There are new Formula E regulations coming into play when the series launches its Gen 3 car next season, which kicks off later this year. With BMW leaving the series at the end of last season, and Mercedes-Benz scheduled to depart at the end of this one, there is a big gap in drivetrain providers for next season. There’s a rumor going around the paddock that Citroen/DS will be departing the sport as well, leaving the Techeetah team holding the bag. Thankfully, it looks like the series will have a full 12 teams on the grid, thanks to the return of the ABT team, Maserati jumping in, and McLaren taking over the Mercedes team’s charter. It’s likely Maserati and McLaren will build their own powertrains, while other teams have an opportunity to provide customer teams with an electric motor and gearbox package. Porsche and the Avalanche Andretti team announced on Saturday that they would be partnering ‘long-term’ for the Formula E Gen3 regs.
Andretti has been in the series from the very start, and has been using BMW powertrains since season five. Even with BMW’s departure in 2021, the German brand has continued to supply drivetrains to the Andretti team, as the Gen 2 power rules have been frozen, and the units themselves have not changed. Now that the series is requiring a more powerful electric motor starting next year, BMW is no longer interested in helping Andretti continue to make the grid. Hence, the need to partner with Porsche.
Andretti found victory lane a few times with BMW power, taking seven wins in three years with drivers António Félix da Costa, Alex Sims, Maximilian Guenther, and Jake Dennis. Without BMW Motorsport’s support in 2022, however, the team finds itself shuffled down the grid with just one podium to their name. Clearly the team needs a manufacturer partner in order to climb back up the ranks and hope for a better start to its ninth season in the sport next year. The Porsche deal will, thankfully, include this support. Obviously this is the first time Porsche has supplied powertrains to a partner team in Formula E, but the Stuttgart manufacturer is no stranger to this kind of deal in other forms of motorsport.
“Our Formula E journey began with Season 1 and we’re very proud to now be looking ahead to the next generation of the sport,” said Andretti team CEO Michael Andretti. “Avalanche Andretti FE has an ambition to win, and with the support of Porsche, we have full confidence in our performance and growth. The agreement is an important step in our future and commitment to our sport, partners, and fans. Our history with Porsche as two historic racing teams means this collaboration was a natural fit, and we look forward to a new chapter starting in 2023.”
Team principal Roger Griffiths added: “It was vital that we made a strong choice in our powertrain provider in preparation for this new chapter and exciting generation of car – and we have that in Porsche. We are looking forward to starting Gen3 as a formidable competitor. We remain focused on the rest of this season, we continue our powertrain relationship with BMW, who have been a valued partner to our team and will support us until the end of this season. We’ve had many successes together through the years and thank them for both their partnership and friendship.”
It seems pretty likely that Porsche will also supply electric motors and gear reduction boxes for the ABT team, which spent a year on sabbatical from the sport after Audi ditched them. The brand has a strong connection with Volkswagen Group brands, and none of the other suppliers quite make sense for the team. For Porsche to power three teams in the twelve team grid would be incredible. We can’t wait for the Gen 3 cars to hit the track later this year, hopefully with Porsche on winning form.
Don’t forget that Porsche has already partnered with the America-based Penske organization to run its LMDh prototype efforts in FIA WEC and IMSA. And there is confirmation that Porsche will be on the F1 grid in 2026. So will Porsche be the only manufacturer involved in top-level electric open wheelers, hybrid open wheelers, and hybrid prototypes concurrently? Boy, it seems like Porsche is really digging in and getting back to its motorsport roots. Absolute boss moves all around.