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FIA Formula E confirms nine homologated manufacturers from 2018

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The fifth season of the FIA Formula E Championship is hailed as a landmark season for the emerging electric, open-wheel series. The next round of technological enhancements will see the cars drop from two cars used to one per race, to go along with advances to the powertrain, and that will fall into line with the new cycle of homologation for the chassis and battery.

Nine manufacturers have been homologated for that three-year period starting with season five, 2018-2019, through to season seven of 2020-2021.

Confirmed manufacturers are:

  • ABT Formel E
  • BMW AG
  • DS Automobiles
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Mahindra Racing
  • NextEV NIO
  • Penske Autosport
  • Renault
  • Venturi Automobiles

Noteworthy here is the inclusion of Penske Autosport as a name – Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing team, in partnership with Faraday Future, has been on the grid since the series’ inception but not with the Penske name.

Additionally, Mercedes isn’t present at the moment. Mercedes signed an agreement in October 2016 where it had the option to enter the championship for season five. The lack of Mercedes being listed here does not mean they won’t race but it could mean it’s just a customer entry.

Alas, the significant increase in manufacturer involvement speaks to the growth of the championship and has exceeded Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag’s forecasted predictions.

“The mission of the FIA Formula E Championship is to act as a platform to advance the development of electric vehicle technology and alternative energy solutions – this hinges on the participation of automotive and component manufacturers,” Agag said in a release.

“When we launched the series in 2012, we had forecast to secure at least three manufacturers by season Five. The news today has highlighted the number and quality of manufacturers joining the championship and tripling our initial expectations. This just goes to show the relevance of Formula E to the motor industry and as an attractive proposition to new audiences and commercial partners, such as the recent agreement with Allianz.”

Berlin to host Formula E double-header in place of Brussels

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Formula E has confirmed that the Berlin ePrix will be a double-header race weekend following the cancellation of the Brussels event.

The race in Brussels was set to take place on July 1, only for the regional government to vote against it being held in the city center, putting the event at risk of falling off the calendar. The race was officially canceled for 2017 on Thursday.

To ensure the calendar for season three stays at 12 races, Formula E has confirmed that the Berlin weekend will now feature two races: one on Saturday June 10, the second on Sunday June 11.

Berlin’s format will mirror the double-header weekends run in London through Formula E’s first two seasons, and means that the final three events will feature two races. Both New York (July 15-16) and Montreal (July 29-30) were already planned to be double-headers.

The Berlin event will return to its season one location of Tempelhof Airport after city officials voted against it returning to Karl-Marx-Allee, where it was staged last year.

The addition of a race on the Sunday places greater pressure on a number of drivers and personnel who will be traveling to Le Mans in France ahead of the 24-hour race the following weekend.

Most had planned to use the Sunday as a travel day before the start of Le Mans festivities on the Monday, but will now face a tighter schedule to make the trip from Berlin.

Updated 2016/2017 Formula E Calendar

1. Hong Kong – October 9
2. Marrakesh – November 12
3. Buenos Aires – February 18
4. Mexico City – April 1
5. Monaco – May 13
6. Paris – May 20
7. Berlin – June 10
8. Berlin – June 11
9. New York – July 15
10. New York – July 16
11. Montreal – July 29
12. Montreal – July 30

Jaguar narrowly misses out on maiden Formula E points in Buenos Aires

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Panasonic Jaguar Racing drivers Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll took the positives out of a mixed Formula E weekend in Buenos Aires that saw the team narrowly miss out on its maiden top-10 finish in the series.

Jaguar entered Formula E at the beginning of its third season, starting with the Hong Kong ePrix in October, but failed to score any points in its opening two events.

Evans set the tone for a breakthrough weekend for Jaguar in qualifying, topping Q1 and only being knocked out of the Super Pole places at the final moments of the group stages.

The New Zealander started the race seventh and remained inside the top 10 for much of the race, only for a five second penalty for speeding under a full course caution and late energy management issues to cause him to drop back to 13th at the flag.

“If you look at the bigger picture, I’ve got to be satisfied with today,” Evans said after the race.

“Qualifying was great, to be honest, I topped the group. If you ask me or the whole team if this would have happened after Marrakesh, we would have taken it with both hands. So it was a great confidence boost for everyone.

“We’ve been targeting qualifying just to get some track position for the race, and we proved that we’re going in the right direction with that. We’ll try and keep that consistent now.

“The race was going great until the pit stop, some were going longer, some were going same as me which allowed me to stay there a bit. I was feeling great. I hit my energy targets every lap. Second stint I really struggled for some reason. It’s something we’re going to look into.

“So it slipped away from me, the points just on the last lap. I was really on the edge of energy. I came out across the start/finish line on zero.”

Evans said that the result and performance proved that Jaguar can fight on-track with many of its seasoned rivals, offering the team a boost.

