Formula E co-commentator and pundit Dario Franchitti gives us his lowdown on what we can expect when we go green in Diriyah on Friday, 28 January, with the first of a night race double-header in Saudi Arabia.
If there's one thing you can definitely say about Formula E it's that you're never quite sure or what's going to happen. Last season was the most unpredictable yet, and with another world class grid of drivers set for Season 8, I predict more of the same.
DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Eric Vergne undoubtedly has blinding pace, even if he can be mercurial at times but he gets things done. Teammate Antonio Felix da Costa dominated Season 6 and was right in the fight again for Formula E's first World Championship but the two of them at times don't always play nice.
Thomas Chevaucher is going to be the team principal now after an off-season reshuffle at the Franco-Chinese outfit and he is going to have to go after them and make sure that they know that he is the boss. When dhose guys play nice, which I think you saw happen towards the end of the season, they really work well and work as a team together. They will be very, very hard to beat.
Venturi is an exciting prospect to me for 2021/22. Edoardo Mortara was one of the drivers of the season last time around and that Mercedes-EQ powertrain is a very, very tasty prospect - and now, of course, a title-winner. Over the other side of the garage, Norman Nato - a race winner in the Berlin finale in Season 7 - makes way for 2016/17 champion Lucas di Grassi.
The Brazilian is one of the championship's most consistent, high-level performers - having been a part of the series since day one. Both drivers are capable of winning the championship and there's no reason the privateer team couldn't win the Teams' title, too, coming into Season 8 off the back of their best points tally to-date.
Jaguar TCS Racing was so close to winning the Teams' World Championship last season. Mitch Evans drove a fantastic season and Sam Bird produced some sublime moments; and I think he's the best overtaker in Formula E. Both were strong contenders and I expect that to continue.
Mercedes-EQ won the Teams' and Drivers' titles and both drivers - Stoffel Vandoorne and ultimate champion Nyck de Vries - did a good job. They picked up points where they could, maximised results, and were up there challenging for wins. They took a very aggressive approach to wheel-to-wheel racing, too. Those guys are going to be tough to beat as they look to hold on to double World Championship titles.
I'm looking forward to seeing the fight. There are so many strong combinations out there on that 22-car grid. Let's face it, we're not really going to understand how it all stacks up until we go green in Diriyah.
Published on 24th January 2022