DS Automobiles and Techeetah have confirmed they have entered into a long-term partnership which will see newly-crowned ABB FIA Formula E Champion Jean-Eric Vergne race one of the DS E-Tense FE 19 cars next season.
Official confirmation came on Monday after 15 months of speculation that the two companies would combine, just a week after the end of Formula E’s fourth season.
The partnership between DS and the Chinese team was first discussed in late 2016 and is understood to have been formally agreed last summer.
E-racing365 believes that the operation will run under a banner along the lines of DS Techeetah Formula E Team.
The retention of Season Four Techeetah drivers Vergne and Andre Lotterer is expected to be formalized at the new-look operation’s launch in Paris on Oct. 1.
Both drivers have already tested DS’ Gen 2 car which completed its pre-homologation testing at Calafat on Friday.
This test, part of which was witnessed by e-racing365, saw Vergne run on Wednesday afternoon, while Lotterer took over the cockpit on Friday.
Techeetah’s test and development driver James Rossiter also got some time in the car on Friday morning.
“The DS E-Tense FE 19’s development began several months ago with the objective of being in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium from the opening race of the 2018-19 campaign,” said DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon.
“Our association with Techeetah, [which] recently celebrated winning the 2017-18 drivers’ title in addition to coming second in the teams’ standings, is geared towards this target.
“We are fully aware of the qualities of the men and women who work at Techeetah and I am convinced that our two entities will dovetail perfectly.”
Techeetah President Edmund Chu added: “DS has extensive experience in Formula E having been a championship manufacturer since Season Two and finishing within the top three each season.
“We’ve had some brilliant battles on track this season with DS and we can’t wait to combine the wealth of experience and expertise of arguable two of the best teams in the paddock, as Techeetah become a manufacturer team for the first time.”
Although yet to be confirmed, it is believed that DS engineer Thomas Chevaucher and Techeetah’s Leo Thomas will spearhead a joint technical lead of the team’s day-to-day race engineering.
In partnering with Techeetah, DS brings to a close its three-season relationship with Virgin Racing, with Virgin poised to announce Audi as its Season Five powertrain provider this week.