The Grid: Driver and Team breakdown for FIA Formula E kickoff


My MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada provided an overlay of the FIA Formula E Championship yesterday. In case you missed that, or my interview with series CEO Alejandro Agag earlier this year, here’s the links.

Meanwhile, here’s a more in-depth overlay of the 10 teams and their drivers:

AMLIN AGURI: Katherine Legge, Antonio Felix da Costa

The Aguri squad sees ex-F1 team boss Aguri Suzuki and fellow members of the now defunct, but plucky underdog Super Aguri Formula One team re-emerge. Mark Preston is the team principal and technical director Peter McCool is a top shoe.

On the driver front, Legge has reinvented herself as one of racing’s more versatile drivers beyond her open-wheel career. She has taken up residence as one of the DeltaWing drivers, and also made a cameo in a Honda Civic Si at Road America. She should be able to come to grips with the new car rather well.

Da Costa, meanwhile, was famously passed over for a Scuderia Toro Rosso race seat this past fall while Daniil Kvyat got the nod. Since, the Portuguese driver has made it to DTM, but had a difficult season. He’ll miss the season opener due to his DTM commitments, and a familiar face to open-wheel racing aficionados is set to fill in.


One of two U.S. squads, Michael Andretti’s ever-expanding racing portfolio will now see an entry into FE. Knowing his propensity for success, it would be hard to imagine the team not being a contender.

Montagny is a solid, veteran shoe but limited in terms of recent open-wheel running. He made an IndyCar cameo at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and while he enjoyed himself, he mainly felt it important to reacclimatize after a five-year hiatus.

The second driver (or drivers) remain a mystery, as Andretti FE takes a page out of Dale Coyne’s playbook. Scott Speed (Red Bull Global Rallycross) and Matthew Brabham (Indy Lights) race for Andretti in 2014 and have already tested; likely these two and a combination of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti are possible to fill the void. Alternatively, Andretti could opt for a single European shoe for consistency’s sake. Stay tuned.

AUDI SPORT ABT: Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt

The Germans will likely be a force to be reckoned with. The Abt team has enjoyed a wealth of success in DTM and now head to the open-wheel ranks.

Di Grassi has relevant hybrid experience with his Audi sports car career in the team’s R18 e-tron quattro hybrid, and is another who’s reinvented himself since his F1 race career ended.

Young Abt has starred in GP2 and GP3, and this will be his first opportunity to make a major name for himself on a wider scale beyond the junior ranks. He made his name known to IndyCar teams in Fontana; expect they’ll be watching him closely this winter.

CHINA RACING: Nelson Piquet Jr., Ho-Pin Tung, Antonio Garcia (reserve)

Although the team has had experience in A1GP, Superleague Formula and FIA GT1, it’s still a bit of a mystery on the world stage. But it has a capable team principal in Adrian Campos.

Driving-wise, Piquet Jr. makes his open-wheel return after his recent experience has been in Red Bull Global Rallycross and NASCAR.

Tung is a solid second driver and could surprise. He’s done well in his international sports car outings this year, racing with OAK Racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Asian Le Mans Series. Garcia, when he gets the chance to race, should also make some noise.

DRAGON RACING: Jerome d’Ambrosio, Oriol Servia

The second U.S. team, Dragon Racing had a propensity to underachieve during its IndyCar career, although there were times Sebastien Bourdais punched above his weight over a two-year period. Jay Penske’s team does have a solid driver lineup, though.

D’Ambrosio never properly got to show what he could do in his F1 stint and while he hasn’t raced regularly the last two years, he could well surprise.

Servia, who will fill in for Mike Conway at least at Beijing if not for more, remains a dependable hand who rarely makes mistakes and almost always bags a result – usually without the TV cameras noticing.

e.DAMS-RENAULT: Nicolas Prost, Sebastien Buemi

If I had to pick an early season favorite, e.dams would be the team I’d monitor. Jean-Paul Driot has a stellar record in European junior formulae over 25-plus years; Alain Prost provides the necessary support alongside.

Both Prost and Buemi have made strides in sports car racing the last several years, Prost with Rebellion Racing and Buemi with the Toyota Hybrid program. They’re quick enough, young enough and determined enough to want to deliver. My only concern – and this affects both of them – is a mindset one since they’re both accustomed to sports car endurance races, and yet have to amp up for single-driver sprints now.

MAHINDRA RACING: Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna

Mahindra is partying like it’s 2010 and it’s actually called HRT, because Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna are teammates again. OK not really, but still, that’s going to be my go-to joke for this team this year until they deliver the results on paper.

Thing is, for both drivers, they’ve never had the top-flight opportunity either has deserved. Chandhok’s F1 stint was only that partial season with HRT and a one-off with Lotus (now Caterham) in 2011, and he’s had to make miracles happen with lesser rated co-drivers in LMP2 sports cars over the years.

