High voltage. Insane competition.
If back in 2014 someone said Formula E, an 100% electric single seater championship would make it successfully in the motorsport world (very resistant to the electric evolution), there would be a lot skeptical saying right away… hmmm no. And that happened by then, and it stills happens now.
I have to be honest, it didn’t really catch my attention either. By then, the cars’ aeros didn’t really get me, one driver and two cars was a bit ridiculous for such a short race, the sound was really strange (kind of a whistle), and frankly speaking… the whole package was not attractive at all.
In that inaugural season, all teams were supplied an electric racing car built by Spark Racing Technology, the chassis was designed by Dallara, with an electric motor developed by McLaren, a battery system created by Williams Grand Prix Engineering and a Hewland five-speed gearbox. They all looked the same. Boring.
This bundle was already a bit odd but strangest thing of all… 10 teams contested the series. Each team had to field two drivers and each driver had two cars. Hmmm entering calculation mode… well 40 cars were needed! That must have been a bit expensive for teams… and quite a business for someone.
The first Formula E car (Gen1) had a power of at least 250 horsepower (190 kW). The car was able to accelerate from 0–100 km/h in 3 seconds, with a maximum speed of 225 km/h.
Since then, the evolution to Gen2 is remarkable.
We see now, at Season 6 of the electric racing series (which in the meantime was elevated to World Championship by the FIA and runs under its banner), a sleek beautiful car, where the modifications to the bodywork have been made midway through the current four-year cycle of the ‘Gen2’ era, definitely stamp Formula E with a new and revamped new look. It became highly competitive with all the different manufacturers on board and each team can design and develop their own electric components and parts for the powertrain.
Last season, it was already pretty impressive in all relevant technological aspects, but I have to mention two innovations that were introduced and, in my humble opinion, spiced up the races and the public!
The Attack Mode and the FanBoost.
Attack Mode lets every driver pick up an extra hit of power. To fire it up, drivers will need to arm their car, drive off the racing line, and through the Activation Zone. It’s only here that they’ll be able to collect an extra 35 kW of power. How do you know if the driver is in Attack Mode? The Gen2’s Halo changes colour depending on the racing mode the driver has activated. If the Halo glows blue, the car and driver are in Attack Mode. When the halo glows magenta, however, the driver has activated FanBoost.
FanBoost is very interactive as it gives the fans the opportunity to vote for their favourite driver and award them an extra boost of power during the race. Drivers can deploy it in a five-second window during the second half of the race. You can vote to FanBoost your favourite driver in the six days prior to, and leading up to 15 minutes into, each race. I vote once a day… for whom? Not saying. 😃
This new season… it all went up to a whole different level. Porsche and Mercedes entered the competition, the Gen2 Evo is in the limelight, all cars look amazing, the driver lineups are getting more and more interesting and above all this, it’s getting so competitive! Four rounds, four different winners. Where on earth have you seen that in Formula 1 in the last decade? Exactly.
We’re entering the Rookie Test day soon and this last week was pretty rich in announcements.
And to be honest, it blew my mind. Already before, when I realised big manufacturers were joining, along with some of my fav drivers… I just thought I had to really, and seriously, follow the series. Plus, and the most important, like it or not, this is happening and it is the future of racing. We all need to start adopting Formula E the right way. It deserves our attention.
If I can be part of the changing mindsets then be it.
I couldn’t be happier right now… some more of my favorite drivers are joining the Rookie Test (so they can sample a FE car) taking place next weekend at Marrakesh, on the 1st of March.
Happy electric days they are! Here’s the complete list.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffer – Kelvin van Der Linde // Mattia Drudi
DS Techeetah – James Rossiter // Filipe Albuquerque
Mahindra Racing – Pipo Derani // Sam Dejonghe
TAG Heuer Porsche – Fred Mako // Thomas Preining
Mercedes-Benz EQ – Dani Juncadella // Jake Hughes
Panasonic Jaguar Racing – Jamie Chadwick // Sacha Fenestraz
ROKiT Venturi Racing – Norman Nato // Arthur Leclerc
Envision Virgin Racing – Nick Cassidy // Alice Powell
GEOX Dragon – Joel Ericksson
NIO 333 – Daniel Cao
BMW i Andretti Motorsport – Lucas Auer // Kyle Kirkwood
Nissan e.Dams – Jann Mardenborough // Mitsunori Takaboshi
So now we just need to wait and see what will happen, probably in Season 7.
Until then, enjoy these ‘new’ racing series, try to know more and understand better about the electric evolution. From my side, I’ll always try to stay updated and willl share the developments with you.
Next high voltage meeting, next weekend at Marrakesh! Stay tuned because there will be another different winner this time… Just saying. ⚡️🤞😉
Photo Courtesy: DS Techeetah (Alastair Staley / LAT Images) & Tag Heuer Porsche FE (Richard Pardon)