With its first race set to take place in Beijing this September, Formula E has today made a step towards announcing its first set of drivers as eight established names signed up to the series’ Drivers’ Club.
The Drivers’ Club, which includes six former Formula One competitors, sees those announced giving their endorsement to the series and putting their name in the hat for a race seat.
Up until now Lucas Di Grassi had acted as the sole test driver of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car, however the group of eight can now carry out pre-season tests.
Included are former Toro Rosso driver, Red Bull Reserve and Le Mans competitor Sebastian Buemi, HRTs Karun Chandhok, Virgin’s Lucas Di Grassi and former Grand Prix drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi, Takuma Sato.
Amongst the ten teams that are waiting for FIA approval is Andretti Autosport, headed by Michael Andretti and father to Marco Andretti, whose has also joined the Drivers Club.
China’s HRT and Caterham test driver, Ma Qing Ha and French DTM driver Adrien Tambay complete the line-up.
Judging by the names announced today and the teams that are set to compete it is simple to judge where some of the drivers will be driving. It is unlikely that we will see Marco Andretti at anywhere other than Andretti Autosport, for example.
Sato should find himself at Super Aguri, with whom he competed in 39 Grands Prix, whilst Ha and Tambey may race for Asia’s China Racing and Audi Sport ABT respectively.
The more high profile names of Buemi, Chandhok and Liuzzi will have more freedom of choice and team capability should be more of a factor than previous relationships.
“From the very beginning, we have set out to deliver great racing to fans across the globe and to do that you need high calibre drivers,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings. “Now that we’ve announced all 10 teams, everyone is keen to find out who the drivers will be.”
For Buemi, who will have a hectic racing schedule this year with F1 and WEC commitments, the series that runs across the Winter months will allow for more racing as well as being part of a revolutionary series.
“I’m very happy to be a part of the new Formula E Drivers’ Club,” said Sebastien Buemi. “Motorsport should be seen to be the leader in developing and pushing new sustainable technologies so it will be great to see how this will influence not only motorsport but future road cars and the environment. The calendar is very strong and brings the racing to the fans, and the new Formula E car looks like it will be a lot of fun to drive.”