Senna, meanwhile, has grown instrumentally the last few years after his post-HRT run. He was respectable at Renault (now Lotus) in 2011 and was more consistent with Williams in 2012. Since driving for Aston Martin in GTE in the FIA WEC, that’s where his career has really taken off. It remains to be seen whether he can reacclimatize back to an open-wheel car after his recent GT time; Chandhok may have the early edge. A fascinating inter-team battle to watch.

TRULLI: Jarno Trulli, Michela Cerruti

Give Jarno Trulli this – the Italian is certainly not lacking for ambition. But having completed a late takeover of the Drayson squad, although still using some Drayson electrical technologies, Trulli will likely find out quick that being a driver and being a co-team founder at the same time is a mammoth challenge.

And the concern is that this affects him behind the wheel, too. We’ll see how Trulli’s management structure works – but like for Ed Carpenter in IndyCar, it may take time for Trulli the driver to fully hit his form while Trulli the owner gets the team up and running.

Teammate Michela Cerruti is very much an unknown quantity. She’s raced AutoGP and the Blancpain Endurance Series, and does have podiums in both. Young and full of potential, but it remains to be seen how she’ll exploit it.

VENTURI: Nick Heidfeld, Stephane Sarrazin

The team has the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio as one of its four co-founders, and Venturi Automobiles have been a solid electrical vehicle leader in the marketplace.

Heidfeld and Sarrazin, like others, have specialized in sports cars after their F1 careers came to an end. They’re both solid, veteran shoes who don’t make many mistakes and have occasional speed to burn. Sarrazin should be quicker on paper, but Heidfeld could surprise. I’d be surprised if this team isn’t a winner in its first season.

VIRGIN RACING: Jaime Alguersuari, Sam Bird

Alex Tai is the team principal but Sir Richard Branson is the face of Virgin Racing, which re-appears on the motorsports scene after prior stints as Brawn GP sponsor and as the team precursor to what’s now known as Marussia.

Alguersuari has something to prove after being chewed up and spit out of F1 by Red Bull, via Toro Rosso. He’s still young enough – he’s only 24 – and will be motivated to succeed in this season.

Bird is one of racing’s rising stars. He was woefully unlucky to have never had a proper F1 shot after his GP2 career, and since has been ridiculously fast driving an AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia in GTE in the FIA WEC. We’ll see whether his natural speed can translate into FE this season.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Motocross season opener: Jett Lawrence rockets to the top

SuperMotocross Rankings season opener
Align Media

As the SuperMotocross season heads outdoors, the NBC Power Rankings change significantly with results from the Motocross opener at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. The Power Rankings assign a numeric value to each individual moto (90 points maximum) as well as the overall standings (100 points) and averages that number over the past 45 days. Included in the Power Rankings are results from the final five Supercross rounds, which fit into that 45-day timeframe.

Dylan Ferrandis finished on the podium in his first race back after experience a concussion in Supercross Round 4 at Houston. – Align Media

It didn’t take long for Jett Lawrence to rocket to the top of the SuperMotocross rankings – only about 74 minutes in fact. Lawrence dominated his first moto and beat his teammate Chase Sexton, the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross champion, to the line by 10 seconds. He had to fight a little harder for the second moto win as Sexton stalked him throughout the race and ended up less than a second behind.

Beginning this week, we have added the SuperMotocross points’ ranking beside the rider’s name and in one fell swoop, Lawrence went from being unranked in the 450 class to 26th. To qualify for the inaugural SuperMotocross’ guaranteed 20 positions that automatically make the gate for the three-race championship series, Lawrence needs to be inside the top 20 in combined Supercross and Motocross points. The bubble is currently held by Justin Starling and Lawrence needs to make up 44 points to overtake him.

Sexton’s second-place finish in the overall standings at Fox Raceway marked his ninth consecutive top-five finish. After the race, Sexton compared the battle he had with Lawrence to the one he experienced with Eli Tomac in last year’s Pro Motocross championship. These two riders had a significant advantage over the field in Pala, but there is still a lot of racing to be completed.

MORE: Jett Lawrence wastes no time, wins first 450 race

After missing 13 rounds to a concussion, Dylan Ferrandis told NBC Sports that he was not going to do anything risky in the season opener at Fox Raceway. If he dialed back his effort at all, one would be hard-pressed to notice. He finished third in both motos and was third in the overall standings. Ferrandis began the weekend just outside the top 20 in combined SuperMotocross points and climbed to 19th. In the next few weeks, he will get a little more breathing room over the cutline and then challenge for wins.

Adam Cianciarulo’s three-race streak of top-five finishes ended with a sixth-place overall at Fox Raceway, but that was enough to advance him one position in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings and land him eighth in the combined points standings. His individual motos were moderate, but Cianciarulo is still battling the effects of injury and a nagging loss of strength in his wrist.

Aaron Plessinger returned from injury in the Supercross season finale to finish second at Salt Lake City. He added another top-five to his season total and now has six of those in the 13 rounds he’s made. With Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac not currently racing in Motocross, Plessinger has an opportunity to rise to the third seeding in short order.

