Reigning Formula E World Champion Jake Dennis is expecting it to be “extremely difficult” to match his season nine accomplishments in season 10, due to him believing that the grid will be closer.
Dennis heads into the sport’s 10th campaign with the No.1 plate on the front of his Andretti Formula E car, which also has a new white, red and blue livery following the team’s rebrand into Andretti Global.
The British driver was remarkable in the opening year of the Gen3 machinery and demonstrated immense consistency, to the extent that he broke the record for the most podiums in a single season. Dennis featured on the rostrum 11 times in 2023, meaning he only missed out on the top-three on five occasions.
It ultimately didn’t matter that the likes of Nick Cassidy, Mitch Evans and Pascal Wehrlein claimed more wins, as Dennis often capitalised on their errors. He clinched the title in an epic season finale double-header in London, where a third-place finish in the opening race was enough to seal the crown.
With the Formula E season ending in the summer, Dennis was able to celebrate his first World Championship with his family and friends in glorious weather. The 28-year-old also made sure to make time for himself to embrace everything he’d achieved in season nine.
His title celebrations are certainly now over though, as he’s stressed how “eager” he is to finally get going once again.
“I definitely celebrated with all my friends and family,” Dennis told Formula E on the first day of testing.
”One of the best things about Formula E is that you finish in the summer, so you can still get away to some nice countries and travel to the other side of the world for the good weather.
“I’ve had some time to myself as well. Moved out of London, so just been keeping myself busy, but definitely quite eager to get back going now. It does feel like a long time since London. I haven’t really driven since then. Seeing the guys out there on track this morning looked fun.”
Dennis had the opportunity to get back into his car a couple of weeks ago in pre-season testing, where he set the 12th quickest time. The Andretti driver’s best lap at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia was a 1m 24.848s, almost four-tenths down on the leading pace.
He also only completed 182 laps during the interrupted test, which was less than the majority of the grid; however, this is because rookie Zane Maloney took his seat for the opening session of the test.
This arguably doesn’t matter given that Dennis will almost certainly be at the sharp-end of the grid come Mexico City in January, where he was victorious by eight seconds almost 12 months ago.
Andretti will still have a competitive package at their disposal for season 10 given that only the software can be altered, meaning that they’ll presumably be battling with the Jaguars and their powertrain supplier, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, once again.
Dennis is also expecting DS Penske to “close the gap” to the front when action gets underway, whilst Maserati MSG Racing also can’t be forgotten about.
Season 10 is looking set to be breathtakingly close, meaning the World Champion will need to be on his A-game to become just the second Formula E driver in history to successfully defend their title. Only Jean-Éric Vergne has managed this, after the Frenchman claimed the season four and season five titles.
“We’ve still got an incredibly strong powertrain,” Dennis noted. “I don’t think there’s too much development that can happen coming into this season. There’s always tweaks here and there, but it’s more probably fine tuning.
“I would expect the likes of DS will definitely close the gap to us. It’s also still going to be difficult to beat Jaguar TCS Racing and the other Porsche team. Just trying to do what we did last year is going to be extremely difficult with that many podiums and wins. It’s never easy when the competition closes up.
“We just need to focus on this three day test and then analyse over the next couple of months, because it’s very different this year. Last year we did Valencia and then went straight into Mexico. You couldn’t really do all that much. Whereas now, we have quite a bit of time after this test to reanalyse and continue to improve the systems before Mexico.”