A new era of Motorsport begins this weekend with the inaugural round of the FIA Formula E world championship in Beijing, China. The series will be the first all-electric powered racing series and will take place in host cities across the globe from September 13th until June 27th next year.
RTR Sports will be providing reports of all 10 rounds of the 2014/15 Formula E season, along with off-track news in between meetings. In the first of a 4 part preview for the season, we take a look at the series as a whole; how the race meetings are set up and the rules and regulations.
The championship was devised with three core principals in mind; energy, environment and entertainment. The aim is to innovate new electric technology for use in car manufacturing in the future while generating interest in electrical vehicles. FIA president Jean Todt reinforced this in a statement regarding the series’ conception:
“This spectacular series will offer both entertainment and a new opportunity to share the FIA’s values for clean energy, mobility and sustainability.”
The series see’s 20 drivers from 10 teams take to a 10 round championship across the globe on street circuits in some of the world’s most famous cities such as London, Monaco and Los Angeles.
Aside from the overriding unique factor of being the only fully electrical powered Motorsport in the world, a number of rules in the championship make the series break the mould of racing as you may know it from championships such as Formula One.
Unlike Formula One, where the on-track action lasts from Friday to Sunday, Formula E is just a one day event. Practice sessions 1 and 2, qualifying and the race all take place within 10 hours in order to minimise disruption to the streets of the host cities and reduce the cost of staging the event. Following the 45 and 30 minute practice sessions, the drivers are split into 4 groups of 5. Each group will have 10 minutes to set their qualifying times. The drivers have 2 cars available to them through-out the day, but are restricted to just one for this session. The fastest driver in qualifying is awarded 3 championship points.
The race, or ePrix, takes place after a break in track action to allow for the cars to charge. The race will begin from a standing start and will last around 45 minutes. The race also features a mandatory pit-stop, where the drivers are required to pull into their garage and change from 1 car to the other. They must be in and out of the garage within 1 minute or they will incur a penalty.
There is also a feature called the ‘Fanboost’ which is implemented into the race. The fans get the chance to vote for their favourite driver on social media prior to the race. The top 3 drivers with the most votes will get a 5 second power boost per car per driver. The points structure for the race replicates that of Formula One, with the top 10 receiving points in increments of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. In addition, the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race will receive 2 points.
Part 2 of the RTR Sports Formula E season preview tomorrow will focus on the Formula E racing car itself.