I’ve given you the reasons why you should watch Formula E, and you’ve decided to give it a go, but now you’re wondering, “Charley, what actually is Formula E?” Well, don’t you worry, here is my Formula E Guide to give you all the information you need for this weekend’s doubleheader in Rome.
Like everything, there are rules and regulations to keep the sport from being absolute chaos. So, what are the hard fast rules of Formula E? Let’s break it down.
Like Formula 1, there is practice, and qualifying sessions are very different from the format we are used to. Formula E has two practice sessions, an opening 45-minute session followed by a further 30-minute session. However, this is reduced when it’s a weekend doubleheader to just one 45 minute practice session on the second day. Like F1, this is the first time that teams and drivers will take to track and get a feel for their lap times. It is just a practice session, so nothing from these sessions count towards the final result.
Now, qualifying in Formula E is quite different – If you’re like me and dislike change, it does take a little while to get used to. Firstly, the qualifying session lasts an hour, and the drivers are divided into four groups of six cars, which is defined by their position in the championship. Once that group is out on track, the drivers have six minutes to set their time and obviously, be the fastest. Once all the groups have had their runs, the top six drivers proceed to the Super Pole shoot-out in a bid to secure the Julius Baer Pole Position and an additional three points (we’ll talk about that later). During the Super Pole, the drivers go out one by one, with the sixth-fastest driver going out first and so on.
It’s worth noting that between both the practice and qualifying sessions, 250kW is available throughout.
We have our grid, and we’re ready to race. So how does a typical E-Prix work? The drivers line up on a dummy grid, a short distance behind their grid slot, to slowly file into before the race. A standing start, meaning the cars are stationary until the lights go green. Every E-Prix is 45 minutes plus a lap.
The lights go out, and Formula E offers incredible racing from start to finish; from the 2018/2019 season, Attack Mode was introduced into the series. This lets every driver pick up an extra 35kW of power at their own risk to get their attack mode – it requires the driver to steer off the racing line and through the activation zone. It does usually pay off. It gives drivers that extra edge to keep ahead of any competition. On top of that, there’s Fanboost. This gives you the chance to impact the race. This has had some negative feedback from fans of the sport, saying that it’s ‘gimmicky’ – it gives fans the chance to gift their favourite driver with a significant boost of power, which they can deploy in a five-second window during the second half of the race. Only five drivers get this honour.
The majority of races take place over a single day to minimise disruption to the host city.
Championship, Standings, and Points
Again, just like Formula 1, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship consists of two separate titles. One, which is dedicated to the driver, and the other that is dedicated to the teams. The drivers’ championship is awarded to whichever driver has racked up the most points throughout the season, simple! The team’s championship is decided by calculating their driver’s scores. In terms of these points, Formula E follows a standard points system used in other FIA series – awarding points to the top 10 finishers. As mentioned earlier, additional points are also rewarded for getting Pole Position and the fastest lap in the race.
Other Things To Mention
Charging the car is not allowed during both qualifying and the race, and throughout parc ferme.
The Formula E cars use 18-inch treaded all-weather tyres used by every single team which Michelin supplies.
So there we go! A quick-fire guide to Formula E, now you have absolutely no reason not to watch. I feel like I could be hired to turn fans to the electric side (Formula E, if you’re reading this, I am available)