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Formula E vs WEC: Drivers forced to choose after vote failure

Following a vote held during the São Paulo ePrix, it has been determined that drivers participating in both Formula E and WEC will have to make a choice.

The FIA has stated that a driver change will not be permitted in Berlin for both Formula E and WEC events unless there are exceptional circumstances and unanimous consent from competitors.  So several drivers are now forced to make a decision. Will they compete at the Berlin ePrix or the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps? As both races are slated for the same weekend.

The Calendar Clash: Formula E or WEC?

The crux of the issue lies in the Berlin E-Prix being a doubleheader event, despite holding two separate races. FIA regulations dictate that driver changes are prohibited between these races unless all teams unanimously agree. This creates a conflict for the seven drivers competing in both championships.

Ideally, these drivers could race in Spa on Saturday and then fly to Germany for the Sunday Formula E race. However, the FIA’s stance requires all teams to agree on allowing such a switch, which unfortunately didn’t happen.

Nick Cassidy, Jaguar TCS Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6

“Since the Berlin E-Prix is a competition consisting of two races, as established by Article 5.5, a driver change after the end of the administrative checks is not authorized, except in cases of force majeure and with the authorization of the stewards in accordance with Articles 19.1 and 24.15.” stated the FIA before the vote. “Therefore, it is necessary to grant these drivers special authorization, and unanimous consent of the competitors is required.”

With at least one team objecting and several others lacking WEC commitments for their drivers, the proposal was ultimately rejected. This means drivers competing in Spa will be unable to participate in the following day’s Berlin E-Prix.

Which of the drivers is tasked with making the decision

The potentially affected drivers include:

  • Envision duo Sebastien Buemi and Robin Frijns
  • DS Penske teammates Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne
  • Mahindra’s Nyck De Vries and Edoardo Mortara
  • Nico Muller from ABT

Vergne and Vandoorne have confirmed their intention to prioritize Formula E over the WEC in case of a clash, as has Mortara, so all three will be in Berlin on Saturday.

Although not confirmed, it appears that Toyota drivers Buemi and De Vries, as well as Frijns from BMW and Muller from Peugeot, will prioritize the WEC, meaning they will be forced to skip both races in Germany.

Potential Substitutes in Formula E: Who Will Fill in for the Missing Drivers?

Embed from Getty Images

Nyck De Vries has joined Toyota’s Hypercar line-up for the 2024 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season, replacing Jose Maria Lopez. He will pilot the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID alongside Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway, marking his return to WEC since his stint with Racing Team Nederland in the 2019/20 season.

The Dutch driver initially signed with Toyota in 2023 but was called up by AlphaTauri, triggering an exit clause. However, his brief F1 tenure led him back to negotiations with Toyota for the 2024 WEC season, ultimately replacing Lopez. In his absence, he will likely be replaced by Jordan King, a former Formula 2 driver, or while Kush Maini, supported by Alpine and a current F2 driver.

Also, Sebastien Buemi is unable to compete in the Berlin E-Prix, racing with the dominant Toyota Gazoo Racing team, the same team he won 4 24 Hours of Le Mans. Envision Racing may opt for their test and reserve drivers, Joel Eriksson and Tom Dillmann, to step in. Both drivers have experience in the category and could offer a solid performance.



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