Formula E IS Changing
Formula E was pretty much a spec series for its inaugural season, meaning all the cars participating were identical 2014 Spark-Renault SRT_01Es, but that’s set to change for the 2015-2016 season, when manufacturers will compete using their own electric motors, power inverters, gearboxes and cooling systems. Teams have already started preseason testing for their new drivetrains, which can be seen and heard in action in this recent video, with each sounding like a slightly different variation of a very unhappy cat.
Eight manufacturers, ABT Sportsline, Andretti, Mahindra, Motomatica, NEXTEV TCR, Renault Sport, Venturi Automobiles and Virgin Racing Engineering, have signed up to develop new drivetrains, which should make the competition more interesting on both the track and at teams’ headquarters. The regulations will continue to open for the 2016-2017 season, when manufacturers will also be allowed to develop and modify their batteries.
“The gradual opening up of the regulations will promote innovation, while at the same time keeping costs under control. The solutions chosen by the manufacturers will hopefully lead to rapid development of the future-focused technologies at the heart of Formula E,” said FIA president Jean Todt when discussing Formula E. “In terms of the manufacturers chosen, we are satisfied with the quality of the applications received, and the number of manufacturers becoming involved reflects the huge interest generated by Formula E.”
The test took place at Donington Park in England, where Sebastian Buemi topped the time charts in his Renault e.dams. Sam Bird of DS Virgin Racing, Daniel Abt of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, Nick Heidfeld of Mahindra Racing and Nicolas Prost of Renault e.dams rounded out the session. Each drivers’ best times were within almost a half-second of each other, so it doesn’t look like any one manufacturer has found a tangible advantage. So far.