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Formula E

Buemi’s move to Envision on two-year Formula E deal announced

by Sam Smith
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Sebastien Buemi will extend his Formula E career into a 10th season after being announced at the Envision Racing team for the first phase of the Gen3 era on a deal that lasts for two years.

As revealed by The Race in June, Buemi, who has completed eight seasons in the all-electric world championship, will join Nick Cassidy at the Chinese-owned team as it transitions from its most recent Audi-supported technical set-up to one involving Jaguar as its car supplier.

The 2015-16 champion got his first running with Jaguar power at Varano last month when he spent a day with the manufacturer Jaguar team running its test and development car.

“It’s an interesting time to be part of Formula E and I can’t wait to start driving for Envision Racing next season,” said Buemi.

“I have always had a huge amount of respect for the team, and I believe they’ve done a great job in maximising results over the years. The new Gen3 era is hugely important for the sport and presents a new challenge, with a faster, lighter and more powerful car.

“My objective is to fight at the front, so I’m looking forward to start testing and preparing myself ahead of the first race in Mexico City.”

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Buemi confirmed that he was leaving Nissan, the team he has driven for since Formula E’s inception, shortly after the final 2022 race in Seoul. He is believed to have confirmed his two-season deal with Envision just before last May’s Berlin E-Prix.

The move to Envision follows a difficult final three seasons of Gen2 racing with Nissan e.dams, in which Buemi managed just one race win – at the New York City E-Prix in 2019.

Although still a joint all-time race winner, Buemi has endured a slump in competitiveness since Nissan was forced to revert to a single-motor set-up on its first Gen2 challenger in the autumn of 2019.

That came after dual-motor powertrain configurations were outlawed by the FIA for the 2019-20 season because rival manufacturers believed that the way in which the Nissan IM01 twin-motor design was harnessing its power on track violated a long held ‘within the spirit of the rules’ understanding.

This meant Nissan had to scramble to be ready with a new powertrain for the following season, but the Japanese manufacturer still ended up in the winner’s circle as Oliver Rowland scored his breakthrough triumph in Berlin.

Buemi still finished a point ahead of his team-mate with four podium positions in a campaign that was viewed at the time as reasonably positive, especially after the disruption the FIA’s late regulation call made.

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The third iteration of Nissan, the IM03, was introduced at Monaco in 2021, but despite flashes of promise it simply never delivered.

Soon there were rumours of a fundamental issue somewhere within the inverter of the car that could not be rectified during the two season homologation that covered the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

This all contributed significantly to by far the e.dams team’s worst season in Formula E as Buemi and team-mate Maximilian Guenther scored 36 points between them, 31 fewer than in the 2021 campaign.

Midway through the most recent campaign Nissan confirmed that it would become the sole owner of the Formula E team after buying out the former majority-stake holding e.dams had in the operation.

Nissan then commissioned the ART GP organisation with assisting in the Gen3 development testing process while a new structure in the team began to form for 2023.

This came after former e.dams managing director, Francois Sicard, took up a position at the FIA in June. Buemi and Guenther will be replaced by Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz for the 2023 season.

The Envision Racing team has been through its own changes after dropping the Virgin moniker ahead of the 2022 season.

It restructured its engineering team after the retirement of the experienced Chris Gorne at the end of the 2021 season. The team is now headed technically by former Carlin and Red Bull engineer Mike Lugg, who has held the role of technical director since 2021. Additionally, former NIO and HWA engineer Robert Sattler joined the team for 2022 as Cassidy’s race engineer.

The team made a beeline for Buemi when it became clear that it would not continue with Robin Frijns last spring, while Cassidy signed a long-term agreement with the team in 2021.

Frijns signed for ABT shortly after this period joining Nico Mueller, who like Buemi will combine a full Formula E season with a World Endurance Championship schedule after recently being confirmed as one part of the Peugeot hypercar programme.

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