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

The FIA have responded to the concerns of Formula E teams that the London E-Prix double-header could produce sterile or crash-strewn racing by slashing the available energy levels.

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

Revisions to the second and third sector of the lap that will include an indoor section at the ExCeL Centre in the Docklands have introduced bigger braking zones and tighter corners.

The initial data work from teams revealed that the usual need to save 30 to 35% to reach the finish of a typical race could be lowered to as little as 5% when the UK capital returns to the calendar for the first time since Battersea Park hosted the season finale in 2015-16.

As reported by Autosport, this led teams and drivers to fear a procession, with the reduced emphasis on the requirement for drivers to lift and coast and differentiate strategy likely to create a stalemate.

The alternative outcome predicted by many in the paddock was that the lack of a need to bank energy prior to an overtake could led to multiple lunges and subsequent crashes.

But the FIA have addressed the concerns by deducting 4kWh from the total energy that each car may use in the race, bringing the maximum down from 52kWh to 48kWh to increase the need to lift and coast.

An FIA statement supplied to Autosport read: “Following the preliminary analysis of the London circuit and the energy consumption it was noticed that the lift-off requirements would not be significant enough with a 52kWh capacity.

“As the management of the energy consumption is key to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and to avoid flat-out races, it has been decided to reduce the total amount of available energy to 48kWh for the races of London.

Nick Cassidy, Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE07, the field at the start

Nick Cassidy, Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE07, the field at the start

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

This alteration is permitted by the flexibility in the wording of the Formula E Technical Regulations, of which Article 7.6 states only an upper limit to the energy total.

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

Teams remain uncertain over the nature of the indoor surface used at the ExCeL Centre, which features an epoxy resin over the concrete.

Some personnel were invited to a general open day at the venue for a recce.

Jaguar Racing team director James Barclay told Autosport: “Honestly going into it, none of us know.

“It could be a really high grip it could be really low grip.

“If it's raining, that concrete has the potential to become very slippery.

"It's going to be another unique challenge, just like Formula E always is.

"You have to be able to deal with these things.

"The idea of coming in and out of the building will add a bit of drama to it.

"Looking at the circuit, it does get really technical and tight and difficult for overtaking.

"It's going to favour those who can adapt quickly."

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