Formula E: Newly crowned champions Mercedes to exit after 2022 Season
Newly crowned FIA Formula E World Champions Mercedes Benz-EQ will leave the all-electric racing series after the 2022 Season ahead of the Gen3 regulations.
As Nyck de Vries crossed the line in eighth place on Sunday's Berlin ePrix, the final race of the 15 round championship, to become the first FIA Formula E World Champion - there was uncertainty for his championship-winning team.
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Present at the final double-race finale in Berlin, the Head of Mercedes Motorsport Toto Wolff, also Team Principal of the Formula One team, was there to oversee his team and driver clinch the championship as disussions with members of the Daimler board had come to an agreement.
Announced today, Mercedes will follow their German counterparts, BMW and Audi, in pulling of the championship. Sunday's Berlin ePrix was Audi and BMW's final race as official manufacturers. This decisions by all three German brands will just leave Porsche as the remaining brand competing in the series post 2022.
All is not lost as Formula E team will compete but it'll be without the manufacturer support. The future of it's drivers: newly crowned champion Dutchman Nyck de Vries and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne is undecided but all focus is on next season's assault.
In an official statement, Mercedes will throw all their eggs into the Formula One basket as that will remain their only Motorsport priority.
Markus Schafer, the board member responsible for Daimler Group Research and also chief operating officer of Mercedes-Benz cars, claimed the resources required for the brand to be entirely electric by the end of the 2020s - transformation meant Formula E could no longer be justified.
“In motorsport, Formula E has been a good driver for proving our expertise and establishing our Mercedes-EQ brand, but in future we will keep pushing technological progress – especially on the electric drive side – focusing on Formula 1.
Initial concerns about Mercedes' Formula E future arose at the end of March when the German manufacturer held back from signing up for the Gen3 rules.
Series CEO Jamie Reigle thanked the manufacturer for their time and success in the series so far and also looked to the future in the hopes of helping the team post the brands exit.
“Mercedes have been a valued partner to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship during Gen2. We look forward to working with the team to explore options for their entry for Gen3 which commences from 2023."
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Mercedes will leave Formula E having only been present for three seasons in a works capacity.
For the 2018/19 campaign, Mercedes' long-time partner HWA entered as a 'soft-launch' to prepare the groundwork for the full factory programme starting the following season in 2019/20 Season. Vandoorne and team-mate Gary Paffett piloted the HWA Racelab team to eighth in the standings with Vandoorne's third-place in Rome being the highlight of the season.
Vandoorne headed new team-mate and F2 Champion de Vries at the close of the 2019/20 Season by winning the season-finale in Berlin as in Mercedes' first year of the championship, they finished in third place in the Team's Standings.
With the Gen3 regulations postponed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the season started at the end of February with de Vries winning the season-opener in Saudia Arabia. Vandoorne and de Vries took wins on the trot in Rome and in Valencia before falling off the cliff.
Struggling to fight their way from the back of the grid with Formula E's unique qualifying-format playing havoc with the championship, de Vries set himself up in the best way possible with two second places in both of the London ePrix's.
With 18 drivers in the mix to clinch the championship heading into the Berlin double-header, de Vries's chances were hampered as a retirement in the first race but unusually still meant that he led the championship. Come Sunday, as his main rivals fell by the wayside, de Vries did what he needed to do to win the title for the first time.