Reading Time: 7 minutes

Featured image by Eder Lozada on Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY 4.0)

Are you new to Motorsport? Curious about the differences between Racing Series? No worries, we’ve got you covered. As the new Racing Season approaches, we’ve decided to produce articles introducing the various aspects of Motorsport to our readers, with our series, An Introduction to Motorsport & An Introduction to Sports Car Racing. This Article covers the FIA Formula E World Championship.

It’s Electric, and it’s on the rise. Just what is Formula E? Following 6 seasons as an FIA Circuit Championship, Formula E makes the step up to become an official FIA World Championship . Ahead of the inaugural season as an FIA World Championship, we take a look at the championship. Just what is Formula E?

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, is the first top-level electric single-seater championship in the world. Formula E’s held it’s first season from 2014-15, with a season opener at the Beijing Olympic Park on 13 September 2014.

A Brief History of Formula E

Beginnings

The concept of Formula E, a city-based, single-seater electric motor racing championship was initially conceived by FIA President Jean Todt. Todt presented his concept to politicians Alejandro Agag and Antonio Tajani and the Italian actor Teo Teocoli over dinner in 2011. At the dinner, Tajani firmly concentrated on electrification in the automobile industry, alongside reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. Agag however, had a brief spark of interest in the concept.

Eventually, the FIA put out a tender to run the championship. Agag applied, citing his experience in TV rights, sponsorship and marketing, alongside running a racing team. (Agag was the former owner of the Addax GP2 Team) In Summer 2012, Agag founded Formula E Holdings (FEH) with Enrique Bañuelos.

On August 1 2012, the FIA announced that FEH had won the tender to run the FIA Formula E Championship. In November 2012, FEH announced it had ordered 42 of what would become the Spark-Renault SRT_01E from Spark Racing Technologies.

In March 2013, FEH announced Michelin would be the exclusive tyre supplier for the championship. May 2013 saw Renault join Formula E as a technical partner to Spark, while TAG Heur joined as official timekeeper.

In May 2014, FEH’s Donnington Park base received the first SRT_01Es. Testing commenced with the teams in July 2014. In preparation for the series debut, FEH held 2 simulation races in Donnington Park in August.

Season 1 & Beyond

On 13 September 2014, Formula E held it’s inaugural race, the 2014 Beijing ePrix, at the Beijing Olympic Park Circuit. Nicolas Prost started the race from pole. Following a late-race collision with Nick Heidfeld for Prost, Lucas Di Grassi won the race for Audi Sport ABT. At the season finale in London, Nelson Piquet Jr would win the inaugural Formula E Drivers’ Championship, while e.DAMS would win the inaugural Teams’ Championship.

The 2015-16 season would see the SRT_01E opened up for limited development. The areas for development were the motor, inverter and transmission, alongside rear suspension and rims. Renault e.DAMS would win it’s second consecutive Teams’ Championship, while Sebastian Buemi would clinch the Drivers’ Championship.

The 2018-19 season would see the introduction of the Gen2 car, the SRT05e. Formula E would also celebrate it’s 50th race at the 2019 Hong Kong ePrix in the same season. Jean-Eric Vergne would take his second drivers’ title, becoming the first back-to-back drivers’ champion. DS Techeetah would then claim it’s first Teams’ title.

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship:

2020/21 Teams & Drivers

Team

Powertrain

Drivers

Achievements

Envision Virgin Racing

Audi e-tron FE07

Robin Frijins

Nick Cassidy

Jaguar Racing

Jaguar I-Type 5

Sam Bird
Mitch Evans

Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 02

Stoffel Vandoorne
Nyck de Vries

Dragon / Penske Autosport

Penske EV-5

Sergio Sette Camara
Nico Müller

NIO 333 FE Team

NIO 333 FE 001

Oliver Turvey
Tom Blomqvist

Season 1 Drivers' Champion (Piquet Jnr)

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

Audi e-tron FE07

Lucas Di Grassi
Rene Rast

Season 3 Drivers' Champion (Di Grassi)
Season 4 Teams' Champion

Nissan e.DAMS

Nissan IM02

Sébastien Buemi
Oliver Turvey

Season 2 Drivers' Champion (Buemi)
Season 1-3 Teams' Champion

DS Techeetah

DS E-Tense FE20

Jean-Eric Vergne
António Félix da Costa

Season 4-6 Drivers' Champion (Vergne (4-5), da Costa (6)) 
Season 5-6 Teams' Champion

BMW i Andretti Motorsport

BMW iFE.21

Jake Dennis
Maximilian Günther

TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team

Porsche 99X Electric

André Lotterer
Pascal Wehrlein

ROKiT Venturi Racing

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 02

Edoardo Mortara
Norman Nato

Mahindra Racing

Mahindra M7Electro

Alexander Sims
Alex Lynn

Car – Spark SRT05e

Image by Matti Blume on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Formula E utilises a spec chassis Formula seen in Indycar, with teams allowed development in select zones. All teams use the Spark SRT05e, sometimes referred to as the “Gen2”. As with most single seaters today, the SRT05e is equipped with the Halo cockpit protection system. The total weight of the car is equivalent to 900kg, including ballast.

