Nissan e.dams will field an unchanged driver line-up for the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season, with series runner-up Sébastien Buemi to be teamed alongside last season’s best-placed rookie Oliver Rowland.
Having dominated the Formula E championship scene since its inception under Renault branding, the squad rebadged to Nissan ahead of the 2018-19 campaign with Formula 2 Championship graduate Rowland joining the team as a last-minute replacement for Alexander Albon after the Anglo-Thai driver was poached by Red Bull to join the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team.
The new partnership did not start strongly with six retirements in the first five rounds. The car was strong over one lap – it won six of the season’s thirteen pole positions and was a top-six qualifier at every race. The Sanya ePrix saw Rowland claim the team’s first podium finish and from there it earned a further five rostrum visits including a breakthrough victory in the first New York City ePrix race.
Buemi’s form was good enough to keep him in the championship hunt until the very end, losing out to eventual title-winner Jean-Éric Vergne in the final race of the season.
Entering his sixth season with the DAMS-run operation, Buemi expressed confidence that the Nissan e.dams squad will remain competitive in the face of two new manufacturers – Porsche and Mercedes-AMG – making their debuts.
“We had good pace in season five, and I hope to build on that momentum. There are some new manufacturers joining in season six, but we have much more experience now as a team, and that’s going to make us more competitive,” he said.
Despite his lack of pre-season mileage, Rowland looked at home in his new Nissan surrounds and proved a quicker and more consistent teammate to Buemi than former driver Nicolas Prost. The English youngster topped the timesheets in ten practice and qualifying sessions, and claimed a pair of second place finishes at the Sanya and Monaco races. He finished tenth in the Drivers’ Championship standings and was the best-placed rookie driver.
“I had a great first season, but now it’s time to prepare properly for my second year and come back even stronger,” Rowland said. “I came into season five with very little experience, but I think I adapted quite well. I felt very comfortable with the team, and I had a lot of support from everyone.”
Nissan’s global motorsports director, Michael Carcamo added: “Sébastien’s run to second place in season five and his attitude as a team player, made him an easy choice for our season six lineup. Oliver proved to be a very fast learner, and we quickly got used to seeing his name at the top of the time sheets. There’s no doubt we have an outstanding driver combination.”
Nissan e.dams is the fourth team to field a completely unchanged driving line-up heading into the 2019-20 season, alongside the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Envision Virgin Racing and Venturi outfits.
|2019-20 FIA Formula E Championship – Provisional Entry List (to-date)|
|DS Techeetah||Jean-Éric Vergne||TBA|
|Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
||Lucas di Grassi||Daniel Abt|
|Envision Virgin Racing||Sam Bird||Robin Frijns|
||Sébastien Buemi||Oliver Rowland|
|BMW i Andretti Motorsport
|Panasonic Jaguar Racing
|Venturi Formula E Team
||Felipe Massa||Edoardo Mortara|
|Mercedes EQ Formula E Team
|GEOX Dragon Racing||Brendon Hartley||TBA|
|NIO Formula E Team
|Porsche Formula E Team||André Lotterer||Neel Jani|
Images via ThePitecrewOnline