jake dennis podium

Jake Dennis on sports cars, Formula 1 and finding a home in Formula E

Jake Dennis is probably best known for being the current ABB FIA Formula E World Champion, having won his first title in 2023 with Andretti after a dramatic end to a nail-biting season. However, over the years, Jake has accumulated a range of racing experience, from karting through to junior single seater categories through to closed wheel racing in DTM and European Le Mans. Since 2018, Jake has been working with current Formula 1 Driver and Constructor Champions Red Bull Racing as the team’s development driver alongside his full-time role in Formula E with Andretti.

Silverstone caught up with Jake to discuss his career so far, from F1 being his goal at one point in his career until things switched, and he unexpectedly found a home in Formula E.


Jake spent his younger years growing up surrounded by motorsport, with his father Steve racing for over a decade before he did, although never at a professional level. However, it was his dad’s passion for racing that led Jake to a race track – albeit a karting one – for the first time.

“As a family, we’d go karting on Saturday and Sunday, ever since I was a baby,” Jake says. “I never really had much interest in it.

“I just enjoyed being with the other kids, playing football at the track and obviously watching dad, but I was never jumping at the occasion to get into a go kart. I definitely just grew up in a motorsport family but more just for fun than for anything else.”

It was Jake’s older sister, Jade, who was more interested in the racing side of things than he was in those formative years. She was a little more clued up about how to approach things in a go kart compared to Jake, and she was, in his words, better than him.

“I had a bit of a crash, which looking back, wasn’t even a crash, I just drove into some tyres and was like, ‘there’s no chance I’m doing that,’” Jake remembers. “So, I stopped for another year and continued to watch my dad and Jade.

“When I was nine, I gave it another go, because although I enjoyed football, I was spending all my weekends at a race track and I wanted to make it work, so I gave it another go and was much better.”

Having grown up a little since his first few outings in a go kart, Jake was beginning to enjoy the competition and racing against other people, whereas when he was younger, he saw karting as a way to have fun and didn’t have an interest in approaching it competitively.

“I wasn’t any good to start with,” he says. “I wasn’t one of those kids who jumped in and was a natural winning machine; I had to work hard at it.

“I eventually got my first win when I was 10. It was a process, but one I enjoyed, which was important.”

That first win was one of Jake’s many prominent memories and milestones in his early career. During one race in cadets, the stage just before juniors, Jake started last and raced through the pack to almost win the race. His performance was spotted by Martin Hines, the same figure who spotted now seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who then approached Jake and his dad, offering him a spot in his junior team.

“It was a very big thing for us because I wasn’t from a family from money, so at that point, it became a bit more serious,” Jake says. “When I moved into a bigger go kart, I was much more talented than when I was driving in cadets and I started winning a lot of races.”

Three months down the line, Martin approached Jake with the opportunity to be sponsored by a wealthy figure breaking into motorsport who wanted to sponsor young drivers. The Racing Steps Foundation then sponsored Jake for ten years after that initial point.

“At the time, I didn’t realise how big it was,” he says. “I didn’t expect too much but they paid for every single penny of my racing until I turned professional.”

In terms of wins during his earlier years in motorsport, winning the World Karting Championship in 2010, when he was only 15, saw Jake become the youngest person to take that title. He won the British Kart Championship in the same year before moving to single seaters for 2011.

In 2011, Jake won the InterSteps Championship with Fortec Motorsport and he stayed with the team for the following year to compete in the Formula Renault 2.0 series. Another championship title to his name, and Jake was also one of the finalists for the 2012 BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

Jake took the BRDC Young Driver of the Year title, adding another achievement to his list, although, unlike nowadays, when winning this award can change the lives of young drivers, Jake looks back and realises that actually, it wasn’t as defining in his career.

“Prior to the result, I knew what I was doing the following year; my contract was signed and I was staying with RSF so it was more of a bonus,” he says. “I’d won the championship that year and had an amazing year so the next thing was to try and win the award.

“It was an amazing way to round off an incredible 2012.”


