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Who are they, anyway - Formula 1 to Formula E // Keeping track of the drivers with an F1 history

Published by Christine Blachford

I've seen a couple of Formula E races across the last few years, and although I haven't been a regular viewer, it's always been fun to tune in and recognise at least some of the names on the timesheets. Formula E has attracted the great and the good from across motorsport, and is an enticing prospect for drivers from many different disciplines.

As a fan who is intending to really pay attention this season, I thought it would be worth looking at which drivers I'm going to recognise from the 2017/18 Formula E lineup. It turns out that only five of the names haven't got a connection to F1, with the remaining fifteen having at least tested an F1 car. How many do you know?

Jérôme D'Ambrosio transitioned from F1 to Formula E
Credit: LAT Photographic

Jérôme D'Ambrosio

D'Ambrosio joined the Virgin team for an initial set of Friday practice sessions in 2010, before being signed as driver for 2011. His best finish in the back marker car was a couple of 14th places, but he did beat teammate Timo Glock that year.

In 2012, he moved to Lotus and became their reserve driver, with a one-off race appearance thanks to Romain Grosjean picking up a ban. He remained as tester for 2013, but didn't make it back onto the grid.

Sam Bird

Sam appeared in the young driver test in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2010, driving for Mercedes.

Sébastien Buemi

Buemi was signed to the Red Bull team as test driver for 2008, and that led to his race debut for Toro Rosso in 2009. He continued with the sister team for three seasons, picking up points here and there. His best result were two seventh places - one of which he achieved on his debut Grand Prix in Australia. Buemi moved back to Red Bull as reserve driver until 2015.

António Félix da Costa

Felix da Costa has appeared in a couple of young driver tests, for Force India and for Red Bull, the last time in 2012.

Luca Filippi

Filippi was reserve driver for Honda in 2008, and tested for the Super Aguri team, but no race seat emerged from these endeavours.

Lucas di Grassi

Di Grassi has been in and around Formula One for over a decade, originally signing up as a test driver for Renault in 2005. He became a full time driver for the new Virgin Racing squad in 2010, partnering Timo Glock. His best race finish was 14th, but it wasn't exactly a car that would take wins. Di Grassi's F1 career was cut short when he wasn't retained by Virgin at the end of the season, but he did move to become a test driver for Pirelli, working on improving the tyres wherever possible.

Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld is the most experienced Formula One driver in the current FE lineup, having driven for five different teams and started over 180 races. He started with the Prost team in 2000, moving through Sauber, Jordan, Williams and BMW. At the tail end of his F1 career, he was a test driver for Mercedes and Pirelli before rejoining Sauber for the final five races of 2010, and the first half of the 2011 season.

Heidfeld amassed 13 podium finishes, but was also famous for completing so many races without taking the top spot.

Nick Heidfeld's long career in F1 led to Formula E

Neel Jani

Jani was a test driver for Toro Rosso in 2005 and 2006, and he joined Force India as a tester in 2010, but he wasn't signed on for a full time role.

Kamui Kobayashi

Kobayashi replaced Franck Montagny as reserve driver for Toyota in 2008, earning himself a race drive in 2009 when current driver Timo Glock was injured. Toyota quit the team at the end of that year, so Kobayashi moved to Sauber where he stayed until 2012. His best result was third place in Japan that final year.

In 2014, Kamui joined Caterham but neither team nor driver was particularly successful that season.

André Lotterer

Lotterer's F1 career was just one race long when he replaced Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham for one event in 2014. He had previously tested for Jaguar in 2002, with a sizeable gap before his return to F1.

Alex Lynn

Some test driving for Lotus, and a stint as development driver for Williams.

Nelson Piquet Jr

Piquet is infamous in Formula One circles for playing a significant part in Renault's troublesome 2009 season. Piquet joined the squad in 2007 as test driver and was promoted to a full time race drive in 2008, alongside Fernando Alonso.

In Singapore 2009, Piquet was instructed to crash deliberately in order to bring out the safety car and help Alonso take victory, something that didn't emerge until after Piquet had left the team. The Brazilian driver suggested he had other teams interested in his services for 2010, but he didn't return to the F1 grid.

Nico Prost

Despite his deep heritage in Formula One, Prost has only been on the periphery. He was a test and development driver for the Lotus/Renault team at various points from 2010 through to 2014.

Oliver Turvey

Turvey has driven for McLaren in young driver testing, and was signed as their tester in 2012.

Jean-Éric Vergne

As part of the Red Bull junior team, Vergne joined Toro Rosso for the young driver testing in 2010 and participated in free practice sessions the following season. In 2012, he joined Toro Rosso as race driver, where he remained for three years. His best result was a sixth place, achieved on two occasions.

In 2015, he joined Ferrari as a test driver, concentrating on simulator work and combining this with his Formula E duties.

Jean-Éric Vergne spent several years with Red Bull
Credit: Servus TV