Formula E, officially the FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. The series was conceived in 2012, and the inaugural championship started in Beijing on 13 September 2014. The series is sanctioned by the FIA. Alejandro Agag is the current CEO of Formula E.
The Formula E championship is currently contested by ten teams with two drivers each. Racing generally takes place on temporary city-center street circuits which are approximately 2 to 3.4 km (1.2 to 2.1 mi) long. Currently, only the Mexico City ePrix takes place on a road course, a modified version of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
Race day format:
All events begin with two practice sessions in the morning, an opening 45-minute session followed by a further 30-minute session. Drivers each have two cars at their disposal with 200 kW available throughout.
The qualifying session normally takes place at noon and lasts one hour. The drivers are divided into four groups of five, with each group having six minutes to set their best lap. Full power of 200 kW is available throughout with drivers only able to use one car. Since the second season, the five fastest drivers then go out again, one-by-one, in the Super Pole shoot-out to determine the top five grid positions.
The race itself lasts for approximately 50 minutes with drivers making one mandatory pit stop to change cars. Tire changes, unless caused by a puncture or damage, are not permitted during this pit stop. In race mode the maximum power is restricted to 170 kW. Points are awarded using the standard FIA system.
For each race, fans can vote for their favourite driver via various social media channels to give them an extra power boost. Voting starts about two weeks prior to an event and is also open during the opening six minutes of the race. The three winning Fanboost drivers each receive an extra 100 kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180 kW and 200 kW.
Points are awarded to the top ten drivers using the standard FIA system. Three points are also awarded to the driver securing the pole position, while the driver setting the fastest lap receives an additional point (two points during the first two seasons). The championship consists of both a drivers’ and teams’ championship. A driver’s end of season total is made up a driver’s best results. A team’s total is made up by counting both drivers’ scores throughout the season.
Spark-Renault SRT 01 E and Formula E car:
For the first season, all teams were supplied an electric racing car built by Spark Racing Technology, called the Spark-Renault SRT 01E. The chassis was designed by Dallara, with an electric motor developed by McLaren (the same as that used in its P1 supercar), a battery system created by Williams Advanced Engineering and a Hewland five-speed gearbox. Michelin was the official tyre supplier.For the first season, 42 electric cars were ordered by the series, with four cars made available to each of the ten teams and two cars kept for testing purposes.
An average Formula E car has a power of at least 250 horsepower (190 kW). The car is able to accelerate from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 3 seconds, with a maximum speed of 225 km/h (140 mph). The noise levels are approximately 80 dB (SPL), which is more than an average petrol car which produces about 70 dB. The generators used to re-charge the batteries are powered by glycerine, a by-product of bio-diesel production.
Since the second season regulations allow for new powertrain manufacturers. The manufacturers are able to build the electric motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system. The chassis and battery stay the same. Eight manufacturers were selected to create powertrain technology for the 2015–16 season, with existing teams Andretti, Abt Sportsline, Venturi Automobiles, and Virgin Racing Engineering electing to build their own powertrain. In addition, Motomatica, NEXTEV TCR and Renault Sport will provide for customer teams.
The calendar consisted of 11 races held in 10 different host cities: Beijing, Putrajaya, Punta del Este, Buenos Aires, Long Beach, Miami, Monte Carlo, Berlin, Moscow and finally London, where last two rounds of the championship took place.
The first Formula E race at the Beijing Olympic Green Circuit on 13 September 2014 was won by Lucas Di Grassi, after Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost crashed out on the final corner. In the course of the season, there were 7 different race winners: Sébastien Buemi (three times), Sam Bird (twice), Nelson Piquet Jr. (twice), António Félix da Costa, Nicolas Prost, Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Lucas Di Grassi. The championship was decided with the last race in London, where Nelson Piquet Jr. became the first Formula E champion, only a single point ahead of Sébastien Buemi. Piquet, Buemi and Di Grassi all had a theoretical chance at winning the title in the final round. The team championship was decided on the second to last race, with e.dams Renault (232 points) winning ahead of Dragon Racing (171 points) who surpassed ABT in the final round of the championship.
First lap of the 2015 Punta del Este ePrix
The second season of Formula E started in October 2015 and ended in early July 2016. The calendar consisted of 10 races in 9 different cities. For this season eight manufacturers were introduced, who were allowed to develop new powertrains. Sébastien Buemi won the championship with only 2 points more than Lucas di Grassi by claiming the fastest lap in the final race in London.
The 2016–17 FIA Formula E season is the third season of the FIA Formula E championship and started in October 2016 in Hong Kong. Sébastien Buemi is the defending drivers champion and Renault e.dams is the defending teams champion.
FE School Series:
During the first season, the FE School Series for student teams that developed their own electric car took place as support races at selected events. However, the series was not continued during the second season.
Planned to start in the third season (2016–17), there will be a support series called Roborace for autonomously driving, electrically powered vehicles. This will be the first global championship for driverless cars.
Records correct up to and including the 2017 Mexico City ePrix.
|Season||Championship for Drivers||Championship for Teams|
|2014–15||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV Team China Racing||Spark-Renault SRT_01E||e.dams Renault||Spark-Renault SRT_01E|
|2015–16||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.dams||Spark-Renault Z.E 15||Renault e.dams||Spark-Renault Z.E 15|
Wins by driver:
|Driver is a series Champion|
|Bold||Driver has competed in the 2016–17 season|
Wins by team:
|Team is a series Champion|
|Bold||Team has competed in the 2016–17 season|
Formula E provides comprehensive live television coverage shown via major broadcasters around the globe (FOX Sports, Channel 5, CCTV-5, Eurosport, Viasat, Canal+ / Sport+, Energy (Spain), TV Asahi).Production is carried out by Aurora Media Worldwide.
Four-time IndyCar champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti joined the host television commentary team for the FIA Formula E Championship. Franchitti acts as co-commentator alongside lead commentator Jack Nicholls. Pitlane reporter is Nicki Shields. Allan McNish, Bob Varsha and Scott Speed have all previously covered for Franchitti and Nicholls during the first two seasons.
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