Start of the Formula E season: Who will be battling to become World Champion?

25-02-2021 11:03
F1 News
Start of the Formula E season: Who will be battling to become World Champion?

The Formula E season will officially start on Thursday evening with the first practice session of this season in Saudi Arabia. Read everything you need to know before the start of the new season here.

The start of the Formula E season

The seventh Formula E season is about to begin. The season was supposed to start in 2020, as usual, but the ongoing pandemic meant that races in Mexico and Sanya were postponed. The season was to start in Santiago in January, but again delays were made. As a result, the season start had to wait until now, in Saudi Arabia.

The Diriyah ePrix was first held in 2018 as a single race, but was also a double race in 2019, just like in 2020. The first race in 2018 was won by Antonio Felix da Costa, after which two Brits, Sam Bird and Alexander Sims, took the victories in 2019. Also in 2020, there are two more races on the program.

Furthermore, the calendar is still fairly empty. Eight races are planned. Saudi Arabia is followed by a race in Italy, Spain, Monaco, Morocco and two races in Chile. All other races have yet to be announced. 

The participants of 2021

Just like in the previous season, the Formula E field consists of 12 teams and 24 drivers. At the start are four men who have already managed to win the Formula E championship. Nelson Piquet Jr. is the only former winner who is not at the start of the season. Two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne and the other former winners Sebastien Buemi, Lucas di Grassi and Antonio Felix da Costa are back.

Among the 24 participants in 2021, there are seven British drivers. Oliver Turvey and Tom Blomqvist will both be driving for the NIO 333 FE team. Alexander Sims and Alex Lynn form the other all British team at Mahindra Racing. Oliver Rowland will partner former winner Buemi at Nissan e.dams, whilst Jake Dennis will compete for Andretti. Nine-time Formula E race winner Sam Bird will compete for British team Jaguar.    

The favourites for 2021

In 2020, DS Techeetah was the team to beat. With Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa, the team has a phenomenal line-up of former Red Bull talents, and now two champions since last year. Da Costa won the title last season, at the expense of his teammate who already had two titles to his name. 

Techeetah appeared to have to fight internally in 2020 because hardly anyone came close over an entire season. Stoffel Vandoorne came second in the drivers' championship for Mercedes and with his consistent performance, seems perhaps the biggest challenger of the Techeetah duo. De Vries had difficulty keeping up with his teammate in 2020, will that be possible in 2021 with a year of experience in his pocket?

Former champions Vergne and Buemi are men to watch again in 2021, and Sam Bird making his debut for Jaguar is also a dangerous customer. The Brit's problem, however, is that he wins or crashes. Consistent performance is often hard to find. The same can be said of his former teammate Robin Frijns, who also had a lot of bad luck in 2020.

Then a number of outsiders. What about Pascal Wehrlein in a Porsche? Lightning-fast. René Rast's first full season at Audi is also one to keep an eye on and Maximillian Günther's performance in 2020 was striking. What can the young German do in 2021?

The timetable for the first ePrix

As mentioned, the 2021 Formula E season starts on Thursday in Saudi Arabia. On Thursday there will be the first practice session at 3:00 PM UK time. On Friday, the weekend will be continued at 11:00 with a second practice session, after which there will be a battle for pole at 13:00. The first race of the season starts at 5:03 PM Dutch time.

On Saturday is "the second race weekend", where there is another practice at 10:45. A second qualifying session will follow at 13:00, with the second race of the season at 17:03.

This article was written and originally published by Tim on the Dutch edition of GPblog.com.

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