This week will see the start of a Formula E extravaganza, of sorts, in Berlin where the series will hold six races across nine days in order to complete its sixth season with the six races utilising three different track configurations.
The original 2020 schedule would have seen the series contest eight further rounds across three months which included inaugural races in Seoul and Jakarta, as well as a return for the London ePrix as an end of season double header. Like everything else Formula E have had to heavily revise this in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Drivers’ Championship Antonio Felix da Costa heads to Berlin in the lead ahead of Mitch Evans and Alexander Sims. da Costa won the last race before Formula E was put on hiatus, the Marrakesh ePrix, where Evans finished sixth and Sims retired with Maximillian Gunther and Jean-Eric Vergne joining da Costa on the podium.
The win in Marrakesh made da Costa the fifth different winner in the opening five races as well as the fifth different leader of the Drivers’ Championship. Reigning champion Vergne finds himself in eighth in the championship as the series resumes in Berlin.Embed from Getty Images
There has been a mini silly season in Formula E since it last contested a race in Marrakesh with several driver moves having taken place.
The first driver change is at Audi where di Grassi will be partnered by Rene Rast after the German manufacturer sacked Daniel Abt after he had a sim racer take his place during one of the rounds in Formula E’s at Home Challenge Esports competition.
Rast has been part of Audi’s DTM squad and his only competitive Formula E experience came back in the 2015-16 season at the Berlin ePrix where he qualified thirteenth for the Team Aguri Formula E Team, but would not be classified in the race.
Despite being sacked by Audi Daniel Abt is due to compete in Berlin as he is replacing Ma Qinghua at NIO 333. This is because there are travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic which has meant Ma is unable to compete in Berlin.Embed from Getty Images
The next driver change is at Mahindra Racing where Alex Lynn has replaced Pascal Wehrlein who left the team almost immediately after the conclusion of the at Home Challenge Esports competition.
Lynn has previous experience within the series having driven for Jaguar and DS Virgin in the past, his best finish coming in the 2017-18 season with DS Virgin where he finished sixth at the Punta del Este ePrix.
The last two driver changes heading to Berlin, at the time of writing, is Sergio Sette Camara replacing Brendon Hartley at GEOX Dragon and Tom Blomqvist replacing James Calado at Jaguar Racing.Embed from Getty Images
By the time the lights go out for the first Berlin ePrix it will have been approximately five months since Formula E was last in action. The rapid revised schedule will undoubtedly influence where drivers and teams will ultimately finish in this season’s championships in what is already a highly competitive series.