Formula E, a championship still heating up

Everything is new—single seats, teams, and factory tires—but nothing has changed. In its ninth season, the World Single Seat Championship delivers lively racing.

by
Sylvain Reaser

published to update

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While eight races have already been contested and we are just past the mid-season stage, the Formula E World Championship remains true to its reputation of being fiercely competitive and as lively as ever. Simon Galloway / Lat

Whose role? While the champions are expected to take place next weekend in the Principality of Monaco, the most magical meeting of the season, no one would dare to predict. While eight races have already been contested and we are just past the mid-season stage, the Formula E World Championship remains true to its reputation of being fiercely competitive and as lively as ever. To tell the truth, even Formula 1 does not always present such an exciting spectacle. The struggles are very intense on all levels of the board. In Berlin last April, the two rounds yielded 362 overs, including 172 for the second round alone. Intimidating ways and wheel-kicking: the champions of this one-and-done tournament give each other no credit for winning a place. It’s not uncommon for carbon debris to litter the track. The outgoing world champion, Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske), gave a bitter experience. He was pushed against the wall on April 22 in Berlin. The mechanics and engineers were left for a sleepless night.

Since the start of the ninth season, six drivers have shared the wins. Englishman Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti), New Zealander Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing), Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) and Portuguese Antonio Felix da Costa (Porsche) all climbed to the top of the podium once. German Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) and New Zealander Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) won two races.

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With Formula E entering a new cycle with Gen3, promoters are already thinking about its evolution.

Logically, Wehrlein leads the championship, but nothing is certain. He is ahead of Cassidy by just four points and Vergne by 19. So everything remains open in this tournament, which rewards performance as much as regularity and where the slightest mistake is paid for in cash. The first ten points, victory brings 25 points, pole 3 points and the best lap in competition 1 point. Races are played for almost nothing. All pilots have their chance. Berlin’s ordeal showed that anything is possible. Cassidy won the second moto even though he only started eighth. Evidence that hierarchies can evolve very quickly: Robin Frijns and Nico Müller, the ABT Cupra team pilots, took their individual seats in the front row for the second round of the Meet Germany. Also in Berlin, Venturi’s ex-team Maserati has shown that it can play the lead roles. Maximilian Günther finished third in the first race. This is the first platform for a single-seater Maserati in 66 years!

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Since the start of the ninth season, six drivers have shared the wins. Englishman Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti), New Zealander Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing), Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) and Portuguese Antonio Felix da Costa (Porsche) all climbed to the top of the podium once. Sam Bloxham / Lat

The winner is the one who makes the fewest mistakes and manages his energy best. This parameter is the foundational element of a formula that claims its role as a laboratory for electric technology and a showcase for future mobility. From this perspective, this year the discipline promoters introduced a third generation of single seats. As a result of consultation with the teams and several years of development, the Gen3 is far more efficient and effective than the vehicle it replaces. In Sao Paulo, at the start of the season, I set a new world record at 264 km/h. Not content with being 60kg lighter, it now accommodates a 250kW electric motor at the front, as well as a 350kW power unit mounted on the rear axle. The result: its regenerative capacity is doubled compared to Formula E in the previous four seasons, to 600 kW. Likewise, 40% of the energy used during a race comes from regenerative braking.

Also read – Formula E:DS and Penske are teaming up with world champion Vandoorne in 2023

Gen3 is also equipped with a new frame. Michelin gave way to Hankook, but the tires still grooved.

With Formula E entering a new cycle with Gen3, promoters are already thinking about its evolution. Dieter Gass, who was responsible for Audi’s adherence to discipline, became the technical and sporting advisor. Its role: to define tomorrow’s technologies so that Formula E contributes, more than ever, to the advancement of electric mobility.

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