Friday’s official confirmation of Mahindra’s deal with Lucas di Grassi is the first in what’s expected to be a quick-fire series of 2023 Formula E driver announcements.
The Race has already revealed details of all those that are signed and sealed over recent months, but many teams are choosing to wait until after the conclusion of the 2022 season in Seoul this weekend to make their driver deals public.
Formula E fans should be poised for things to move quickly once this weekend is done, though.
Here’s what to expect in the weeks ahead as the 2023 grid takes shape:
MASERATI (CURRENTLY VENTURI)
Edoardo Mortara is expected to retain his seat with the Monaco based outfit that’s currently Venturi but will become Maserati, while 2021 champion Nyck de Vries is expected to take up an offer to join him there in the coming weeks, as first reported by The Race in June.
De Vries’ current team-mate and champion elect Stoffel Vandoorne is expected to be confirmed at a new-look DS Penske operation alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, as what’s currently Dragon Penske takes over the DS deal that achieved multiple championship successes with Techeetah and gets long-time DS man Vergne along with it. Both de Vries and Vandoorne needed new FE employers given Mercedes is pulling out after this weekend.
Vergne’s current DS Techeetah team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa will join Pascal Wehrlein at Porsche, as revealed by The Race in March, and could be announced shortly after the final races in Seoul this weekend.
JAGUAR AND ENVISION
Jaguar has long since confirmed fresh deals for Sam Bird and Mitch Evans, while its new customer partner Envision will race with current driver Nick Cassidy and Sebastien Buemi – whose long relationship with the e.dams-run Nissan operation will end after South Korea.
Nissan will race with Formula E rookie Sacha Fenestraz and one of either current driver Maximilian Guenther or this weekend’s Bird replacement Norman Nato – a race winner for Venturi last season.
Jake Dennis will stay with Andretti Avalanche into Gen3 as it switches to Porsche kit and is set to be joined by present works Porsche driver Andre Lotterer in place of Oliver Askew, although this is believed not to be contractually signed-off yet.
The returning Abt operation is understood to be finalising deals with current Envision driver Robin Frijns and sometime Dragon driver Nico Mueller.
The question marks concern the new McLaren squad being created from what’s currently Mercedes EQ, and NIO 333.
Rene Rast is set to return to Formula E with McLaren but the identity of his team-mate remains unclear.
Current NIO 333 driver and long-time McLaren tester Oliver Turvey, potential Nissan departure Guenther and sometime Formula 1 racer Will Stevens (another McLaren simulator and test driver) are believed to be in a pool of interested drivers, with 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class winner Stevens having been introduced to team principal Ian James at the London E-Prix last month.
The chances of Felix Rosenqvist returning to Formula E in that McLaren seat have declined considerably despite McLaren announcing earlier this year that it could place him there if it moved him out of its IndyCar team.
Rosenqvist and McLaren recently clarified to The Race that if the team doesn’t activate its IndyCar option on Rosenqvist, he is free to chase his own drive elsewhere – and he’d prefer to stay in IndyCar.
Sergio Sette Camara, who was previously thought not to be in the frame for a seat at McLaren, is understood to have recently re-entered the fray as a possible choice should Rosenqvist stay in the US.
NIO 333 could keep both current drivers Turvey and Dan Ticktum but was also known to be speaking to Mercedes reserve Jake Hughes and Dragon driver Sette Camara.
It’s not yet clear if Techeetah can continue racing into the Gen3 era even after parting ways with long-time manufacturer partner DS Automobiles, or who might compete for it if it does so.
LIKELY 2023 FORMULA E DRIVER LINE-UP
Maserati: Edoardo Mortara/Nyck de Vries
DS Penske: Stoffel Vandoorne/Jean-Eric Vergne
Jaguar: Mitch Evans/Sam Bird
Envision: Nick Cassidy/Sebastien Buemi
Porsche: Antonio Felix da Costa/Pascal Wehrlein
Avalanche Andretti: Jake Dennis/Andre Lotterer
Nissan: Sacha Fenestraz/Maximilian Guenther or Norman Nato
Mahindra: Lucas di Grassi/Oliver Rowland
NIO 333: Options – Oliver Turvey, Dan Ticktum, Jake Hughes, Sergio Sette Camara
McLaren: Rene Rast/Will Stevens or Oliver Turvey or Maximilian Guenther
Techeetah: Future unclear