Season 7 will see the most competitive line-up in motor racing fight it out for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with 12 teams, including 10 manufacturer outfits, and 24 of the best drivers in world motorsport heading to the season-opener in Diriyah on February 26 & 27.
With five different champions and 17 different race winners in six seasons of Formula E to-date, the only thing that will be predictable in 2020/21 is unpredictability.
The official pre-season test in Valencia back in November gave us a glimpse of just how close the forthcoming season is likely to be, with the whole field separated by little more than three-quarters of a second during the final and most competitive session of the test.
No Formula E pre-season test has has seen a tighter spread of times, even when the championship required all teams run standardised powertrains in the inaugural 2014/15 campaign.
The top ten runners in that session drive for eight different teams, and on top of that, each of the five sessions from Valencia saw a different driver from a different squad, representing a different manufacturer at the top of the timesheets.
Who'll get the jump on the rest when we get under way with a double-header in the dark for Formula E's first night races in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on February 26 & 27? Take a look at the grid ahead of Round 1.
Audi retains the line-up that rounded out Season 6, with 2016/17 Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi returning alongside Rene Rast, who stepped in from the marque's motorsport stable to compete in Berlin.
Di Grassi was one of only three full-time drivers to have finished every race in 2019/20 on the way to sixth in the championship. His race pace netted him the most progress, at just over six positions gained per race, of any driver.
Qualifying was a thorn in the side for Audi through Season 6, and limited the Brazilian to two visits to the rostrum. Rast arrived on the scene at Tempelhof and immediately impressed, securing 29 points and a maiden podium in Round 10 whilst displaying a no-fear, combative driving style.
Can the duo drive the four rings to the fore in Season 7?
Published on 18th February 2021
The German giants confirmed Alex Sims' replacement last week, with rookie Jake Dennis stepping into the fold after impressing during the Andretti-backed outfit's intensive driver selection process, which encompassed a number of test sessions in the BMW iFE.20 and in BMW Motorsport's simulator.
The 25-year-old Brit joins 23-year-old German Maximilian Guenther at BMW, completing a youthful-looking line-up in direct contrast to Audi's approach.
Guenther finished ninth in the Drivers' table last season, with victories in Santiago and Round 8 at Tempelhof. Four non-finishes - including the loss of a podium in Berlin for overtaking under the safety car - ultimately hampered his outright finishing position.
It was a tough season all-round in 2019/20 for GEOX Dragon, now DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT for Season 7. Both Brendon Hartley and Nico Mueller were rookies - albeit decorated in other categories - and only Hartley managed to score points. Ninth spot in Chile was the team's high for the campaign as it turns to 2021 and the opportunity to climb to the next rung on the Formula E ladder.
Swiss racer Mueller returns in Season 7, alongside Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara. Mueller played a vital role in the team's off-season development programme throughout the summer and autumn and he's looking to use what he's learned so far in Formula E as strong base to kick on from.
With Brendon Hartley stepping away from the team ahead of the 2019/20 season finale in Berlin, the Brazilian was promoted to a race seat from his role as test and reserve driver to close out Dragon's Season 6 campaign having left Team Principal Jay Penske impressed with his pace and the rate at which he adapted to the rigors of electric racing.
DS TECHEETAH - which recently announced its Gen3 commitment - took Teams' honours in Berlin having secured four wins in five by Round 9 of the season. That included a record-equalling three on the spin at the hands of Drivers' Champion Antonio Felix da Costa between Round 5 in Marrakesh and Round 7 in Berlin, plus one via 2018/19 title winner Jean-Eric Vergne.
That's three back-to-back Drivers' crowns and two Teams' titles now for the Sino-French outfit, so why change a thing? Da Costa and JEV are back for Season 7, but can Vergne close the gap after his teammate's searing end to the 2019/20 campaign and will DS remain the benchmark?
Sam Bird moves to pastures new for Season 7, having competed every single Formula E race with the British outfit. The team moved quickly to pin Nick Cassidy down as his replacement, with the 25-year-old entering the fray off the back of securing the Japanese 'Triple Crown' of Super GT, Formula 3 and Super Formula titles.
Cassidy has also illustrated his capabilities in Gen2 Formula E machinery, with a new lap record in Marrakesh on his first outing with the team at the Rookie Test back in March on his way to topping the timesheets.
He'll join Robin Frijns, who ended 2019/20 on a high in Berlin with four Super Pole appearances and a pair of podiums on the way to 12th in the Drivers' table.
