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FIA Formula E World Championship | Headline: A South African’s guide to Season 10 of Formula E

ABB Formula E

Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship kicked off to an absolute flyer, with different winners in all the races so far! Despite the all-electric series not returning to Cape Town in the 2023/24 season, there’s still so much to look forward to for South African fans. So, before the season continues for round six in Misano, Italy, let’s take a look at everything you need to know!

Who are the title contenders?

Returning champion Jake Dennis will look to defend his title and become only the second driver in Formula E, after Jean-Eric Vergne, to win the title in back-to-back seasons. Dennis claimed his first Formula E title in front of his home crowd in London and set a Formula E record for the most podiums (11) in a season during his title success.

Dennis will be closely chased by several drivers, including Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver Pascal Wehrlein. Wehrlein and Dennis traded first and second place on the standings for much of last season, and the German driver will no doubt be looking to keep hold of first place until the end of this season, come 2023/24. His title offence has begun on a strong note, as the Porsche driver stormed to victory in the opening race of the season.

After his victory in Mexico City, Wehrlein said, “It’s definitely great to start the season like this, last season - especially the second half - was frustrating, so we stick together and we try to improve all our weaknesses, so we don’t suffer the same issues”.

One should also not discount the Jarguar TCS Racing pairing of Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans, who finished second and third respectively in Season 9. Cassidy is a new arrival at Jaguar and is fresh off the back of leading Envision Racing to their first team championship in Season 9.

Both drivers will be in the hunt for their first driver’s title and in the process will look to claim Jaguar’s first-ever Formula E team’s championship. Jaguar narrowly missed out on the Season 9 team’s championship to Envision Racing by only 12 points and will be hoping Cassidy can help them go one step further this season.

 

Are any South Africans involved?

When Formula E visited the Mother City in February 2023, the talk of the town was undoubtedly South African driver Kelvin van der Linde. Van der Linde was set to race for ABT Cupra after filling in for the injured Robin Frijns but could not race due to mechanical issues.

While Van der Linde doesn’t have a permanent seat in Formula E for Season 10, he is still the ABT Cupra reserve driver. Therefore, if one of Lucas di Grassi or Nico Müller is unable to race, we could see the Johannesburg-born driver temporarily return to the grid.

Staying on the Van der Linde front, there might also be some potential to see Kelvin’s younger brother, Sheldon behind the wheel of a Formula E car in 2024. Sheldon, who is three years younger than Kelvin, tested with Jaguar during the rookie test in Berlin, a free practice session in Rome, and the Season 10 pre-season rookie test. One should not rule out seeing him take to the Formula E track again during a test session in Season 10.

Speaking about his fellow countryman, James Barclay, Jaguar team principal stated, “Sheldon's résumé is without question, and we [were] very pleased to have this very talented young driver in one of our cars”.

One South African who is guaranteed to be in Mexico City for the start of the season is Jaguar team principal James Barclay. Barclay was born in Kyalami in Johannesburg and joined Jaguar in 2013 as global head of sponsorship and brand partnerships and quickly rose through the ranks to his current position. He was promoted to team principal in 2015 when Jaguar joined Formula E.

On Season 10, Barclay says “In Mitch [Evans], we know we have a driver who's fought for the title for the last three years. Then with Nick [Cassidy] driving it, we can absolutely do the same. We're really excited. We have the right ingredients. We can't control the competition, and they will be very strong, but it’s about us executing every race, every session, really well”.

Motor racing, ABB Formula E

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