The Andretti Formula E team has officially announced its deal to keep BMW’s powertrain after the manufacturer pulls out, as predicted by The Race earlier this week.
The deal confirms Andretti – which has been part of Formula E since the series’ inception in 2014 – will remain in the series following the exit of its long-time works partner.
What’s currently BMW i Andretti Motorsport team began its final campaign in this form today with Maximilian Guenther qualifying ninth and rookie Jake Dennis starting 14th for the Diriyah season-opener.
Andretti Formula E will return to competing as an independent team in the 2021/22 season using the BMW Racing eDrive03 drivetrain in its cars.
This powertrain was homologated for the present season and cannot be changed until the end of the Gen2 era next summer.
“We are delighted to be able to continue to support Andretti Formula E,” said Mike Krack, BMW Motorsport head of test and race operations.
“We are convinced that the BMW Racing eDrive03 will allow Andretti Formula E to achieve top results.
“Working purely as a drivetrain supplier, we will no longer be involved directly in events at the racetrack in season eight [2021/22] but we will provide the team with support in response to any technical questions regarding the BMW Racing eDrive03.”
The partnership between Andretti and BMW stretches back to the 2016/17 season when BMW engineers were embedded in the team ahead of a fuller programme the following season.
By the start of the Gen2 era in 2018 the BMW factory took over the technical aspects of the team but the entry stayed under the ownership of Andretti.
Together the partnership won five races; the 2018 Diriyah E-Prix with Antonio Felix da Costa (pictured below); the corresponding fixture in Saudi Arabia a year later; and two successes for Guenther at the Santiago and Berlin races in 2020.
Andretti could have a fresh slate for its driver line-up next season as both Guenther and Dennis are committed to the present team for one campaign only.
The Race revealed this week that Guenther did have a multi-season contract with BMW itself but this will now essentially mean the two-time E-Prix winner is a free agent for the 2021/22 campaign.
“Over the last two seasons the BMW i Andretti Motorsport works programme has delivered four wins, shown proven reliability and excellent efficiency,” said BMW i Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths.
“The team understands the operational aspects of the BMW Racing eDrive03 well and therefore the expectation is that Andretti Formula E can be highly competitive for the final season of the Gen2 era.”
The shape of Andretti’s Formula E future beyond the 2021/22 season is unknown for now as BMW’s Gen2 technology will no longer be suitable for the incoming Gen3 rules so it will need a new partner.
McLaren is among the parties currently looking at future Formula E entries, with CEO Zak Brown present in Riyadh this week.
Brown and Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti are already partners on programmes in Extreme E and Australia’s Supercars series through Brown’s United Autosports operation, while McLaren teamed up with Andretti for the first of its Indianapolis 500 attempts with Fernando Alonso in 2017.