Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses electric-powered cars. The team owners are impressive and include the likes of Leonardo di Caprio, Richard Branson and Alain Prost. Formula E sets itself apart by boasting a philanthropic message: they’re not in it for the glamour or the fame; they’re in it to innovate the technology behind electric cars, subsequently making the world a better place for the rest of us.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship is anticipated to be the most intense as the fifth edition of the racing series began at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ad Diriyah in Saudi Arabia on the 14th of December. It was the first race for the championship in the Middle East and the first for the series’ exciting new Gen 2 cars. Against the backdrop of international skylines such as New York, Hong Kong, Paris and Rome, drivers will race across five continents in a bid to be crowned champions.
Formula E showcases some of the best international road car producers and automotive brands—names like Audi, DS, Jaguar, Mahindra and NIO leap out of their roster as well as Nissan and BMW (linking up with Andretti). This year also boasts new innovations bringing the series forward in a new era of electric racing.
As drivers make their way around a tight and undulating 2.5 km track, ATTACK MODE will see drivers go off-line in search of an extra 25 kW of power to go back and challenge rivals while FANBOOST allows 5 drivers to receive an extra 100 kJ of energy to take the maximum power available to 250 kW.
Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “Formula E broke the mold by being the first to go electric – so it’s clear we aren’t scared of trying new things. Whether that’s introducing new on-track innovations or tweaking the format of the race or creating new ways for fans to follow or interact with the sport. I’m eager to see the competitive debut of the Gen2 car and ATTACK MODE in action during a race scenario on the tight and challenging street circuits that’ve come to define our series. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and this is the year where the ABB FIA Formula E Championship comes of age.”
Abb Fia Formula E Championship – What’s New For Season Five
Split power modes – What happens when there is no pit-stop? In a bid to promote a variety of strategic options, as well as further enhancing and retaining the intense and unpredictable nature of Formula E races, it will be mandatory for drivers to use two different power modes during the race. Drivers will be able to access 225kW of power in a higher mode – as opposed to the standard 200kW available during the race – once they’ve passed through a single activation zone. The activation zone will be clearly visible and marked out on the circuit for fans trackside and those watching on TV. The two power modes on each car will be indicated using different colours on the innovative LED system on the halo head protection device. Drivers will also be able to activate FANBOOST – the unique interactive voting mechanism that allows the top-five voted drivers to receive extra energy.
Races running to the clock – It’s no longer three laps to the finish, it’s three minutes… it’s against the stopwatch. Formula E races won’t be measured using a pre-defined number of laps, but instead will run to a strict time limit of 45-minutes – plus one lap to reach the chequered flag. This will enable easier monitoring and comparison between drivers when using the newly-introduced higher power mode.
This year, the roster of drivers is joined by 5 rookies: Alexander Sims (BMW i Andretti Motorsport), Max Gunther (GEOX DRAGON), Stoffel Vandoorne (HWA RACELAB), Gary Paffett (HWA RACELAB), Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams) and Felipe Massa (VENTURI Formula E Team). Earlier in the year, Felipe Massa raced Peregrine Falcon –capable of flying at speeds in excess of 350 km/h (217 mph). With a maximum speed of 280 km/h (174 mph), Massa says, ““The footage from the drive is very special and it was a privilege to take part. I’m looking forward to returning to Ad Diriyah and to start racing. It’ll be my first race in Formula E and I’m eager to get behind the wheel again.” Defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne returns on the track in hopes of becoming the first driver in the history of the series to win back-to-back titles. The Frenchman continues with the Techeetah team.
Live at the events, global music stars Enrique Iglesias, Jason DeRulo, The Black-Eyed Peas, Amr Diab, David Guetta and One Republic are set to perform on three separate nights. His Royal Highness Prince Abdulazziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority says, “The ambition of this partnership to bring the Saudi Arabia Ad Diriyah E Prix to life is nothing short of inspiring. Remember, this isn’t just a single race, this is the biggest festival of sport, music, entertainment and culture the Kingdom has ever seen, including six huge global acts performing here for the very first time.”
The first race of the season, held on December 14th, saw BMW I Andretti Motorsport’s Antonio Felix da Costa win the 2018 Ad Diriyah ePrix in a narrow battle against defending series champion Jean-Eric Vergne of Techeetah. This was da Costa’s second victory in his Formula E career after his first at the 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix. “It is a perfect start. No one can relax now and think this is it, we’ve got it. There is a lot of hard work to put in now if we want to stay here so it is going to be a very long year. I’m not really thinking about the Championship, we’ll win some, we’ll lose some and we’ll see where we are at the end of the year.”
One race down and twelve more to go; the next race is to be held in Marrakesh, Morroco on January 12, 2019.