge all the more exciting,” said Trulli on his efforts as team manager and driver.
The penultimate team on the grid is Venturi, a team based in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The team was formed by world famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Venturi Automobiles, a world leading electric car manufacturer. Their drivers will be one of Formula One’s most consistent drivers Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin.
The final team on the grid is the Virgin Racing Team. Virgin, a company often associated with technological advancement, has previously ventured into projects in Aviation, Space and now, racing. Having started this off in 2010 with the Virgin Formula One team, the team now look to innovate technology that can be implemented onto the road. Their driver line-up features former Toro Rosso F1 driver Jaime Alguersauri and 2013 GP2 runner-up Sam Bird.
With a grid including star drivers from Formula One, IndyCar, Endurance Racing and many more world leading series, Formula E is set to become one of the most exciting championships in Motorsport when it gets under-way in just 2 days time. Join us on RTR Sports for reports on every round of the 2014/2015 season.