After a few years racing in different single seater championships, including FIA Formula 3 and the GP3 Series, Jake realised how vital it was for him to begin making a living out of racing. This fuelled his decision to change lanes and he moved into sports cars, initially joining Audi before moving to Aston Martin. 
“It was a real different aspect of racing because in single seaters, it’s very much just you and your car and everything’s built around you, whereas when you move into sports cars, you’re sharing a car with three other drivers who are all super talented,” Jake says. “They’re all the same level as you, and you have a level of respect between the three of you.

“But, you’ve got to be selfless and share the car; I had single seaters for so many years where it’s all about me and my car and you try and aim for Formula 1 but then you don’t make it and you go into sports cars where it’s all about a team.”

Moving into sports cars was a totally different experience of racing on-track too. Jake went from open wheel to closed wheel racing, meaning he had a roof over his head on-track and there was a lot more contact and much closer racing. Then, there was DTM in 2019, which was a bit of both, because Jake had his own car again but with a roof over his head.

“It was thoroughly enjoyable to have your own car again, but then I missed the endurance racing where I was sharing a car,” Jake says. “I did really enjoy those years of motorsport and that’s why I still do it to this day.

“I still race for BMW now, share cars and do endurance racing, just because I enjoy it a lot.”


Over the years, Jake has accumulated a range of stand-out memories from his time at Silverstone, from races and test days to visiting the BRDC Clubhouse.

In 2016, Jake raced at Silverstone in the GP3 Series, before returning the following year as part of the FIA F3 European Championship, a race in which he finished second. In 2018, Jake returned to Silverstone with the R-Motorsport team in the Blancpain GT Series, where he and his teammates started the race on Pole Position, before taking the win in the Pro Series.

His biggest memory from being at Silverstone was the first time he ever drove a Formula 1 car, the MP4-26, as his prize for winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

“In terms of memories, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Jake says. “Silverstone is an amazing circuit to drive on.

“It was my first time ever in a Formula 1 car and it was dry which is quite rare for that time of year; it was definitely by far my best moment.”

Jake also got behind the wheel of the RB8 for a few flying laps around Silverstone in 2018, the same year he joined the Milton Keynes outfit as their Simulator and Development Driver.

“The 2018 test was a very unexpected call-up,” he says. “It was at a stage where I was racing in sports cars and I wasn’t really looking at Formula 1.”

To this day, Jake’s role with Red Bull Racing consists of the same thing it has done since he first joined the team: developing the simulator and developing the race car as much as possible. Jake works closely with Red Bull’s F1 drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as well as with Sébastien Buemi, to choose the direction in which the car should go for the year. Then, it’s down to Adrian Newey and the technical team to design a fast race car.

“It’s a constant snowball effect of that,” Jake says. “To try and improve the car week by week.”

Jake still works with Red Bull Racing each season alongside his Formula E campaign. Of course, Formula E remains his priority, however, Jake does spend quite a bit of time working with Red Bull.

“With Formula E only racing until July, I have quite a lot of spare time still, and Red Bull obviously use that time wisely,” he says. “From July onwards, I’m in the simulator a lot more and helping as much as I possibly can.

“Red Bull are fully onboard, they know my career is in Formula E and when they can, they’ll use me on the simulator for as many days as possible.”


With Red Bull, Jake has completed in three F1 tests, the most recent being the 2023 rookie test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year’s racing season. Jake and the team at Red Bull are completely aligned with the fact that he’s not looking to drive in Formula 1 full-time anymore, but the experience of getting in an F1 car with Red Bull is still special to him.

“The test in Abu Dhabi was just a massive tick off the bucket list in terms of getting to drive on an official F1 race weekend, especially in the most successful F1 car ever built,” Jake says. “It just blows you away with how quick these cars are and what they’re capable of.

“You can’t prepare yourself for it. It was just an amazing experience and it’s great that Red Bull still give me the opportunity to drive it.”

Jake’s goal was once to reach Formula 1, up until 2016 when he was racing in GP3 with Arden Motorsport. After a successful year in FIA Formula 3, having taken third in the Championship with PREMA, Jake realised it really was crunch time for him.

“I needed to win the championship, but we didn’t really have the car for it,” he says. “We finished fourth in the championship and at that stage, I was like, ‘I need to make a career now.’”

