TESTING PREVIEW: New era, new car, new teams, new locations - our BIGGEST season yet!

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TESTING PREVIEW: New era, new car, new teams, new locations - our BIGGEST season yet!

The new Formula E season is just around the corner and the drivers hit the track in Valencia for pre-season testing tomorrow! It’s time to get up to speed on what’s new for Season 9.

Season 9 preview thumb

Formula E heads to Mexico City on 14 January 2023, where 40,000 spectators are expected to fill the grandstands for what will be the first race of Formula E’s latest generation, with revolutionary cars, a grid of world class drivers and the biggest racing and automotive names set to compete for FIA World Championship honours.

Before we go green in Mexico, though, we're heading to Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the official pre-season test, where all the drivers and teams will be together on-track for the first time, at the same time. Who'll leave Spain in the best shape? 

Proving grounds for a tech leap

Formula E's 11 teams and 22 drivers have three days at their disposal in Valencia to rack up the mileage and acquaint themselves with their all-new Gen3 machinery. There's the opportunity for teams to run their cars at will over the course of three days and six sessions starting at 0900 local time on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - with some 5-6,000 laps likely to be racked up between them over their time in Spain. 

Season 9 preview thumb

Each of the championship's outfits has been flat-out since Season 8 and the Gen2 era drew to a close in Seoul, with each firmly focussed on getting the most out of the Gen3, which rings in Formula E's biggest technological leap yet, with the cars the fastest, lightest, and most sustainable electric race car ever built.

READ MORE: Gen3 facts and figures

Teams are working tirelessly to extract the maximum from an all-new platform for Season 9 with a 200mph (320kph) top speed, a 60kg lighter, smaller chassis, an additional front powertrain and no rear brakes plus a power output 100kW up on Gen2 at 350kw with double the regen capacity - meaning more than 40% of the energy used in-race is via regeneration under braking.

All of that, according to the drivers, will mean more overtaking and greater manoeuvrability around the tight and twisty city circuits that have become a Formula E trademark.

World class grid

Two massive names in McLaren and Maserati are set to enter the fold for Season 9 alongside the cream of the world’s EV manufacturers and race teams on the Formula E grid.

The former is among the greatest names in motorsport, with 20 Formula 1 World Championship titles, 180 Grand Prix wins and three Indianapolis 500 victories to its name, as well as a Le Mans 24 Hours win at the first attempt. Rene Rast, multiple DTM champion and fiery Formula E fighter will turn out in papaya alongside Jake Hughes, with the British brand expectant but not complacent in its search for maiden silverware in electric racing's top tier.

Maserati marks its return to single seater competition for the first time in more than 60 years and is set to become the first Italian marque to compete in Formula E. Both outfits have cited Formula E as key to their EV development programmes, as an intense sporting laboratory to drive learnings from racetrack, ultimately to their road-going offerings. The Trident launched last week, with its iconic colours adorning Maserati MSG Racing's new Tipo Folgore set to be driven by Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Guenther.

READ MORE: Season 9's teams and drivers

Both teams will race for the top prize alongside giants of the sport like legendary British marque Jaguar - with Jaguar TCS Racing the only team on the grid to field an unchanged driver line-up, American racing icons Andretti, Nissan, multiple Formula E champions DS, Indian automaker Mahindra, sporting legends Porsche, Chinese EV pioneers NIO, among the most decorated of race teams in German squad ABT Sportsline - who welcome Spanish automaker CUPRA on-board from Season 9 with Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller behind the wheel.

Speaking of DS, they've partnered with PENSKE AUTOSPORT for 2022/23 and have signed two of the biggest names on the grid to steer them to glory; double champion Jean-Eric Vergne and reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne. With credentials like those, they’ll definitely be ones to watch.

In a shaken-up Season 9 grid, Andre Lotterer joins Jake Dennis at the now Porsche-powered Avalanche Andretti. Meanwhile, Season 6 champion Antonio Felix Da Costa has been secured by TAG Heuer Porsche in place of Lotterer at the German team, partnering Pascal Wehrlein.

Nick Cassidy stays at Envision Racing, where he’s joined by long standing Nissan e.dams driver and Season 2 champion Sebastien Buemi, who left his prior employers after eight entire seasons, the longest stint of any driver in Formula E history. Envision will be powered by Jaguar in Season 9.

NIO 333 retains Dan Ticktum, who will be partnered with Sergio Sette Camara, who put in some impressive performances last year for DRAGON/PENSKE AUTOSPORT.

There's another fully-refreshed lineup at Nissan, with race winner Norman Nato teaming up with French-Argentine Sacha Fenestraz, who stood in for Antonio Giovinazzi in Seoul in the last race of Season 8 and Mahindra Racing will field two experienced winners in Oliver Rowland and Season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi.

New tracks

A new era brings new additions to the Formula E calendar for next season.

Alongside old favourites like Mexico City, Rome and Monaco, we'll race in four brand new locations in 2023, starting with Hyderabad in India on the 11 February. Two weeks later, on the 25th, we’ll head to South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town, before hitting the vibrant streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on the 25 March.

Then, on 24 June, Formula E will return to the USA; specifically the beautiful state of Orgeon, for the Portland E-Prix.

Sporting evolution

Alongside the revolutionary machinery on-track, Formula E’s sporting regulations have undergone evolutionary updates to ring in the new era. A lap total will replace time in setting a race distance, with additional laps added for Safety Car and Full Course Yellow interruptions to racing.

Later in Season 9, ATTACK CHARGE, using pioneering battery and charging technology, will allow the newer, smaller, lighter Gen3 cars to receive an in-race energy boost – delivered at a lightning-quick 600kW. This mandatory 30-second stop will unlock two ATTACK MODE periods with the cars running at 350kW vs the stock 300kW.

Upcoming racing talent will also get their opportunity to shine in the world’s leading electric racing championship with teams fielding rookie drivers in two Free Practice 1 sessions over the season.

Follow testing live

Follow the action on-track and Gen3's first moments as they happen in the Race Centre. Keep across Live Timing – which includes a real-time interactive track map and the ability to follow your favourite driver during every session of every E-Prix – plus highlights, detailed session reports, exclusive interviews, all the standings and results as well as data, insight and reaction from trackside.