Top Formula E drivers want fixed race distance format back

Several ABB FIA Formula E drivers say they would prefer a return to a fixed lap count over the current 45-minute plus one lap format.

Top Formula E drivers want fixed race distance format back

FE has revised its rules for the 2019/20 season to encourage greater energy management after the Gen2 car's introduction and the 45-minute plus one lap format contributed to flat-out and incident-packed races on narrow circuits.

Several drivers had suggested solutions to the racing, mooting options such as freezing the race time under the safety car period to encourage energy saving.

FE will, however, retain the 45-minute plus one lap format but will instead deduct 1kWh per minute from the cars' remaining useable energy to ensure energy saving remains prevalent. 

Envision Virgin Racin's Sam Bird told Motorsport.com that a fixed lap format would improve overtaking.

"The car is very wide and we race on these street circuits so it is narrow," he said. "However, if we go back to an [set] amount of laps to make the energy very difficult, you will get the overtaking back because you can’t be mucking around with trying to go quick and hoping for a safety car. 

"If you have to hit an energy target and it’s tough for everybody, someone will save and get the move done and move forward. 

"That’s what I would do. Go back to a number of laps, like it used to be. It’s really tough, do it like that."

Nissan e.dams's Sebastien Buemi said that deducting energy from the cars will make it more difficult for fans to follow on TV.

Asked by Motorsport.com for his take on the new rule, Buemi said: "I think it’s much better, but I still think it is a bit complex to explain and show on TV. 

"Going back to a set [number of] laps would make things easier. You just look at how many laps are left. 

"To reduce energy, to get people to understand, under the safety car, full-course yellow - why do you reduce energy? Stop the time.

"It’s complex to explain to people who don’t know."

Like Buemi, Vergne has been one of the more vocal drivers in pushing for changes to improve energy saving.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he still preferred the method of freezing time under the safety car, Vergne said: "It would be better because you have more racing action. 

"If you have five minutes under the safety car, you still have a lot of laps. Although the energy [saving] is still going to be hard, for the racing, it would be nicer. 

"But I believe there are the TV rights behind [it], so everything has to be done in one hour and I understand Formula E needs the race in this time. It makes sense, but at least it’s a step in the right direction."

Other changes made to the sporting regulations include an increase to attack mode's power and a ban on drivers using it under safety car or full-course yellow conditions, a move which drivers have backed.

Drivers will also earn a point for topping their respective qualifying group, in addition to the three awarded for pole position.

"All the changes in the regulation are in the right direction and it will improve the show. 

"So, the unpredictability and qualifying in group one won’t be so much of an issue. You can come back in the race thanks to energy management, so it’s good."

BMW i8 Safety car Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19, Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO1

BMW i8 Safety car Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19, Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO1

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / LAT Images

shares
comments
Formula E drivers back attack mode tweaks

Previous article

Formula E drivers back attack mode tweaks

Next article

Honda interested in Formula E, but focus is on F1

Honda interested in Formula E, but focus is on F1
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Author Tom Errington
Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent Prime

Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent

FIA president Jean Todt wanted more Formula E coverage in the media, and got his wish when the opening Valencia E-Prix proved farcical. Despite attempts to spin the race as teams failing to get their sums right, Formula E and its governing body cannot escape blame - especially when trying to get teams to commit long-term.

Formula E
Apr 27, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem Prime

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair.

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Prime

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Prime

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits.

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Prime

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons.

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Prime

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Prime

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet.

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Prime

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

Mercedes and Porsche compete to win and have done so across the board: in Formula 1, sportscars, the Dakar Rally and endurance road races - even working together to break land speed records. Next in the crosshairs is the Formula E teams' championship crown.

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021