The Formula E World Championship returns this weekend with the double-header Diriyah ePrix and excitement is certainly building for Season 8 of the all-electric racing series.
This season there is going to be 16 races across 10 different cities and the racing will be shown free-to-air in the UK on Channel 4.
Defending Team’s Champions Mercedes have already announced that they will be leaving the series at the end of the season and will be hoping to depart as two-time World Champions.
The reigning World Champion Nyck de Vries also returns with Mercedes and will be hoping that he can retain the title in slightly easier circumstances than he won it, with 18 drivers in with a shot at the title.
New drivers and rebranded teams
At the end of last season, we saw the departure of Audi and BMW, however, both remain in the series for season 8 providing powertrains to Envision and Andretti respectively.
BMW Andretti has been rebranded as Avalanche Andretti thanks to a new title sponsorship, while Jaguar will be known as Jaguar TCS Racing for this season.
Envision Virgin Racing have become simply Envision Racing after they took over ownership of the team.
There is also a number of new drivers in this season’s championship with Oliver Askew, Dan Ticktum and Antonio Giovinazzi joining the series.
Alex Lynn, René Rast and Tom Blomqvist have all departed the series to race elsewhere, while Norman Nato will move from a full-time seat with Venturi to a reserve role with Jaguar.
Familiar faces in new settings
Not only is there three new drivers on the grid this season, but three drivers from the Class of 2021 have also moved to a new team for 2022.
Lucas Di Grassi was left without a seat when Audi withdrew from the sport and will make the switch to Venturi Racing for Season 8.
Oliver Rowland – who found himself fortunate to get a seat in 2019 when Alex Albon was called up to Formula One – impressed with Nissan but will move to Mahindra for this season.
Maximilian Guenther replaces Rowland at Nissan, leaving his Andretti seat vacant for the Oliver Askew.
Brand new circuits and a return to the stadium
One of Formula E’s main goals is to race in as many different cities around the world in an environmentally friendly way and with as little disruption to city life as possible.
The Seoul ePrix doubleheader for the finale of Season 8 will be the first time that this event will be run after originally being on the calendar for the 2019-20 season and was cancelled last season as well due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jakarta ePrix will also take place for the first time with Indonesia getting its first Formula E race and it will also be the first FIA sanctioned race since the 2006 A1 Grand Prix round.
The Mexican ePrix will make its return to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez after being relocated to the Autódromo Miguel E. Abed for 2021.
Action-packed drama and a new qualifying format
With narrow street circuits and wide race cars, Formula E is a recipe for carnage. It will also be the first time in quite some time that these drivers will be racing in the cars and for some, it will be their first time.
There is also going to be a brand new qualifying format for this season, something that is hoping to eliminate the problematic style from last season. This format saw the title contenders almost always start down the back of the grid.
With group qualifying followed by 1v1 shootouts, it should create an exciting watch for the viewer, but we can only hope it won’t feel like it drags and makes people switch off ahead of the ePrix.