Formula E boss Jamie Reigle reckons the championship is unlikely to fill Audi’s vacancy in time for the 2021-22 season but reckons the notion of fewer teams “has some advantages”.
Both Audi and BMW will quit Formula E at the end of the current campaign, however the Andretti race team – which has always held the licence for the BMW entry – will remain and will continue with BMW powertrains as an effective customer team.
Meanwhile, Audi failed to agree terms in time to sell its franchise – despite partner Abt being among the interested parties to submit a bid – so the entry has now fallen back under the ownership of Formula E.
Championship chief executive officer Reigle told Autosport that he did not expect another manufacturer or team to come forward in time and join the series to keep it at its maximum 24-car grid for next season.
He said: “Well, look, there’s certainly interest in teams.
“When I look at season eight, the last year of Gen2, as it stands, we’re on 11.
“Audi is exiting, and that entry has reverted to us.
“You could imagine having a new entrant for season eight, but I don’t think that’s very likely, to be honest.”
However, the former Manchester United commercial director said he felt “really good” about a new entrant arriving in time for the advent of the Gen3 regulations in 2022-23.
This comes after McLaren Racing signed a deal with Formula E that gives it an option to join the grid for the new 470bhp and 120kg lighter third-generation machines that will remain in use until the end of the 2025-26 campaign.
DS Techeetah is also ready to supply its championship-winning powertrain to a customer team, which would very likely be another manufacturer from the Stellantis conglomerate such as Alfa Romeo or Maserati.
Reigle said: ” As we sit here today, there’s a number of parties that are interested.
“Obviously, McLaren have made an announcement around the option that they have.
“That one is out there. There’s other interest as well.
“I feel really good about having 12 teams.”
But Reigle added that he felt confident that Formula E could work well with fewer entrants, which would provide competitors with more exposure and suit the narrow street circuits.
He said: “Equally, other championships have fewer [manufacturers] and you could make an argument that actually fewer has some advantages.
“It’s compact city street racing so 20 cars instead of 24 might lead to a different competitive dynamic.
“Commercially, there’s fewer going after a similar pie.
“If we end up at 10 teams, just for example [for Gen3], and I don’t think that’s likely, but I don’t think that fundamentally shifts Formula E’s prospects.
“But I do believe we’ll end up with 12.”