Power is provided by a 385kg, 54kWh McLaren Applied Technologies battery. Unlike the SRT01_E, which utilised a smaller 28 kWh Williams Advanced Engineering battery, the SRT05e’s battery is sufficient to last a whole race. Mid-race regeneration is available, with maximum regeneration set at 250 kW. This represents a 100 kW increase over the SRT01_E.

Since the 2019/20 season, twin motor setups have been banned from use. In the Gen2 era of Formula E, Nissan e.DAMS was the sole team utilising a twin-motor setup.

Maximum power output is 250kW, while race power output is 200kW. With Attack Mode deployed, power output increases to 235kW. FanBoost increases power to 230kW for 5 seconds.

Tyres & Tyre Allocations

Unlike most racing series, which utilise a mix of Slick & Threaded Wet Weather Compounds, Formula E uses a single all-weather threaded compound, the Michelin Pilot Sport. For the Gen 3 car, Hankook will exclusively supply tyres in place of Michelin.

3 Front Tyres & 3 Rear Tyres are issued per car at single race events. At double headers, 2 complete tyre sets are issued. (4 Front & 4 Rear Tyres)

Weekend Structure

Unlike most series, Formula E does not utilise a 3 day weekend. Formula E compresses all running into a single day (Saturday), with a short 30 minutes shakedown taking place on Friday at select races.

Friday

30 Minutes Shakedown session at select races.

Saturday

2 Morning Practice sessions of 45 & 30 Minutes respectively.

Qualifying

The qualifying session takes place in the late morning and lasts for approximately one hour. Qualifying consists of 2 parts, a Group Stage, followed by a Superpole session. For the Group Stage, drivers are split into groups of 6. Drivers in each group receive 6 minutes to set their best lap.

The first group consists of the six drivers currently leading the championship, with the subsequent groups comprising of the next six in the championship etc. The group system is intended as a handicap, as track conditions generally improve over the course of a session. Full power of 250 kW is available throughout qualifying.

Following the Group Stage, the six fastest drivers then go out again, one by one, in the Superpole session to determine the top six grid positions.

Race

The final part of the weekend for single events, the race, usually occurs in the late afternoon. The length of all races is 45 minutes + 1 Lap; prior to Season 5, Formula E races ran a set number of laps. Power is trimmed to 200kW for the race. Additional Power is available through FanBoost & Attack Mode.

Under a Full Course Yellow or Safety Car deployment, 1kWh of energy is subtracted per minute. Only full minutes are counted.

If the Race finishes under FCY or SC condition, no energy will be subtracted.

attack mode

Attack Mode, is a higher power mode (235kW), solely accessible during races. To activate attack mode, drivers must enter the activation zone, which is visible on the circuit. Typically, the activation zone is located away from the racing line. The use of Attack Mode is compulsory.

According to the nature of each circuit, the number of armings, compulsory activations, and the duration of attack mode varies.

Attack mode cannot be used in the following instances:
1. The first 2 laps of a race.
2. Full Course Yellow or Safety Car Deployment.
3. Until the competitor has crossed the Finish/Control Line after the end of a Safety Car period.

fanboost

FanBoost is a power boost which is distributed to 5 drivers per race. The 5 drivers are chosen through votes on the Formula E app and on other social media platforms, with the top 5 drivers receiving FanBoost. It is limited to 100 kJ of extra energy, with a minimum power of 240kW. FanBoost may only be used after the 22nd minute.

Sunday (Double-Header Weekends Only)

For Double-Header Weekends, Sunday’s schedule is mostly a carry-over of Saturday, with a single exception; There is only a single FP session. Prior to Season 4, Double Headers Sundays were effectively run to the same schedule as Saturday.

Points System

Position

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

Group Stage P1

Pole

Fastest Lap

Points

25

18

15

12

10

8

6

4

2

1

1

3

1

Note: Fastest Lap Points are only for drivers finishing in the top 10. Where the Fastest Lap of the race is set by someone outside the top 10, the point will be awarded to a driver in the top ten with the fastest lap.