“I think as I said it’s been a good confidence boost for everyone. We know we can race with these guys, it’s just about refining everything now,” Evans said.

“On that second stint we’ve got to be a bit more aggressive on energy. Whether we can just extract a bit more out of the car and I can do a better job, let’s see.

“Overall it’s really encouraging for everyone, and I can’t wait for Mexico now.”

In the sister Jaguar I-Type, Carroll struggled with the setup on his car in qualifying and suffered an issue at the start that meant he was unable to pull away, resigning the Briton to P17 at the flag.

“Mitch did a brilliant job. It’s nice to see that he really got a lap out of it and it put him in a good position,” Carroll said.

“Personally I’m disappointed with the way it went for me. We’re normally pretty close, but it’s very encouraging for the team and for the future.”

Jaguar’s hunt for points will continue at the Mexico City ePrix on April 1.

Sebastien Buemi: Renault e.dams’ Formula E advantage is clear

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Sebastien Buemi says that Renault e.dams’ current advantage over the Formula E field is clear for all to see after taking his third straight victory on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Buemi followed his victories in Hong Kong and Marrakesh with a dominant display at the Puerto Madero street course in Argentina, taking the lead on lap six and never looking likely to lose the race from there.

The Swiss driver now stands 29 points clear at the top of the Formula E drivers’ championship after just three races, and is already the strong favorite to take a second crown in 2017.

“I think it’s clear that we have right now the best car, the best package. That obviously helps but it’s not everything,” Buemi said.

“You need to be doing good races, a good car and be a good team. I think as a package we’ve come out a bit better than the rest.

“We know that’s not going to last forever. If we can get as many points as possible as long as it lasts, that would be good.”

Buemi’s victory may have seemed straightforward, but the ex-Formula 1 driver revealed that the second stint of the race saw a number of problems arise that kept him on his toes.

“Today with the heat, there were many other things we had to manage, particularly the temperature of the battery,” Buemi said.

“We had some small issues on the brakes. It was quite difficult to actually drive the car.

“The car was not braking straight.”

To have finally won in Buenos Aires was also an important landmark for Buemi, having come close twice before.

“I’m quite happy because the first race here two years ago, I had pole and I did a mistake and ended up in the wall,” Buemi said.

“The second year I started last and finished second. In the end to get a win here is a great achievement. This race has never really gone our way but today it did.

“We’ll try to enjoy that a little bit and then look to Mexico.”

Sebastien Buemi dominates in Buenos Aires for third straight Formula E win

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Sebastien Buemi continued his winning streak in Formula E by dominating Saturday’s Buenos Aires ePrix for Renault e.dams.

Buemi started his Formula E title defence in impressive fashion by claiming victory in the first two races of the season in Hong Kong and Marrakesh, and became the series’ first three-peat victor after an emphatic display in Argentina.

Buemi started the race third, and was forced to hold position off the line despite making a rocket start as pole-sitter Lucas di Grassi and second-placed Jean-Eric Vergne defended well.

Di Grassi was powerless to stop Vergne from passing for the lead on lap three, with Buemi following through on the very same tour of the track, leaving the two Renault-powered racers at the front.

Vergne may have been using the same powertrain as Buemi, but he was unable to keep the Swiss driver back as he slipped into the lead on lap six.

From there, Buemi never looked back. A succession of fastest laps gave him some breathing room to Vergne behind, ensuring he got to the car swaps with a buffer of five seconds.

Buemi was careful to manage his energy through the second half of the race, allowing Vergne to cut his lead to around two seconds, but was never in danger of losing the win.

The result gives Buemi a championship lead of 29 points over di Grassi, who fought his way back to third after losing a number of places through the first stint.

Besides Buemi and Vergne, Oliver Turvey and Nicolas Prost were also able to pass the Brazilian, leaving him in danger of missing a podium finish.

Di Grassi looked more comfortable through the second half of the race after changing cars, allowing him to pass Prost on-track having already disposed of Turvey during the pit stops. However, the stewards are set to investigate him after a possible unsafe release, putting his third-place finish at risk.

Vergne was left to settle for second, scoring his fifth podium finish in Formula E. The result also marked Techeetah’s first top-three finish since the rebrand of Team Aguri at the end of last year.

Prost ended the race fourth ahead of season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr., who with fifth scored his best result since the first London race in 2015.

Loic Duval took sixth for Dragon Racing after a spirited battle with teammate Jerome d’Ambrosio in the closing stages, the pair going wheel-to-wheel. Daniel Abt went on a late charge to split the duo in the end, taking seventh for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team.

Oliver Tuvey lost positions late on after pitting one lap earlier than his rivals and being short on energy, while Jose Maria Lopez went on a charge from P20 to P10 to delight his home fans and take a point for DS Virgin Racing.