Formula E Season 9 Preview: New Cars, New Teams, New Locations

Season 9 and a new era of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is just days away, with the most powerful, lightest and fastest electric race cars in world motorsport set to ‘Go Green’ at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on 14 January.

Some 40,000 spectators are expected to fill the grandstands at the famed Foro Sol for what will be the first race of Formula E’s latest generation, with revolutionary cars and a grid of 22 world class drivers, representing the biggest racing and automotive names, set to compete for FIA World Championship honours.

A new era brings new additions to the Formula E calendar for next season.

Alongside old favourites like Mexico City, Rome and Monaco, Formula E will race in four brand new locations in 2023, starting with Hyderabad in India on the 11 February. Two weeks later, on the 25th, we’ll head to South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town, before hitting the vibrant streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on the 25 March.

Then, on 24 June, Formula E will return to the USA; specifically the beautiful state of Orgeon, for the Portland E-Prix.

World class grid

A seismic off-season shift has seen just a single team retaining the driver line-up that rounded out the Gen2 era as teams look to hit the ground running.

DS Automobiles has partnered with PENSKE AUTOSPORT for 2022/23 and they’ve signed two of the biggest names on the grid to steer them to glory; reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne and Formula E’s only double champion Jean-Eric Vergne.

Two massive names in McLaren and Maserati are set to enter the fold in 2022/23 alongside the cream of the world’s EV manufacturers and race teams on the Formula E grid.

Both teams will race for the top prize alongside giants of the sport like legendary British marque Jaguar – with Jaguar TCS Racing the only team on the grid to field an unchanged driver line-up, American racing icons Andretti, Nissan, multiple Formula E champions DS, Indian automaker Mahindra, sporting legends Porsche, Chinese EV pioneers NIO, among the most decorated of race teams in German squad ABT Sportsline – who welcome Spanish automaker CUPRA on-board from Season 9 with Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller behind the wheel.

A huge tech leap

Formula E’s 11 teams and 22 drivers have had private testing and three days together in Valencia to rack up the mileage and acquaint themselves with their all-new Gen3 machinery.

Teams have a whole new challenge for Season 9 with Formula E heading into the Gen3 era. It’s a massive leap in technology that’s come together to create the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric single-seater ever – and the most sustainable too.

The headlines are a 200mph (320kph) top speed, a 60kg lighter, smaller chassis, an additional front powertrain plus a power output 100kW up on Gen2 at 350kw with double the regen capacity – meaning more than 40% of the energy used in-race is via regeneration under braking. The drivers say that will all add up to more overtaking and livelier cars around Formula E’s calendar of street circuits.

It’s clear that there’s plenty of scope for improvement; there’ll have been a host of tweaks off the back of Valencia, heading into this Mexico opener – and this is just the start. The drivers were clearly excited about Gen3’s potential.

A return to Mexico City

This weekend Formula E makes a seventh visit to a circuit that’s been on the calendar since Season 2, save for a trip to Puebla in Season 7 – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

The 19-turn, 2.630km circuit is a perfect mix of long, fast straights and a technical infield section that passes right through the legendary Foro Sol stadium – housing tens of thousands of fans.

There’s a new chicane this year on the back straight, while the ATTACK MODE activation zone is now on the outside of Turn 15 at the exit of the stadium section – more of a challenge this time around.

Sporting evolution

Alongside the revolutionary machinery on-track, Formula E’s sporting regulations have undergone evolutionary updates to ring in the new era. A lap total will replace time in setting a race distance, with additional laps added for Safety Car and Full Course Yellow interruptions to racing.

Later in Season 9, ATTACK CHARGE, using pioneering battery and charging technology, will allow the newer, smaller, lighter Gen3 cars to receive an in-race energy boost – delivered at a lightning-quick 600kW. This mandatory 30-second stop will unlock two ATTACK MODE periods with the cars running at 350kW vs the stock 300kW.

Upcoming racing talent will also get their opportunity to shine in the world’s leading electric racing championship with teams fielding rookie drivers in two Free Practice 1 sessions over the season; with FP1 itself now set to take place a day prior to raceday throughout the season.

Blagojce Krivevski

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