Sustainable Innovation

Formula E unveils new race format and calendar for 2018/19

All-electric racing series adds new events in China and Saudi Arabia.

by Elena Holmes

Formula E unveils new race format and calendar for 2018/19

All-electric racing series Formula E has announced details of its 2018/19 calendar, revealing its new race format and split power modes on offer alongside the new generation car.

The confirmed calendar for the series’ fifth season involves a 13-race schedule, with the addition of new events in Saudi Arabia and China.

The series returns to a number of existing venues and locations, including Marrakesh, Mexico City and Hong Kong— which moves to a later date in March— as well as further visits to Africa, Asia and North America.

The all-electric series will have a European leg comprising of races in Rome, Paris, Berlin and Zurich, and will also visit Monaco for a third time on 11th May, which appears on the calendar on a bi-annual basis.

In order to “retain and enhance the intense and unpredictable nature” of Formula E races, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has announced changes to the racing format to take into account the increased power and energy storage capacity of the Gen2 car for the coming season, which can complete a full race distance without the need to make a mid-race car swap.

Drivers will use two different power modes over a race distance, and 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 two power modes on each car will be indicated using different colours on the LED system on the halo head protection device.

The exact number of individual uses and relative duration of the higher power mode will vary at each event and will be determined by the FIA.

Drivers will also be able to activate ‘Fanboost’, an interactive voting mechanism that allows three drivers to receive extra energy, but only when the cars are running on a higher power mode, taking the maximum power available to 250kW.

Other alterations for Formula E’s fifth season include a new qualifying format to accommodate the larger grid of 22 cars, which sees the top six-fastest drivers after the group stage go through to secure pole position.

Race distances will no longer be measured using a pre-defined number of laps, but will instead run to a strict time limit of 45-minutes plus one lap to reach the chequered flag. The prize for fastest lap will also be replaced, with points being awarded to the most efficient driver classified in the top-five positions - rewarding the driver who has used the least amount of energy.

Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Formula E, said: “The new format and split levels of power being introduced for season five will add an extra strategic element and continue to offer intense and exciting competition between some of the most talented drivers and biggest brands in motorsport. I’m looking forward to seeing the new cars and format in action against the backdrop of iconic city skylines - starting in Ad Diriyah [Saudi Arabia] in December.”