Jerome D'Ambrosio closed out a two-year stint at Mahindra with 16th in the standings, and has since retired, moving into team management as Deputy Team Principal of ROKiT Venturi Racing over the off-season.
Four top ten finishes saw the Belgian him edge former team-mate Pascal Wehrlein's Berlin replacement Alex Lynn by just a point in the end. Lynn's exploits at Tempelhof were impressive to say the least. Three Super Pole appearances were backed up with good points in the final three rounds on the way to 17th in the Drivers' table ultimately secured him a seat for Season 7, with Team Principal Dilbagh Gill left more than impressed.
READ MORE: Mahindra become first team to commit to Gen3 era of Formula E
Mahindra contended with a factory move and had to revert to the previous iteration of its powertrain after early-season issues. For 2021, Gill will be hoping his team can now push on, with race-winner and former BMW man Alexander Sims also signed up for Season 7.
It's as you were at Mercedes-Benz for 2020/21, with continuity the watchword for the Stuttgart outfit meaning Stoffel Vandoorne will once again partner Nyck de Vries in the new Silver Arrow 02 - sporting a new powertrain for Season 7.
The team's season reached a final round crescendo with a stunning one-two; Vandoorne leading rookie team-mate de Vries home for a maiden win and podium for the pair in Formula E, respectively.
Both Team Principal Ian James, and Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport are aiming to reach another level still in 2021 as Mercedes continues its push towards the front.
NIO 333 has undertaken a back-room revamp over the off-season, with a number of changes to its technical teams in both China and Europe, and the Sino-British outfit is eyeing a step forward in Season 7 with its new powertrain.
The team, and its long-serving driver Oliver Turvey, who’s been at NIO 333 in its various guises since the inaugural 2014/15 Formula E campaign and returns for 2020/21, saw Season 6 as a transitional year with new owners for the then-newly christened NIO 333 Formula E Team joining the fold at its outset.
A best of 11th in Chile for Oliver Turvey provided NIO 333's highlight for the campaign last time out and he's eyeing improvement with some promising steps made.
Turvey will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, who signs up with some Formula E experience already under his belt - the Anglo-Swede having competed in six races for MS&AD Andretti, with a best finish of eighth in Marrakesh, as well as the final two rounds of Season 6 with Jaguar Racing.
Nissan E.dams had some catching up to do after its twin-motor solution was outlawed last year.
Its Gen2 plans were thrown up in the air, and drivers Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland have aired their pride at the progress made by the Japanese marque last season, with the former making the rostrum three times and the latter sealing a popular maiden victory in Round 10 from Tempelhof.
The team will undoubtedly be one to watch in Season 7 having ended the previous campaign as arguably the form team, and it's duly decided to retain the services of both Buemi and Rowland for 2020/21.
The 33-year-old is one of a select group of drivers to have competed in every Formula E race since the series' inception in 2014, tallying nine wins, 18 podiums, five pole positions and five fastest laps to-date. His experience speaks for itself, and that should prove valuable to a team looking to elevate itself to the next level.
He joins Mitch Evans, whose 2019/20 season was one of two halves. Heading into Berlin, Evans found himself just 11 points back from standings leader Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) and a real contender after making the podium in Chile and winning in Mexico.
The downturn in Berlin was inexplicable, with the Kiwi managing a best of just seventh on the way to seventh spot in the Drivers' standings. It's been back to the drawing board over the off-season for the team in a bid to rediscover its early Season 6 pace and promise.
With a promising start to life in Formula E, TAG Heuer Porsche will now have its sights set on closing the deficit to fellow rookies Mercedes-Benz EQ, who flew to third in the Teams' Championship and rounded out 2019/20 as best of the German giants.
To try and close the gap, it's drafted in Pascal Wehrlein alongside Andre Lotterer. The 26-year-old German has competed in 17 races in Formula E to-date, entering in the 2018/19 season with Mahindra Racing. He has so far picked up 72 points, a pole position and clinched a spot on the podium in his maiden season, when he finished second at the Santiago E-Prix.
Will youth and experience prove the perfect concoction for success?
Norman Nato joins Edo Mortara at Venturi for Season 7, with the Monegasque team giving its long-time test and simulator driver the vote of confidence and a full race seat.
Last season, Mortara outstripped outgoing team-mate Felipe Massa with five more top ten, points finishes and by eight positions in the final Drivers' Championship standings, eventually winding up in a creditable 14th spot.
Venturi has also added to its back-room line-up during the off-season, with Jerome D'Ambrosio joining as Deputy Team Principal to work alongside Team Principal Susie Wolff.