Calendar

Updated

Round

ePrix

Country

Street Circuit

Date

1

Diriyah ePrix

Saudi Arabia

Riyadh Street Circuit

26 February 2021

2

Diriyah ePrix

Saudi Arabia

Riyadh Street Circuit

27 February 2021

3

Rome ePrix

Italy

Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR

10 April 2021

4

Valencia ePrix

Spain

Circuit Ricardo Tormo

24 April 2021

5

Monaco ePrix

Monaco

Circuit de Monaco

8 May 2021

6

Marrakesh ePrix

Morocco

Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan

22 May 2021*

7

Santiago ePrix

Chile

Parque O'Higgins Circuit

5 June 2021*

8

Santiago ePrix

Chile

Parque O'Higgins Circuit

6 July 2021*

Original

Round

ePrix

Country

Street Circuit

Date

1

Santiago ePrix

Chile

Parque O'Higgins Circuit
16 January 2021

2

Santiago ePrix

Chile

Parque O'Higgins Circuit

17 January 2021

3

Diriyah ePrix

Saudi Arabia

Riyadh Street Circuit

26 February 2021

4

Diriyah ePrix

Saudi Arabia

Riyadh Street Circuit

27 February 2021

5

Rome ePrix

Italy

Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR

10 April 2021*

6

Paris ePrix

France

Paris Street Circuit

24 April 2021*

7

Monaco ePrix

Monaco

Circuit de Monaco

8 May 2021*

8

Seoul ePrix

South Korea

Seoul Street Circuit

23 May 2021*

9

Berlin ePrix

Germany

Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit

19 June 2021*

10

New York City ePrix

United States

Brooklyn Street Circuit

10 July 2021*

11

London ePrix

United Kingdom

ExCeL London

24 July 2021*

12

London ePrix

United Kingdom

ExCeL London

25 July 2021*

TBC

Sanya ePrix

China

Haitang Bay Circuit

TBC

TBC

Mexico City ePrix

Mexico

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez

TBC

* Rounds after the Diriyah ePrix are provisional at time of writing.

Titles

Drivers’ Championship
Teams’ Championship

Driver Regulations

Each car is permitted 2 driver changes per season. Any announcements of driver changes must be made two weeks ahead of the event. Reverting to the driver listed in the season entry list is not counted as a change of driver.

Any new driver may score points in the Championship.

Any Driver already nominated by one Competitor, who then wishes to drive for another Competitor entered in the Championship, must first satisfy the FIA that this is being done with the consent of the original Competitor. If there is no such consent, the FIA will decide, at its absolute discretion, whether such a change may be made.

e-License

Drivers competing in the FIA Formula E World Championship must posses an e-License. The eLicense is Formula E’s equivalent to an FIA Superlicense. The introduction of the e-License was aimed at preventing “pay drivers” from entering the Championship; in the 14/15 season, numerous pay drivers, most notably Sakon Yamamoto, had entered various races.

The following conditions must be met to receive an eLicense:

1. The driver must be the holder of a current FIA International Grade B licence.
2. The driver must hold a valid driving license
3. The driver must be at least 18 years old at the start of his first Formula E competition.
4. The driver must successfully complete a training session on the most important points of the Electrical safety and technical and sportive aspects of the competition.
5. The driver must successfully complete a question session on the most important points of the International Sporting Code and of the FIA Formula E Championship Sporting Regulations.

6. Fulfil one of the following:
6a. Have made at least three starts in Formula E races counting for the previous year’s Championship, or at least 10 starts within the previous 3 years.
6b. Accumulate at least 20 Superlicense Points in the previous 3 years.
6c. Previously held a Super License, while recently and consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in Super License eligible Championships
6d. Judged by the FIA to consistently demonstrate outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars, while being unable to qualify under (a) to (c).

Superlicense Points

Similar to all other FIA Circuit Championships, Formula E awards Superlicense points to drivers.

Finishing Position

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

Awarded Points

30

25

20

10

8

6

4

3

2

1

Previously, the winner of the driver’s championship received an FIA Super License.

How to Watch

The FIA Formula E World Championship is available to watch on YouTube & Facebook in select nations & territories. Broadcast details are available on the FIA Formula E website. Previous seasons are also available on the Formula E Youtube channel.

Expect to see some thrilling, edge-of-your-seat wheel to wheel action & drama on track in this highly competitive championship. With a spec-chassis Formula, Formula E offers some of the closest racing in any FIA Championship.

A time-based race also allows for some drama, as power consumption miscalculations could wreak havoc on a team’s weekend. One notable casualty was Nissan e.DAMS at the 2019 Mexico City ePrix.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.