8 new faces (well, some of them)
While many of the faces on the Season 5 grid are familiar (in making a return or having jumped teams), but some of the class of 2018/2019 are full-fledged rookies
Robin Frjins, Envision Virgin Racing
Frjins is in fact not a rookie for Season 5, as he raced for the Andretti outfit in Seasons 2 and 3. Prior to his participation in the Formula E series, notable victories were his championship winnings as a rookie in his debut in Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 3.5. Recently, he ran with Audi’s DTM team for the 2018 season. He continues their partnership returning to the Formula E paddocks with Envision Virgin Racing, partnered with Audi.
Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA Race Lab
Vandoorne had come into the Formula 1 series for what was the McLaren-Honda team, with a lot of promise, after a stunning championship victory in the GP2 series in 2015, and 4th in the Championship for the Super Formula series. As a reserve driver for McLaren, he replaced Fernando Alonso for a race in Bahrain and finished ahead of then McLaren teammate, Jenson Button. It was enough notice to bring him on to the team full time after Button’s retirement for 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, McLaren had a row of rotten luck and Vandoorne would end both seasons 16th in the championship. With the new HWA Race Lab team, perhaps electric power would bring the driver a better row of luck.
Gary Paffett, HWA Race Lab
A new face to the Formula E series, but not a new face to HWA. Paffett won his first DTM championship in 2005 with HWA. It would take 13 more years before he won another DTM championship, this year in fact, with the Mercedes-AMG team.
Maximilian (Max) Guenther, Geox Dragon Racing
Now, Guenther has been in the Formula E paddocks, as a reserve driver for Dragon racing during Season 4. This season, he’s pulled up as a driver, alongside Jose Maria Lopez.
Felipe Massa, Venturi Formula E Racing
If you’re at all familiar with racing, this is a name that should be anything but unfamiliar. Perhaps a rookie in the Formula E series, Massa’s career spans 16 seasons for Formula 1 alone. Although never a World Champion, he came 2nd in the 2008 season. He ran with Sauber and Ferrari, finally retiring from the series while with the Williams Martini team.
Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.dams
Rowland made his Formula E debut standing in for Nick Heidfeld for the Punta del Este race in 2015/2016 season. Aside from a championship win in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2015, he’s driven in WEC, GP2 and Formula 2.
Alexander Sims, BMW i-Andretti Motorsport
Sims has had a rich partnership with BMW, including assisting with the testing of the Gen 1 Formula E cars prior to the series’ start. The 30-year-old ran as a development driver with Andretti for the 2016/2017 season, and most recently ran with BMW RLL for the GTLM class in the Weathertech Sportscar Championship, where he finished 6th in the season.
Pascal Wehrlein, Mahindra Racing
Wehrlein is a mega-talented driver, having been the youngest DTM championship winner, winning the 2014 season with HWA, at the age of 19. He would move on to Formula 1, where he split years as a driver for Manor in 2016, driver for Sauber in 2017, meanwhile acting as a test driver for the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. With no progress in getting a seat for Formula 1, Wehrlein continues in open-wheel with Mahindra, starting in 2019, as former Mahindra driver Felix Rosenqvist will race for the young German driver in the series’ opener in Ad Diriyah.