Buemi, Chandhok, di Grassi, Liuzzi and Sato eye Formula E drives
NEWS STORY 08/01/2014
Organisers of the Formula E Championship have revealed the identities of the first drivers to show interest in contesting the series, including 5 former F1 drivers.
Sebastien Buemi, Marco Andretti, Karun Chandhok, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Adrien Tambay, Ma Qing Hua, Lucas di Grassi and Takuma Sato have all committed to the Formula E Drivers' Club, giving their official endorsement to the championship together with their willingness to race in the future. The new scheme will also give them the opportunity to experience track time in the car.
"We're delighted to be starting the New Year, which of course is a very important one for Formula E, on such a positive note by announcing our new Drivers' Club," said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings. "From the very beginning, we have set out to deliver great racing to fans across the globe and to do that you need high calibre drivers. Now that we've announced all 10 teams, everyone is keen to find out who the drivers will be. Of course, we cannot confirm any drivers just yet as it will be down to the individual teams to select who fills their seats. However, we hope by offering them a ‘pool' of top international drivers to choose from - all of whom support the new series - we can deliver on this promise of providing close, entertaining racing in city-centres around the world. We also hope it will showcase to fans, TV broadcasters and potential sponsors the high profile names Formula E is attracting and the level of drivers they can expect to see race come September."
Of the first eight names, Buemi, Chandhok, Liuzzi, di Grassi and Sato have all previously raced in F1, while Ma Qing Hua has been a test driver for both HRT and Caterham. Meanwhile, Marco Andretti - son of Michael Andretti - is one of IndyCar's top drivers finishing fifth in 2013, while Frenchman Adrien Tambay has raced in Formula 3, GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 and more recently DTM. A further 10 drivers will be revealed over the coming weeks.
"I'm very happy to be a part of the new Formula E Drivers' Club," said Buemi. "Motorsport should be seen to be the leader in developing and pushing new sustainable technologies so it will be great to see how this will influence not only motorsport but future road cars and the environment. The calendar is very strong and brings the racing to the fans, and the new Formula E car looks like it will be a lot of fun to drive."
"This revolutionary racing series, paired with some of the world's best drivers, competing in top cities, will set a new standard for motorsport," added Andretti. The advanced technology is exciting. I'm not entirely sure what to expect but, for me, that is the most interesting part of this experience - the unknown factor. I'm looking forward to the growth and development of Formula E and am happy to be named as part of the Drivers' Club. I'm really looking forward to getting into the cockpit of one of these cars."
"Alejandro Agag has been a friend of mine for a number of years since our time in GP2," said Chandhok. "I've been speaking with him since the early days of Formula E and I'm very happy to be a part of the Drivers' Club for the series. The calendar looks great, as do the cars and it should be a great new way to go motor racing."
"I am very excited to be a part of the Drivers' Club for the development of the Formula E cars," added Sato. "This series provides a huge potential for the future of motor racing and electric cars. I am sure that these fascinating new innovative multimedia contents will excite the new fans who will be watching this new series."
The announcement also means that Lucas di Grassi will no longer act as the only official Formula E test driver.