All-electric racing series Formula E is having a bit of a time at the moment. Sure, it’s about to launch its most advanced racer that can top 200 mph and promises closer racing, but it’s also losing a raft of big names from the sport.
After winning back-to-back world titles, Mercedes has stepped away from the sport, and stalwarts Venturi also called time on its tenure in FE. And while Mclaren and Maserati are stepping up to the plate, it’s worrying to see teams stepping back from the sport when they’ve shared so much history.
Now, another long-standing figure on the Formula E paddock is preparing for a year away from the grid: Techeetah.
Techeetah first entered the sport in season three back in 2016. The team was formed out of the ashes of the Team Aguri Formula E Team after it was sold to the China Media Capital. Now, after five seasons on the grid, its future looks in doubt.
According to The Race, Techeetah is considering a year away from the Formula E paddock after it lost its partnership with French automaker DS. The two have raced as DS Techeetah since season five and won back-to-back world titles in 2019 and 2020.
But after a successful partnership that saw the team win 10 races, two constructor’s titles and two driver’s titles, DS is parting ways with Techeetah to partner American outfit Penske. The new DS Penske team will race with the Gen 3 Formula E cars next year, which will be piloted by Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne in 2023.
Since losing the backing of DS, execs at the Chinese outfit have been hard at work trying to source additional funding to support the team. The Race reports:
“Two of the key figures in the management of the Techeetah operation, CEO Mark Preston and chief commercial officer, Keith Smout, have been attempting to secure investment and a future for the team in recent months.
“The Race understands that Techeetah has spoken to several undisclosed manufacturers about a deal to race in 2024, after using 2023 to re-establish a team after the majority of its staff left to join the new DS Penske tie-up.”
In an interview with the outlet, Preston seemed optimistic that the team could make a successful return to the Formula E grid after a year on the sidelines. He said: “We believe we have the necessary attributes to write another chapter of success in Gen3.”
The team reportedly tried to stay on the grid in 2023 through a tie up with backmarker squad Nio 333. But, these talks reportedly “ran aground earlier this month,” leaving Techeetah with no point but to look to a grand return in 2024.
The loss of Techeetah in 2023 means that the teams entered into Formula E’s ninth season will be:
Avalanche Andretti Formula E
Jaguar TCS Racing
Maserati MSG Racing
NEOM McLaren Formula E Team
NIO 333 Racing
Nissan Formula E Team
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team