With RSF, Jake made the decision to move into sports cars and he made his endurance debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016 with G-Drive Racing. From that point onwards, he began to make a professional career in racing and gradually amassed more and more endurance experience, before an opportunity in Formula E came knocking.

“The past four years of Formula E weren’t really on the plan,” he says. “When I moved into sports cars, I just expected to have a goof sports cars career but then that obviously changed massively in 2020 when I moved to Formula E.

“That’s when it took a big turn for the positive.”

In 2020, a racing season plagued with delays due to the COVID pandemic, Jake made his Formula E debut with BMW i Andretti Motorsport.

The opportunity became a possibility through one contact Jake had at BMW, and when a seat became available, his contact put him in touch with Mike Krack, head of BMW Motorsport at the time, but who is now Team Principal at Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team.  

“Mike gave me a simulator opportunity, and I’m obviously quite good at simulators, so I did really well,” he says. “At that point, they put me into the race car and it was basically a shootout between me and the other six DTM drivers at BMW.

“I was thinking that there was no way I’d beat the guys I was up against.”

However, the test went really well for Jake, and three weeks before the official test, he received a phone call, telling him he was going to be climbing into the car for BMW in Formula E, and that first season, although with an unusual schedule as a result of COVID, was an incredible debut for Jake.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Jake says. “I owe a lot to Mike Krack. We almost won the championship in that first year and I have a lot to thank him for.

“He’s the first person to congratulate me, even today, while he’s so busy in F1. When I won the championship or when I win races, he’s so happy to see me perform because he was the one guy who took that chance with me.”

Jake’s Formula E career only continued to get better and better as he became more experienced in the all-electric racing championship. Fast forward to 2023, his fourth season in the sport and his fourth with the same team, although then known as Andretti Avalanche, and Jake was looking ahead to what finally might have been possible for him, after a tough couple of years regarding the car’s efficiency.

“We always had a good Qualifying car, one of the best, but then in the races, we’d always go backwards because we didn’t have the efficiency,” he explains. “When we made the transition to the Porsche powertrain and we had one of the most efficient race cars, it was like a double whammy.

“You know the small details like the back of your hand, and now you’ve got an efficient race car and you can really make the most out of it; that’s what we did a good job at compared to others last year, just the small marginal gains brought us big performance.”

Jake and Andretti finished on the podium at 11 races out of 16 in the 2023 season, which was a huge advantage for the team, and his trips to the podium, especially the ones to the top step, are some of his favourite memories.

“You never learn much from the good days, you always learn more from the bad days,” he says. “That’s obviously made me the driver I am today, but I’m still learning massively now.”



Going into the final round of the 2023 season, Jake’s home race at the ExCeL in London, there was a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders from the media, especially publishers in the UK. He was heading into the event, two races on home soil in front of family, friends and home fans, with a 24-point advantage over his closest rival for the title, Nick Cassidy.

“I had such a big task in front of me going into London,” he says. “The track didn’t suit us at all in terms of performance and the only thing we had going for us was the championship lead.”

The moments were so high-pressured, with the desire to perform and pull off the all-important championship win for both himself and the team, and trying to manage those expectations, as well as Jake’s own, was tough.

“When I won it, it was just a huge relief from the whole event but also the whole year,” Jake says. “Initially crossing the line, it was a massive relief and so emotional to see the whole team and to see how happy they were with it was something pretty special.

“It’s a massive team effort and it’s not just me getting the results, it’s the whole team and I’m nothing without them so to reward them with the championship was huge.”

After taking the title last year, Jake is approaching this season with one goal: to go in, work hard, and try and win the championship again. Only one driver – Jean Éric Vergne – has won the championship twice in concession, and Jake knows how difficult a task it could be.

“We’ve got out first win off the bat already which is great because it always helps to get a win super early in the year,” he says. “I’d be lying if I said I wanted to finish second; no one wants to finish second.”

And, although there’s still a long way to go, Jake is excited for the challenge ahead more than anything.

“The difference this year is that within myself, I’m more confident,” he says. “I’m more confident inside the team, and the way I go about things will probably be a lot calmer.

“I still want to win the Championship just as much.”


All Image Credit: Spacesuit Media & Andretti Formula E