Swiss/Indian Neel Jani leaves the Dragon Racing team in the FIA Formula E Championship with immediate effect.
The 34 year-old driver announced his decision via Twitter earlier today, but there hasn’t been any official word from the team.
Jani won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Porsche LMP1 team in 2016, and then went on to take the World Championship title at the end of the year.
He won’t be out of a job, however, since he will be driving for Rebellion Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship throughout the 2018/19 season, and Porsche probably has a few jobs for him too with the show driving in their now retired Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car. At least he still receives a pay check from Porsche every month.
The Dragon Racing has been through a changeable time lately. There was plenty of stability since the middle of the first season, with Loic Duval and Jerome D’Ambrosio being teammates for two and a half seasons. Mike Conway had a single outing in Paris, when Duval had a date clash with his DTM commitments.
Duval was no longer part of the team, when Season 4 started a month ago in Hong Kong, with Jani replacing him, and becoming the new teammate of D’Ambrosio.
The team also lost their 2016/17 season title sponsor, Faraday Future prior to the season.
The team got off to a really bad start for their 2017/18 season, with Jani being the last guy to see the chequered flag on both days, and D’Ambrosio failing to score points on any of the days.
The announcement of Jani leaving is only being made public one and a half weeks ahead of Round 3 being run in Marrakesh, so the team have to hurry up to find a new driver. It will most likely be a driver who has already participated in the series, since an E-Licence, the electric equivalent to the Formula 1 Super Licence, is needed to be able to compete in a Formula E race.
The team has already announced Maximilian Günther and Andrea Caldarelli for the Rookie test on the Sunday in Marrakesh, but neither of them currently holds an E-Licence, so it’s unlikely to be any of those two being upgraded into the regular seat.
We will come back when there are news to report about the driver choice.