Formula E will not replace the cancelled rookie test originally intended for last month’s Valencia E-Prix, meaning that a host of intriguing drivers who were set to participate will not sample the Gen2 cars.
The annual one-day test is a chance for new drivers to sample Formula E immediately after an E-Prix, and ran at the Marrakesh event from 2018-20.
Drivers who used the test as a launchpad to future Formula E race seats included Nick Cassidy, Nico Mueller (pictured below running with Audi in 2018), Maximilian Guenther and Sergio Sette Camara, all of whom got their first chance to drive one of the electric single-seaters at the event.
The 2021 test was initially intended to have taken place at Valencia on April 25, although it was never officially announced before the plan was pulled back when FE expanded the Valencia E-Prix into a double-header after losing other races from this year’s schedule.
The Race can reveal several drivers who were set to take part in the test had it happened in April.
Chief among these is believed to have been former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, who was set to get his first experience of Formula E.
This would potentially have been with the Nissan e.dams team. Nissan is part of the Nissan Renault alliance group along with Kvyat’s present employer Alpine, which uses him as its F1 reserve.
The former AlphaTauri driver, who attended the Monaco E-Prix earlier this month as a guest of friend and Red Bull backed driver Cassidy, is known to be interested in a test with a possible view to racing in the Formula E world championship next season.
Kvyat had previously held talks with Mahindra about a drive for the 2018/19 Formula E season before he was welcomed back into the Toro Rosso fold as a replacement for Brendon Hartley for 2019.
Another F1-linked driver had been in close discussions with Mahindra about running in the 2021 rookie tests.
Ferrari protege Callum Ilott was in talks with the team for Valencia, as were Red Bull-back F2 race-winner Jehan Daruvala and factory Mazda IMSA SportsCar racer Oliver Jarvis. All would have been making FE test debuts.
Sacha Fenestraz (Jaguar), Harry Tincknell and Jake Hughes (Mercedes) were all in line to make repeat appearances in the test.
The Race columnist Alice Powell would have got a second test with Envision Virgin. She took part in the Marrakesh test in March 2020.
Formula 3 race winner Logan Sargeant is also known to have been close to a deal to take part.
BMW i Andretti was likely to run DTM driver Sheldon van der Linde, while Audi would have ensured two van der Lindes in the field by again running Sheldon’s elder brother, Kelvin.
DS Techeetah was going to run 2016 IMSA champion Renger van der Zande, who told The Race that he was “really fascinated about those cars and what they can do.”
Van der Zande, who is paired with ex-F1 driver Kevin Magnussen in Ganassi’s IMSA team this year, said he had been invited by DS Techeetah’s test driver and sporting advisor James Rossiter and that Ganassi had been enthusiastic about the opportunity.
“I got an offer from James and I asked my team if they minded me doing it and they said ‘go for it’,” said van der Zande.
“I would have been there to help the team but also a little for myself to learn about the future too.
“It was a real shame but hopefully I get a chance again in the future.”
Formula E confirmed its final 2021 calendar last month with four double-header events across Puebla, New York City, London and Berlin from mid-June to mid-August completing a 15-race season.
Berlin is believed to have been the only viable alternative for Formula E to possibly host a rookie test this year but it was decided against pursuing this plan.