The pure-electric single-seater racing series of Formula E has been buzzing around since 2014. Since its inception, various carmakers have joined the competition with the most recent high-profile addition being Porsche. It’s also undergone a generational update as a racing series in 2018 with cars that looked way cooler and had more nearly double the range. With the third-generation of FE due to arrive in 2022, the likes of BMW and Audi have decided to pull out after the 7th season.
Both brands have technically been part of the series since its inception but only joined as fully-factory backed teams fairly recently. The Abt Schaeffler team became Audi’s main team in 2017 while the Andretti Motorsport team became BMW’s works team in 2018 with the second-gen racer. While both teams enjoyed race wins and podiums, only the Audi team enjoyed the Constructor’s title for the fourth season (2017-18).
At the end of November, Audi announced plans to quit FE after the 2021 season to focus instead on the Dakar Rally in 2022 and the upcoming LMDh category in endurance racing in 2023. The Ingolstadt-based carmaker will continue to support customer teams in the electric motorsport series. Not long after that, BMW announced its exit from Formula E as well along the same timeline. This carmaker did not mention plans for other motorsports but instead stated that it has exhausted the opportunities of technology transfer in Formula E for its development of e-drivetrains.
Only one carmaker has so far confirmed its participation in the third generation of Formula E: Mahindra. The Indian automotive brand has also been part of the series since its inception and has enjoyed some degree of success with a bunch of podiums and 3 race wins. However, the sixth season of 2019-20 has been the team’s worst one yet. Other manufacturers in Formula E include Jaguar, Nissan and Porsche while the rest of the grid comprises of private teams including reigning champions Techeetah.
The Auto Loons started following Formula E in its fourth season (2017-18) with the intent to continue for the following seasons. However, not all races felt worth watching as the street circuits did not make for an entertaining spectacle in my opinion. The dusty and narrow circuits lined with endless fencing and hoardings were more off-putting than the interest generated by the bumper-car action of Formula E. Also, the whine of the electric motors does not translate well for TV especially for viewers hooked onto the sound of fossil fuels exploding.
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