Reigning Formula 3 European champion Felix Rosenqvist will become the first Swedish driver to race in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship, joining Mahindra Racing for the up-coming 2016-17 season.
Driven by technology, Formula E is a unique venture in international motorsport, featuring fully-electric single-seater cars racing against spectacular backdrops in the heart of some of the world’s leading cities.
The new agreement will see Rosenqvist join Nick Heidfeld (Germany) in the Mahindra Racing line-up for season three of the championship, which gets underway in central Hong Kong on October 9.
“Racing in Formula E will be something genuinely brand new to me, and I’m thrilled to be making this move at an exciting time of my career,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s a step into the unknown and I’m sure it will be very different to anything I’ve done before, but I’ve had a very warm welcome by Mahindra Racing and I have a strong and experienced team-mate in Nick. I’ve already tested the car and I look forward to intensifying our preparations over the coming days and weeks. I love new challenges and this is going to be a massive one, for sure.”
Having finished fifth in the Formula E teams’ standings in the 2015-16 season, Mahindra Racing will enter the forthcoming campaign armed with the new Mahindra M3Electro car, which will make its first public appearance at this week’s official pre-season test at Donington Park, UK. Both Rosenqvist and Heidfeld will be on site to conduct driving duties throughout the three-day test (Tuesday-Thursday).
“We are thrilled to welcome Felix to the Mahindra Racing family,” says Mahindra Racing team principal Dilbagh Gill. “As a Formula 3 champion and accomplished driver across a number of race series, Felix has proven his skill on many levels and, crucially, tight street circuits such as Macau. Our aims for season three of Formula E are set much higher and I look forward to working with Felix to achieve them.”
Adding to its distinctive profile, the FIA Formula E Championship boosts a highly competitive grid featuring many established top-line drivers. Among Rosenqvist’s rivals will be the champions of the first two Formula E seasons – Nelson Piquet Jr. (Brazil) and Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland) – as well as the likes of Jean-Éric Vergne (France), Nicolas Prost (France), Lucas di Grassi (Brazil), Antonio Felix da Costa (Portugal) and multiple WTCC champion José-María López (Argentina).
“I’m fully aware that it will take some time to learn the trade of electric racing, and I’m up against an exceptional field,” Rosenqvist concludes. “I do expect a steep learning curve, particularly with the technology in Formula E being so different to what I’m accustomed to. You need to be fast, as always, but you also have to be clever and energy-efficient. I also find the calendar highly exciting. We’ll be racing on street tracks in some incredible locations, and I can’t wait for the first event in Hong Kong.”
Formula E is set to expand from ten races in 2015-16 to 14 in 2016-17, staged across 12 weekends at venues all around the world. Following the Hong Kong opener in October, Marrakech will host its first-ever Formula E event on November 12, with round three then taking place in Buenos Aires on February 18, 2017. Among other cities poised to host “ePrix” races are Mexico City, Monaco, Paris and Montreal, with the season coming to an end in New York on July 30, 2017.
Felix Rosenqvist is the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European champion, a two-time Masters of F3 and Macau Grand Prix victor, and a three-time Formula Renault title winner. In 2016, he has dovetailed a race-winning campaign in the American Indy Lights series with GT commitments for Mercedes-Benz in Europe, finishing second in the 24 Hours of Spa. He also forms part of the Mercedes-AMG DTM driver line-up, completing a points-paying debut in the series in Russia this past weekend.
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2016-17 FIA FORMULA E CALENDAR
Hong Kong ePrix
Round 1 | October 9
Round 2 | November 12
Buenos Aires ePrix
Round 3 | February 18
Mexico City ePrix
Round 4 | April 1
*To be announced*
Round 5 | April 22
Round 6 | May 13
Round 7 | May 20
Round 8 | June 10
*To be announced*
Round 9 | June 24
Round 10 | July 1
Rounds 11 & 12 | July 15-16
New York ePrix
Rounds 13 & 14 | July 29-30