► Formula E’s delayed Season 7 begins
► Calendar could add more rounds as Covid eases
► Champions DS aim to hold off stiff competition
Formula E’s Season 7 is about to begin. The organisers are billing it as the 2020-2021 season, although the Covid-interrupted Season 6 didn’t finish until last August, and there have been no races since then.
The repeatedly rearranged calendar for Season 7, Formula E’s first season as an FIA world championship, starts with a double header in Saudi Arabia on 26-27 February, then the plan is Rome and Valencia (on an adapted version of the circuit) in April, Monaco and Marrakesh in May, and two races in Chile in June.
Other events may be added when Covid allows. London, New York, Paris, Mexico City and Seoul are among the cities that had been lined-up for events this season.
DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne – two-time champion, who lost his crown last year to team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa – told CAR: ‘I’m so happy to see Monaco on the full track – that’s going to be amazing. It’s a very nice calendar. I hope it’s going to be able to hold. We never know how the Covid situation is going to evolve.
‘I’m actually quite happy the season has been a bit postponed because I was able to train longer. It was really important to me to really try and increase my general physical performance, because once the season starts I’m not going to have that much time to train. There’s going to be a lot of travelling and we’ll probably be stuck in hotel rooms quite a lot because of the Covid situation.
‘There are so many good drivers and good teams out there that I cannot regard Antonio as my only competitor. Everybody has the potential to be on the podium. It’s very competitive. You just need to be very consistent, not make any mistakes, and try and be there at the end of the year.’
Vergne, who’s been in Formula E since 2015, said: ‘It’s changed a lot. Everything’s got a lot more professional. More big names involved, more manufacturers, sponsors coming in as well, more cities coming in. I remember the first race, it was like back in the old days in karting, everybody having fun, everybody drinking at night, fun between the drivers and the team. We were part of something new. We had no idea if the championship was going to exist the year after and we were just going to enjoy the moment. When things got more professional, the team of people around you got a lot bigger, and the expectations were very high.’
The Season 7 line-up of 12 teams and 24 drivers includes Mercedes, Audi, Nio, Porsche, Nissan, BMW and Jaguar. DS is among the teams that has committed to the Gen3 technical changes that are due in Season 9, McLaren has shown interest, and Alfa Romeo has been rumoured as a potential entrant, but both Audi and BMW have said they’ll exit at the end of Season 7.