On Monday, the MS&AD Andretti Formula E Team announced that experienced Formula E driver Stéphan Sarrazin would be driving for the team for the last four races of the season, thus showing the exit to Tom Blomqvist.
Sarrazin has made a total of 33 starts with Venturi and Techeetah and he also has the experience of starting a race from pole position. The 42 year old is a very exciting driver as he doesn’t shy away from battling it out with his rivals on the track. His experience can play a key role in reviving the Andretti Team, which hasn’t had the best season so far.
The driver he replaces on the other hand, Tom Blomqvist, joined the team at Marrakesh, the second race of the season. There, in his maiden Formula E race, he finished 8th to score his first points in Formula E after a promising race. From there on however, things didn’t seem to go according to plan. The next six races turned out to be unfruitful for the British driver and as a result, Andretti decided to take the big decision.
The big question that arises here is not ‘Why did Andretti take the drive away from Blomqvist?’ Instead, the question to ask is ‘Why did they choose Sarrazin and not other BMW factory drivers like Alexander Sims?’
The answer, in my opinion, is that Andretti are looking for points and some consistency in their results.
I feel that if Andretti had opted for other BMW factory drivers, they would have faced the same issue that they encountered with Blomqvist, which is a lack of experience. With all due respect, Blomqvist is a very good driver who can rack up some good results but from my point of view, the reason why he struggled in Formula E was that he took a while to get accustomed with the series.
With Andretti opting for Sarrazin instead of the others, they increase their chances of having consistent performances and also try to help their bid for getting more points on board. Currently, Andretti sit last on the points table with merely 20 points and I feel that they opted for Sarrazin as he is a mature and capable driver who can help them climb a few places on the points table.
I consider this to be a desperate, yet smart move by Andretti as they are in serious need of points right now and with only four races left for the season to conclude, they do not have any time for a driver to adapt to the series. The decision to get Sarrazin onboard, thus is a clever and calculated one.
This may not be the end of Blomqvist’s time in Formula E though; with BMW bringing in the factory support to Andretti next season, they are bound to choose their factory drivers and Blomqvist is one of the brightest ones; he may very well be back next season with more experience this time!