2022 will be the final season for the Gen 2 Formula E cars before teams receive delivery of their Gen 3 cars in the spring, ready for season nine. The Gen 3 cars promise more power, front and rear powertrains, and lighter weight. These changes will result in faster and closer racing than ever before.
The current Gen 2 has been the base car for all Formula E teams since the 2018-2019 season. This means that the returning drivers will be very familiar with their cars, allowing them to leverage their experience behind the wheel.
The 2022 Calendar
The 2022 calendar consists of sixteen races on ten circuits all over the world, starting with two races in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on 28th January. The season finale will also be a double race in Seoul, South Korea, in August.
Arguably, the season's highlights are the return of the Monaco, New York and London Formula E-Prix races. These prestigious locations provide tight, crowd-pleasing racing.
During a qualifying session in Formula E, the way the track develops throughout the session plays a significant part in the results. In previous seasons, the drivers had to go out in order of standing to keep the racing as exciting as possible. The problem with this format was that drivers who got on track first couldn't qualify as well as those at the back of the pack.
Following heavy criticism, the FIA has completely changed the qualifying format for 2022.
The drivers will be divided into two groups, A and B. Group A drivers will be those in odd places in the standings, while Group B will consist of drivers with even positions.
Both groups have twelve minutes to set the most competitive time possible. However, the first timed round must be within the first six minutes. The drivers can complete as many laps as they wish, and the four best drivers of each group move on to the duel phase, while the rest of the drivers qualify based on their lap times.
The duels consist of four quarterfinals, two semi-finals and a final, similar to a playoff format. The drivers get one warm-up lap, one timed lap, and one cool-down lap.
Winners of each quarter-final in each group will face each other before the finals, determine who the pole sitter is. The pole-sitter will also receive three extra championship points.
You may think that this is all complicated, and you would be right. However, the rule changes could increase the excitement and pay off by creating closer racing throughout the season.
Who Is Driving for Who?
Mercedes EQ is the current championship-winning team after a successful season seven. Winning a championship is one thing, but retaining it is a whole different story.
Reigning Formula E Champion Nyck De Vries returns for his third season to defend his title. The exceptionally talented Dutch driver has one of the hardest jobs to do, as the closely matched grid will be hot on his heels.
Stoffel Vandooorne will be De Vries' team mate once again this season. Vandoorne had a mixed 2021 season but demonstrated that he has a lot to offer the Mercedes EQ team on numerous occasions. His skills, combined with his Championship winning car, could mean Vandoorne is De Vries' biggest rival in 2022.
Jaguar TCS Racing
2021 was Jaguar TCS Racing's most successful Formula E season, and they are going into season 8 as genuine title contenders. The team has an incredibly experienced driver lineup. Both drivers are race-winners and know what it takes to get onto the top step of the podium.
Australian Mitch Evans had a disastrous end to last season. His car failed to leave the start line after a high voltage failure on the grid in Berlin. The incident caused Edoardo Mortara's Venturi Mercedes to crash into the back of him, causing a red flag incident.
But Evans has dramatically improved every Formula E season, making him a serious threat to the Mercedes drivers.
The same goes for Evans' teammate, Sam Bird. He is the only driver to win a race in every Formula E season so far. During his last Formula E drive, he wowed fans by battling through the grid, making up 15 places, demonstrating how good the Jaguar TCS package, team, and driver combo is.
DS Cheetah is one of the most successful Formula E teams. But their streak of back-to-back driver's and team championship wins ended in 2021. They finished third and only missed out by one point.
There is a big change for DS Cheetah for 2022, as they have a new team principal, which they hope will lead them back to their winning ways.
António Félix Da Costa rejoins Jean-Éric Vergne in the DS Cheetah cars. This is arguably the strongest lineup of drivers on the grid. Both have championship titles and seven seasons of Formula E under their belts, not to mention successes in Formula 1 and endurance racing.
The new qualifying format for 2022 rewards consistent results. And with the team's track record of consistency, could we see DS Cheetah return to their former success?
Envision Racing is no stranger to podium places; however, they have never secured a title. The Dutch and Kiwi drivers return to Envision Racing, but this time in their new-look cars.
Robin Frijns has multiple Formula E seasons and race wins to his name. He has also just claimed a world endurance racing title, demonstrating he knows how to win demanding races. His teammate, Nick Cassidy, is a Japanese triple crown winner and is looking forward to building on his impressive Formula E rookie season last year.
The team previously named BMW i Andretti Motorsport has a whole new brand, replacing BMW engineers with Andretti personnel. In addition to these changes, Avalanche Andretti have a new rookie driver.
Jake Dennis joins the team off the back of one of the best rookie seasons seen in Formula E. The British driver finished in the top five last year and firmly believes he can win the championship behind the wheel of an Avalanche Andretti car in 2022.
Joining Dennis at Avalanche Andretti is American driver Oliver Askew, a former Indy Car driver and Indy Lights Champion. His experience means Askew is no stranger to high-intensity single-seat racing, making him an excellent prospect for exciting racing in his rookie Formula E season.
Rokit Venturi Racing
Rokit Venturi Racing had their best run in the championship last season, with five podiums, two of which were on the top step. Interestingly, they are the only other team that uses the same powertrain as the championship-winning Mercedes EQ team.
Edoardo Mortara returns to Formula E for his fifth season and is known to be one of the best street racers in the business. He had his best season in 2021, finishing second, making him one of the favourite contenders for the 2022 championship.
