2023 is behind us and we’re getting closer and closer to the start of the next Formula E season, set to kick off in January with the opening E-Prix in Mexico, followed by the double header at Diriyah. A championship with a top-level grid, but filled with uncertainty. One thing’s for sure, though: excitement will abound as always. Let the battle commence.
The hunt for Dennis’ crown
After emerging victorious in 2023, defending world champion Jake Dennis will look to make it back-to-back titles. The Andretti driver will sport the number 1 on his car, a source of both envy and fear for the whole paddock. But there will be no shortage of opponents for the Brit this year.
Let’s start with the usual suspects. Jaguar’s Nick Cassidy, who finished runner-up in the 2023 championship, is expected to be the number one candidate to take the fight to Dennis. The Kiwi driver simply cannot afford to not deliver in a season where contracts and driver market will be among the main talking points of the year. The same goes for the other driver in Jaguar colors, Mitch Evans, arguably last season’s biggest loser. The Aussie has made clear that he wants to carry on the momentum from the final part of 2023 and not repeat the mistake of having a slow start to his campaign. Evans, in fact, was in no man’s land at the beginning of 2023, not scoring a single top-5 finish in the first five races.
De Vries’ last chance
A driver having all eyes on him will undoubtedly be Nyck de Vries, who returns to Formula E after a disappointing and very criticized stint in Formula 1 with AlphaTauri. The Dutchman will try and redeem himself in the series that crowned him champion in 2021. Mahindra’s call might very well be De Vries’ last chance to prove his worth, which means every mistake could be costly. And having Edoardo Mortara on the other side of the garage is certainly not going to make life any easier for the 2021 world champion.
Outsiders looking to bounce back
There are plenty of drivers aiming at establishing themselves as consistent frontrunners. One of them is Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein: the former Mercedes protégé had a brilliant start to his 2023 season, but faded in the second half of the championship, rarely making any top-5 appearances. A change of pace will be necessary. 2023 was also a year to forget for the Penske duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne – especially for the Belgian, who never looked competitive throughout the season.
Keep an eye out for Norman Nato. Next year, the Frenchman will have a big opportunity to be at the front in many Grand Prix races, and hopefully get that first win he has come close to achieving on multiple occasions in the second half of 2023. Maximilian Gunther also enjoyed a very positive end to the season and, being now the number one driver at Maserati, has the potential to carry that form into 2024.
Original article (Italian): Michele Massa
Translation: Claudio Scalia