The FIA have today confirmed a list of nine teams that have been accepted for homologation for the 2018/2019 Formula E World Championship. This means that these nine teams have committed to the championship up until 2021, with 2018 seeing the debut of a new standardised chassis and battery design.
Highlights of homologation for 2018 onwards not only include the new physical body design for the Formula E cars, but also the new batteries supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies that will end the need for teams to use two cars during a race.
The list includes two-time constructors’ champions Renault, as well as other series regulars such as ABT Formel E, Mahindra, NextEV, Penske (Dragon Racing) and Venturi. Jaguar Land Rover, who joined prior to this season, remain committed, as do DS Automobiles; who submitted an application to become a manufacturer in their own right in the hopes of becoming a full team in the future.
The highlight of the list, possibly, was the inclusion of BMW as a manufacturer. BMW have been working with the Andretti team over the last few years, but the German marque confirmed last September that they wished to progress to become a works-team eventually:
“Planning is underway to compete with a works team in season five. We still have a lot of work to do, but we have taken the first steps,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt, “If the series continues with this positive development, we want to be perfectly prepared for the potential works entry in season five.”
Since Formula E was in its early beginnings, the championship’s key purpose was to advance electric power in the automotive industry. Series CEO, Alejandro Agag, again underlined the importance of manufacturers such as BMW in accomplishing this goal:
“The mission of the FIA Formula E Championship is to act as a platform to advance the development of electric vehicle technology and alternative energy solutions – this hinges on the participation of automotive and component manufacturers,” Agag said today, “When we launched the series in 2012, we had forecast to secure at least three manufacturers by Season 5. The news today has highlighted the number and quality of manufacturers joining the championship and tripling our initial expectations. This just goes to show the relevance of Formula E to the motor industry and as an attractive proposition to new audiences and commercial partners, such as the recent agreement with Allianz.”
Notable absentees from the list include Mercedes and McLaren. Both teams have recently expressed major interest in joining the championship as competitors, with Mercedes even securing an option to join the series for 2018/2019. However, neither group chose to submit applications as of yet. This does not mean that they cannot join the championship in the near future.
The next round of the ongoing 2016/2017 Formula E world championship takes place on April 1st in Mexico City. Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio is the reigning winner at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez after Lucas di Grassi was disqualified post-race last year. This year’s race will also see former F1 driver Esteban Gutiérrez race in Formula E for the first time after signing a deal to replace Ma Qing Hua at Techeetah.