Over the last week, several sources, including German website Motorsport-Total.com, have reported rumours concerning Renault’s current Formula E status, suggesting that for the 2017/18 season their entry with French auto racing team e.Dams will be taken over by their alliance partners, Nissan.
The two manufacturers, who have been closely working together since 1999, are believed to be considering a rearrangement of their respective motorsport programs on an international scale.
Last year, Renault went to Formula 1 after a five-year break to coincide with their Formula E efforts. However, Nissan have been virtually inactive since their failed Le Mans project in 2015, only fielding a handful of cars in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship since returning in 2012.
It’s believed the change would take place so the French outfit can focus solely on their F1 project and pass over their FE assets to their Japanese counterparts for them to communicate their desired attributes of sportiness and technologic advancement. This move would also allow Nissan to rebuild their reputation within Motorsport.
This isn’t the first time Nissan have been linked with a move to Formula E, with reports last year suggested they were interested after the FIA announced that from the 2018/19 season, the regulations would be designed for a car to be able to complete the full race distance.
Should these rumours prove to be true, questions will be raised over the future of e. Dams’ FE drivers. At this time, defending champion Sebastian Buemi drives for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship. The idea of him driving for two rival Japanese companies simultaneously is improbable, meaning Buemi may be forced to choose between the two series should he become unable to find refuge within another FE team.
Nico Prost may also struggle to retain his seat, being outperformed significantly by Buemi who has claimed five wins out of six this season. In comparison, Prost has failed to finish on the podium.
Nissan are likely to include a home-grown driver in its line-up, in the same way other manufacturers such as Jaguar and Audi have Adam Carroll and Daniel Abt in their respective line-ups, in addition to Renault’s inclusion of Prost. As a result, it is likely one of them, if not both, could be out of a drive for FE next season.