Reigning Formula E champion team DS Techeetah will carry over its title winning car to start the defence of its titles in 2021.
The Race can reveal that the DS E-TENSE FE20 that claimed four race victories from 11 races last season and took Antonio Felix da Costa to the drivers’ title will run in all races until the beginning of April.
DS Techeetah has kept its rivals waiting on its decision over which homologation slot it will take as part of the championship’s cost saving measures that give teams different update timing options heading into the new season.
“We lost three months and we worked on managing our budget in an efficient way” :: Xavier Mestelan-Pinon
The three options available are: start the season in January with an all-new powertrain, introducing one for early April 2021 or a third option of waiting until June. This was designed to give manufacturers flexibility with supply chains and in order to ease budget demands.
DS performance director Xavier Mestelan-Pinon told The Race that the decision to go for the second homologation slot option was born out of technical necessity as “we lost three months and we worked on managing our budget in an efficient way.
“So we will homologate the car for the second slot and for the beginning of the season, we will use the championship winning DS E-TENSE FE20 car.”
Mercedes, which ended the 2019/20 season with a 1-2, recently announced that it plans to use the first homologation slot and begin 2021 with its brand new package. Nissan has already committed to the same ‘slot two’ plan as DS Techeetah.
The Chinese/French DS Techeetah alliance is unbeaten in all drivers’ and teams’ championship since the Gen2 car era started in November 2018. It has also taken 109 more points than nearest rival Nissan e.dams’ total score over the last two seasons.
Mestelan-Pinon believes that the potency of the 2019/20 title sweeping package allied to enhanced software will ensure that both da Costa and double champion team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne can continue the success in the early phases of 2021.
“Clearly the car worked very well with an efficient performance and good reliability,” he said.
“But at the same time we have improved massively all the software areas with brand new software on the car.”
DS Techeetah will produce the successor to the DS E-TENSE FE20 for the currently scheduled Rome E-Prix in April, with Mestelan-Pinon confirming that it will be all-new “with fresh gearbox, motor and inverter”.
The DS and Techeetah alliance was originally formed as a three-year deal but this will be extended to incorporate the extra (fourth) season of Gen2 in 2021/22.
Beyond that negotiations are believed to be continuing regarding a new deal to take the relationship into the third generation of Formula E car for 2022/23.
“We clearly want to continue our partnership, because for sure it would not make sense to leave and do something else,” said Mestelan-Pinon.
“When you have already have the best partnership, performance and we think drivers too, the logic points to this.
“I cannot tell you more at this stage because it is confidential but we want to continue with Techeetah and they have told us the same.”