Panasonic Jaguar Racing has confirmed James Calado as Mitch Evans’ teammate for the upcoming 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.
Thirty-year-old Calado is set to make his return to international single-seater motorsport after a six-year absense and will drive the No. 51 Jaguar I-Type 4.
The deal for Calado to join Jaguar is believed to have been agreed some weeks ago but was only confirmed completely last week.
This is believed to have come after some contractual details remained unresolved owing to Calado’s ongoing employment by Ferrari, which includes a full-season FIA World Endurance Championship drive with AF Corse.
E-racing365 first reported that he was testing for Jaguar in early June and later that he had agreed a deal to race. The agreement between Jaguar and Calado is understood to go beyond the 2019-20 season.
“I’ve been away from single-seaters for a while, yes, but you don’t forget how to do it and when I got back in a cockpit for the first time I was pretty much on the pace for the first two or three laps,” Calado told e-racing365.
“Obviously there is a lot to learn going forward in Formula E because it is totally different to normal single-seaters but it’s going really, really well so far.
“I haven’t been working with them for long but honestly the team is incredible and they are really passionate about what they do.
“They are teaching me really well, I’m in the simulator quite a lot, especially regarding energy management and understanding that.”
Calado, who was a member of the original drivers’ club prior to Formula E even starting, undertook two further testing days with his new team last month and has already completed several days in Jaguar’s simulator at its base in Grove, Oxfordshire.
The 2017 GT World Endurance drivers’ champion will dovetail his new Formula E program with his WEC drive that continues at Fuji this weekend for the second round of the 2019-20 season.
Jaguar finished seventh in the 2018-19 Formula E teams’ standings after Evans scored all apart from 15 of the 116 points accrued by the manufacturer. The remaining 11 were contributed by Alex Lynn and his predecessor Nelson Piquet Jr.
“[Calado’s] experience in multiple formulas and outright pace will be a huge asset to the team,” said Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s team director James Barclay.
“We learnt how to win as a team last season and we are hungry for more. To be successful in Formula E you need two drivers who can compete for podiums at every race.
“With Mitch and James we can look to build on the success of last season by securing even more points, podiums and wins.”
Ferrari Priority in Potential Date Clash
As an AF Corse Ferrari driver, Calado still faces the threat of having clashing commitments in March should the expected second Sanya E-Prix still clash with the 1000 Miles of Sebring WEC race, which will be held the day before.
E-racing365 understands that Calado will have to prioritize his Ferrari contract in such an eventuality and that Jaguar will have to look for a substitute driver that weekend.
Ironically, Calado’s former stablemate at AF Corse, Sam Bird, lost his factory deal due to him not being able to commit to a full WEC season because of the originally announced three date clashes announced in June.
Now, with the soon to be announced scrapping of the Dec. 14 Formula E race date and the movement of the 6 Hours of Spa WEC event next year, only the potential Sanya/Sebring congestion remains.
Should the clash still be confirmed this Friday at the FIA World Motorsport Council meeting it is believed that Nissan e.dams will also have to find a replacement for Sebastien Buemi, who is believed to have to give Toyota Gazoo Racing priority on Le Mans and Sebring events.