450 Rankings

Driver (SMX rank) Power
1. Jett Lawrence (26) 93.33 NA
2. Chase Sexton (1) 92.36 1 -1
3. Dylan Ferrandis (19) 89.00 NA
4. Adam Cianciarulo (8) 82.89 5 1
5. Aaron Plessinger (5) 81.20 9 4
6. Justin Hill (9)
Not racing MX
79.75 8 2
7. Ken Roczen (4)
injured | Not racing MX
79.13 3 -4
8. Jose Butron (30) 75.67 NA
9. Lorenzo Locurcio (29) 75.00 NA
10. Eli Tomac (2)
74.50 2 -8
11. Dean Wilson (10)
Not racing MX
72.88 7 -4
12. Cooper Webb (3) 71.17 6 -6
13. Jerry Robin (32) 70.33 NA
14. Justin Barcia (6)
70.00 4 -10
15. Kyle Chisholm (15) 65.36 11 -4
16. Dante Oliveira (36) 65.00 NA
17. Shane McElrath (11)
Not racing MX
63.63 12 -5
18. Ryan Surratt (38) 63.33 NA
19. Josh Hill (13)
Not racing MX
62.38 13 -6
20. Justin Starling (20)
Not racing MX
62.13 19 -1

Motocross 450 Points

A bad start to Moto 1 at Fox Raceway was not enough to deter Hunter Lawrence. Neither was the fact that he was riding with sore ribs after experiencing a practice crash earlier in the week. He was a distant 10th to start the first race and for most of the 30 minutes, it seemed he would finish off the podium. Lawrence did not win the 250 East Supercross championship by giving in to hopelessness or pain, however.

Lawrence picked off one rider and then another until he found the battle for the top five in front of him at the halfway point. Once the field started to lap riders, Lawrence used the opportunity to continue forward through the grid. He passed third-place Jo Shimoda with two laps remaining and challenged Maximus Vohland for second on the final trip around Fox Raceway, but had to settle for the final spot on the podium. Lawrence dominated Moto 2 and claimed the overall victory in Pala.

Justin Cooper made his first start of the season at Fox Raceway and earned enough NBC Power Average points to climb to second. Partly this was due to consistently strong runs in both motos and a 5-4 that gave him the fifth position overall, but he is also not weighed down with moderate Supercross results. It will take a week or two to see where his strength lands him on the grid.

Motocross 250 Points

In only his third Pro Motocross National, Haiden Deegan scored a second-place finish in the overall standings. – Align Media

RJ Hampshire may feel he has something to prove after finishing second to Jett Lawrence in the 250 SX West division. He certainly rode like that was the case in Moto 1 and easily outpaced the field on his way to victory lane. In Moto 2, he crashed twice on Lap 1 and dropped back to 39th. It took half of the race to get inside the top 20 and salvage points. By the end of the race, he was 11th and while that was enough to get him on the overall podium, it cost him points in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

Haiden Deegan surprised the field in Houston in his 250 Supercross debut by finishing fifth. At the time, he said his strong result was because there were no expectations. He echoed that statement after the Motocross season opener. His second-place finish in the overall standings was enough to project him five positions up the SuperMotocross Rankings. In 11 rounds in the combined series, Deegan has earned seven top-fives and a worst finish of eighth.

Jo Shimoda did not make his first Supercross race of 2023 until late in the season. He finished fourth on the hybrid track of Atlanta, which had some similar elements to Fox Raceway. His fourth-place finish in Moto 1 of the Motocross opener made it seem likely he would score an overall podium, but a sixth in the second race cost him points in the NBC Power Rankings in a field that promises to be extremely tight.

250 Rankings

Driver (SMX rank) Power
1. Hunter Lawrence (1) 89.56 2 1
2. Justin Cooper (42) 84.67 NA
3. RJ Hampshire (3) 83.67 3 0
3. Haiden Deegan (4) 83.67 8 5
5. Jo Shimoda (16) 82.33 7 2
6. Guillem Farres (46) 79.33 NA
7. Levi Kitchen (6) 79.11 5 -2
8. Max Anstie (5) 77.83 12 4
9. Max Vohland (8) 77.50 14 5
10. Enzo Lopes (10) 76.00 11 1
11. Mitchell Oldenburg (13) 74.25 16 5
12. Carson Mumford (19) 71.22 17 5
13. Jordon Smith (7) 70.56 9 -4
14. Ryder DiFrancesco (48) 70.33 NA
15. Chris Blose (12) 67.00 13 -2
16. Chance Hymas (27) 66.00 19 3
17. Tom Vialle (9) 65.78 18 1
18. Jett Reynolds (55) 63.33 NA
19. Michael Mosiman (28) 62.33 20 1
20. Garrett Marchbanks (64) 59.00 NA

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner in Supercross and overall winner in Motocross. It awards 90 points for each Moto, Heat and Triple Crown win. The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 13 AT ATLANTA: Justin Barcia leapfrogs the Big 3
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 11 AT SEATTLE: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT DETROIT: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Eli Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Ken Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage