FE teams urging FIA to make London format changes over boring race fears

Formula E teams and drivers are pressuring the FIA to make changes for the London E-Prix to avoid current predictions that the races will be ‘uninteresting’ or a ‘crash fest’.

FE teams urging FIA to make London format changes over boring race fears

The UK capital returns to the calendar for the first time since the 2015-16 season finale at Battersea Park later this month for a double-header at the ExCeL Centre in the Docklands.

But initial FIA data sent out to teams after revisions to the proposed circuit layout reveal the two races will be “close to a flat-out sprint race”, according to one team principal.

Whereas a conventional Formula E race requires drivers to recover 30 to 35% to energy to reach the finish, simulations for London suggest this could fall as far as 5%.

Without the need to lift and coast, as it stands, many think the absence of different in-race strategies will create a stalemate and a processional race.

Alternatively, if drivers do not need to save energy in the lead up to an overtake, some predict a crash-strewn race if lunges for position are without consequence.

Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne told Autosport: “It's something that Formula E needs to be aware of because a push lap and an energy saving lap is basically almost the same.

“If that's going to be the case, these cars are not made for that.

“No brakes, they might be overheating, the racing is not going to be good because there's no saving.

“There's going to be crashes when people are going to try and overtake.

“It's going to be quite messy if nothing changes.”

London E-Prix Track map

London E-Prix Track map

Photo by: Uncredited

Audi team principal Allan McNish likened the scenario to the 2018-19 season, before an amendment to the rules, which meant no energy was deducted after a safety car intervention.

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That gave drivers time to bank an energy cushion during the neutralised period, which then created a sprint to the finish.

McNish told Autosport: "Clearly, as a general rule, this is a championship where we work on energy management.

"We never quite have enough.

“In season five, when we didn't have the reductions after a safety car and it made it flat-out racing, there was a plateau.

"It wasn't actually that interesting and it was a bit of a bumper-fest.

“We should learn the lessons of that.”

Drivers and team bosses have called on the FIA to make an energy reduction for the race.

There is scope for this under the wording of the Technical Regulations, which only states a race maximum of 52kWh.

Article 7.6 reads: “The amount of energy that can be delivered to the MGUs by the RESS is limited to 52 kWh.”

Vandoorne added: “The easiest solution is to do an energy reduction to make sure that everyone has to do energy saving.”

While the FIA has so far not responded to Autosport’s request for comment, one team boss described discussions with the governing body as having made “good progress”.

Jaguar Racing team director told Autosport: "If it needs adjusting, then I'm sure we will all work together to find the best compromise to make a great race. You want to have overtaking.”

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FIA to slash London E-Prix energy levels after Formula E teams' concerns

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