Launched in September 2014 by Formula E Holdings and the FIA, the FIA Formula E Championship’s primary objective is to promote the use of zero-emission vehicles in city centres by staging races – known as ‘e-prix’ – that are held for the most part around temporary street circuits. Beijing, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Paris, Rome, Berlin, New York and Miami are amongst the major cities that have already hosted the series.
An intense format
Season 5 of the FIA Formula E Championship featured several new developments, notably regarding the race cars: GEN2.
Since then, two cars are no longer required to cover an E-Prix following the introduction of more powerful, new-generation single-seaters which deliver longer range.
Although the format of free practice hasn't changed (two 45-minute sessions and one 30-minute session), the qualifying process has been adjusted slightly with drivers split into four groups based on championship positions and the six fastest going through to the Super Pole shootout.
The duration of all races is now 45 minutes plus one lap.
In the Formula E championship, single seaters have the same SPARK chassis and battery. However, the manufacturer has a leeway regarding the development of the electrical GMP. Vehicles starts with the same quantity of energy in the battery so GMP is key as it enables to maximize the use of energy by reducing losses.
An involved audience
The cars themselves deliver a power output of 250kW (338hp) in free practice and qualifying trim. During races, drivers are required to run two different modes, namely 'normal' mode (capped at 200kW) and 'Attack' mode (235kW). The latter is to be activated when passing through bespoke zones, the number and length of which depend on the configuration of each circuit. Maximum energy recovery now stands at 250kW. The FanBoost system allows five drivers chosen by the public via the internet to benefit from a single temporary power boost to as much as 250kW for 5 seconds and only during the first half of the race.
Finally, the points system is unchanged, with 25 points awarded to the winner, 18 points for second place, 15 points for third place, then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points for the other top-10 finishers. The driver starting at the front (Julius Baer Pole Position) picks-up an extra three points, while the driver who sets the fastest lap during Qualifying gets an additional point. During the race, the driver who completes the Fastest Lap also receives one additional point. However, the driver must finish in the top-10 places to gain the Fastest Lap extra point. If not, then the driver in the top-10 with the next fastest lap takes the honour.