While the rest of the racing season is winding down, the FIA Formula E 2017-2018 Season is heating up in the series’ season four opener in Hong Kong.
The 14 round calendar opens with a race on the streets of the island’s harborfront for the second year, this time opening with a doubleheader weekend.
The big story going into the season opener has been the addition from Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer from Porsche’s disbanded World Endurance Championship LMP1 program.
Jani joins Dragon Racing, formerly Faraday Future Dragon Racing, for the season, and Lotterer partners Jean Eric Vergne at Techeetah.
Like Dragon Racing, the former Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport team has undergone a name change. The home of reigning champion Lucas Di Grassi has been re-branded Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler with increased Audi involvement in the team.
In light of the Audi influence, Di Grassi’s teammate Daniel Abt has also been named an official Audi factory driver.
Other notable changes include Nelson Piquet moving from NIO Formula E to Jaguar’s factory effort, DS Virgin Racing’s New York sub for Jose Maria Lopez taking on a full-time role at the team, and Edoardo Mortara joining with Venturi.
DTM driver Tom Blomqvist was initially supposed to run the entire season for MS&AD Andretti Formula E, however, former F1 and WEC driver Kamui Kobayashi is racing for the team in Hong Kong instead.
While many things have changed in Formula E over the off-season, one thing that hasn’t, and won’t until at least 2021, is the use of Michelin all-weather tires.
As one of the founding partners and the first partner to join the electric street racing series, Michelin was tasked with creating unique tires for the series, for use in both wet and dry conditions and using 18-inch rims.
The Michelin and Formula E partnership will continue through at least the end of the 2020/21 season, with Michelin already working on tires for the new-look next-generation car, which will debut in season five.
“Michelin believed in the FIA Formula E Championship from the beginning and joined this new discipline as a founding partner,” Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Motorsport Director, said.
“Today, after only three seasons, Formula E has become a platform of innovation and communication chosen by the most important brands of the world.
“The contribution of Formula E to the evolution of the automobile is obvious and Michelin wants to move forward with the FIA, Alejandro Agag and his teams, as well as with all manufacturers, on the path of sustainable mobility.
“Michelin is therefore delighted to continue its collaboration with Formula E beyond season five, until 2021.”