Brazilian driver Lucas Di Grassi pilots the other Rokit Venturi Racing car. He joins the team after seven years behind the wheel at Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.
He is a former Formula E champion and regarded as one of the most knowledgeable drivers of the intricacies of the sport. So we can expect calculated tactics, along with skillful driving throughout the season. The competitive package and the team's experience give Rokit Venturi Racing a good shot at driver's, and team championship wins.
Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
The Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team have the package and the setup to really worry other championship contenders. Despite becoming painfully close several times, they are yet to have their first Formula E win.
To remedy this, they are looking at their all-German lineup, which starts with former Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein. Unfortunately, he has had his fair share of bad luck in Formula E, but he is a very promising talent that continues to push for his first win.
Wehrlein's teammate is André Lotterer. 2022 will be his third Formula E season. But his experience as a long-time Porsche driver and three-time Le Mans winner should mean he has the skills to be a contender.
He has a no-nonsense racing style, which upset several drivers last season, causing a few crashes and near misses. He hasn't yet managed to deliver the success expected of him, but could the new race-day format change all that?
Towards the end of the season, in 2021, Mahindra Racing stated to match their race pace with their qualifying pace. This meant that they were becoming stronger than ever, and they hope to maintain their progress throughout the 2022 season.
Mahindra Racing continue with their all-British driver lineup. Alexander Sims rejoins for a second season with the team, who has race wins and podium spots to his name. However, his success with Mahindra Racing has been limited so far.
But the team has changed partners supplying their powertrain, which promises more power and efficiency. Could this be the change Sims and the team have been looking for to make them worthy contenders?
Sims won't just be battling out with drivers from other teams. His biggest threat could be from the other side of the garage in the shape of teammate Oliver Rowland.
Rowland has moved from Nissan e.dams and is one of the quickest drivers on the grid. His qualifying game is strong, and he isn't afraid to get up close and personal with wheel-to-wheel racing and exchanging paintwork with other cars.
Nissan e.dams undoubtedly know how to build fast racing cars, but they have lost one of the fastest qualifiers when Oliver Rowland jumped ship to Mahindra Racing.
However, this left space for one of the most promising talents in Formula E. Young German driver Maximilian Günther has multiple race wins and the confidence to take on more experienced drivers during on-track battles.
Günther has learned a lot from racing with his last two Formula E teams. He has managed to get to grips with the tech and push for podiums, so he has the potential to flourish this coming season.
Racing alongside Günther is one of the most experienced drivers in Formula E. Sébastien Buemi is a former champion, raced in Formula 1, and has many endurance races and Le Mans wins to his name.
However, 2021 wasn't a great season for Buemi, which he wants to forget and remedy this year. This will give the Swiss driver plenty of pressure which will be exacerbated by having a new teammate. Fortunately for Buemi, there are minimal changes to his car, so at least he will be familiar with it.
Dragon/Penske Motorsport scored more points in the opening two rounds of last year than the entire 2020 season. These signs of improvement could be enhanced by some changes within the team for 2022.
One of the most exciting changes for Dragon/Penske Motorsport comes in the form of Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovanazzi. The Italian driver is a rookie in electric racing and hasn't had much time behind the wheel of a Formula E car at the moment.
Even though Formula E has a single-seat platform, this doesn't mean all Formula 1 drivers find the transition easy. Therefore, Giovanazzi will have his work cut out to match the pace of the rest of the grid. But, it will be exciting to see how he gets on and what he brings to the sport.
The other Dragon/Penske Motorsport car will be occupied once again by Brazillian Sérgio Sette Câmara. He is a former Formula 2 driver and winner who has impressed everyone during his short Formula E career. The 2022 season will give him the opportunity to shine and wow crowds with his notable qualifying performances.
Completing the Formula E grid for 2022 is NIO 333. They return with new senior management and have every intention of climbing from the bottom of the pack to the top.
The team is hedging their bets by having a Formula E veteran and a rookie in their cars. Their experienced driver is Oliver Turvey, who returns to his eighth Formula E season. Despite his experience, he is regarded as one of the most underrated drivers on the grid. But season eight could be the opportunity he is looking for to showcase his talent.
Joining Turvey is the third and final rookie of the season, Formula 2 race winner Dan Ticktum. After discussions with several other teams, Ticktum joined NIO 333, which was attracted to him due to his street racing success.
The characterful British driver is attracting lots of attention, and everyone is interested in how he will perform with the aggressive and highly competitive nature of Formula E.
Get Ready for an Exciting Formula E Season
We can expect some nail-biting action throughout season eight with all these changes. Formula E racing is evolving as fast as its technology. Apart from becoming the premier testing ground for electric vehicle technology, Formulae is also proving to be a progressive and inclusive sport, which is a sentiment echoed by Stephanie Medeiros, ABB's Global E-Mobility Executive:
"The ABB Formula E promotes and drives progress in e-mobility, and I'm so excited for this upcoming season to start. There is a lot to look forward to in this season: having the race come back to Canada, which is my home country (Vancouver, July 2022), the continuation of impactful activities surrounding the races, such as the FIA Girls on Track which encourages young girls to join motorsport and STEM-related fields, and so much more."
With all of the technical and social benefits Formula E bring to the table, we can only wish for this series continued growth and success. Don’t forget to tune in this coming weekend to witness what promises to be an exciting two-race kickoff to the 2022 Formula E season in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Header photo courtesy of JaguarRacing.com