Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Formula E is set to enter into a new era from Season Nine, pioneering its new GEN3 era which is set to feature a new car, new teams, a vastly different looking grid for next season, along with a record-breaking calendar. GEN3 is set to be another major step up in the sport’s history.
While these are some of the major talking points for the sport’s new era, another important development leading up to Season Nine took place on 18th November, 2022. Formula E and the FIA announced a slew of updates to the sporting regulations for Season Nine, which sees tweaks being made to the structure of a Formula E weekend, along with some exciting changes to the elements of the sport’s race weekend. So, what are these changes, and how do they impact the sport? Let us take a look at them, one by one.
Laps Replace Time
Until Season Eight, Formula E ran for a duration of 45 minutes plus one lap. This is set to change from Season Nine, with races running over laps instead of a particular duration of time. Extra laps will be added in the event of the race being affected by a Full Course Yellow or a Safety Car, instead of Additional Racing Time, to keep consistent with the laps system.
Innovative Charging Technology Providing For A Boost During A Race
The Formula E races are set to see another major change, with in-race charging set to be trialled during select rounds in Season Nine. Formula E and FIA have been working with strategic technology partners to develop the charging and battery systems to a point, wherein the cars can receive a boost of energy during the race. The maximum power output of the cars increases to 350 kWh, and the cars are expected to be capable of hitting a top speed of 322 kmh (200 mph).
The collaboration has led to the development of a battery, one of the most advanced in the world today, capable of receiving 4 kWh of power within 30 seconds, via a 600 Kw booster. Called the “Attack Charge”, this is set to be implemented in the form of a mandatory 30-second pit stop during a predetermined period of a race, unlocking two Attack Modes to be deployed during the race. This will see the output of power in GEN3 cars increased from 300 kWh to 350 kWh.
Another important change for Season Nine sees the Fanboost feature being discontinued. In races which don’t see the “Attack Charge” being used, the normal system of Attack Mode, which sees drivers activate the mode to get an extra boost of power, is set to be the case.
Rookie Drivers get their moment to shine
Another change to the new season will see young drivers getting a chance to impress in the Free Practice 1 (FP1) session of every race weekend. On the lines of the rule that exists in Formula 1, it states that every team should complete at least two FP1 sessions with a driver who has never previously raced in the championship before. The main aim of this regulation is to give up-and-coming drivers a chance to experience the unique world of Formula E, and help contribute to the progress of a team.
So what did the heads of the sport have to say about the new regulation changes for Season Nine?
According to Jamie Reigle, CEO of Formula E, “Our updated sporting regulations are evidence of the continued evolution and positive impact of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for drivers, teams, partners and fans into the consumer EV world. The combination of sporting enhancements, a step change in car performance, cutting-edge battery technology and the innovation of Attack Charge will make our racing more competitive and entertaining while showcasing the future for EV development. This is at the heart of what Formula E set out to achieve and we look forward to seeing the new generation come to life in Season 9.”
In the words of Alberto Longo, co-founder and Chief Championship Officer, Formula E, “We are creating the perfect conditions for the very best racing drivers and teams to succeed and win. Switching to laps allows teams a greater degree of race strategy planning. Introducing Attack Charge at races later in the season will add a whole new dimension to race strategy for teams and interest for fans. We are also preparing for the future with the opportunity for new drivers in the championship to take a seat and show what they can do.”
It is no surprise to see the delight of the CEO and CCO of the sport sharing the same level of excitement as the vast fanbase of Formula E, as they too look forward to this exciting new era of Formula E.
The GEN3 Formula E car is set to be the fastest, lightest, and most efficient Formula E car yet. It will be in action from Round One of Season Nine, held at Mexico City, on January 14th.