Now it could be fair to say that Dragon Racing hasn’t been performing as well as they would have hoped for the past couple of seasons, but it’s not all the American team’s fault.
To explain why the situation is not entirely of their own making we’ll have to go back to London in season two, where Dragon Racing Team Owner Jay Penske unveiled a new technical partnership with EV startup Faraday Future.
In effect, Faraday Future was going to become Dragon’s manufacturer and build the teams powertrains for future seasons, which the outfit was looking forward to after being competitive in the opening two years of the championship.
Dragon Racing was fairly competitive in season three with the first stages of support of Faraday Future visible via a striking new livery. But as the season went on it became clear that Faraday Future didn’t have the financial backing necessary to support Dragon Racing in Formula E, as the company ran into serious financial difficulties.
Therefore, ahead of the fourth season of Formula E, Dragon had no technical partnership. Instead of becoming a customer team again, which they were in season one and two by running a Venturi powertrain the squad decided to create their own powertrain.
Now for a team like Dragon which relies heavily on sponsorship, building their own inhouse powertrain is expensive. Even with Formula E stopping areas of development on the car to try and keep the costs down.
However, Dragon Racing doesn’t make road cars, which was exactly what former Team Principal of Envision Virgin Racing Alex Tai said when the British team lost its manufactuer status after DS opted to move away from the team and join techeetah at the end of season four.
Instead, Virgin decided to become a customer team and buy a powertrain from Audi. But Dragon Racing do not need to become a customer team because they have Jay Penske.
Jay Penske is the son of Roger Penske who runs Team Penske in America. Team Penske runs in IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA and Australian Supercars.
Team Penske won this year’s Indy 500 with Simon Pagenaud using a Chevrolet engine. Formula E has yet to see and American manufacturer come over and try their hand at an electric powertrain.
With Dragon Racing becoming the only American team in Formula E after Andretti Autosport became BMW Andretti racing under a German flag. There is potential for Dragon to have manufactuer status again with an American manufacturer such as Chevrolet.
The Penske family will have strong links towards the American manufactuer, which may make it easier in terms of negotiations to try and persuade them to join the all-electric series.
Chevrolet has a proud tradition of racing and has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, IndyCar, NASCAR and IMSA. The American company has also released a new range of electric vehicles called the Bolt EV and Volt. Therefore, an exploration into Formula E could be a suitable option to increase Chevrolet’s racing pedigree and technology of electric vehicles.
Now, Team Penske also run Ford cars in NASCAR and Australian Supercars, so why couldn’t Jay Penske ask Ford to come along to Formula E instead of Chevrolet? Well, Ford has shown some interest in Formula E, as some Ford employees have been seen around Formula E events.
But Ford has just scaled back their racing operation by pulling out of the World Endurance Championship, so it is unlikely they will venture into Formula E at this stage.
A manufactuer joining Dragon Racing will be the key to its success in future years, and with Jay Penske having a wide range of contacts at his disposal, we are sure he will find one soon. But a potential link-up with Chevrolet could be the answer to their prayers.