Formula E discussing keeping pitstops even after car swaps end

Formula E is discussing keeping mandatory pitstops in its race format even once the series stops being forced into mid-race car swaps

Formula E discussing keeping pitstops even after car swaps end

Presently, drivers have to change cars because the electric single-seater's 28kWh battery cannot complete a race distance.

This will be rectified for the 2018/19 season, when a new 54kWh McLaren Applied Technologies battery will produce enough energy for a one-car-per-driver race.

Initial discussions at Formula E's Sporting Working Group (SWG) took place earlier this year, while another meeting to exclusively discuss race format proposals will take place later this month.

The Formula E teams currently have two nominated representatives on the working group - teams' association boss Roger Griffiths, who is the Andretti co-team principal, and Renault e.dams' senior team manager Jean-Paul Driot.

"We've talked about a conventional pit stop where we'd change tyres but you can't see many benefits in that because we wouldn't be changing tyres that are worn out," Griffiths told Autosport.

"It just means bringing extra equipment, extra wheels and there would be no real message as to why we are doing that.

"Trying to come up with something that adds an element of strategy is one of the solutions we are looking at.

"We could have a minimum stop drive through or in the box itself, so there might be a narrow window to come in and pit.

"There could also have an option to choose to make a stop and in that stop you get additional power to use. So, the longer you stop the more power you get, so when you come out you could run faster than you did previously."

Series frontrunner Lucas di Grassi has backed the idea to retain an in-race pitstop.

The Abt Audi Sport driver finished second in Hong Kong and won in Mexico City after first-lap accidents forced him to pit for repairs, by swapping cars under early safety cars and saving more energy in the second stint.

"There are a lot of things that could be considered from quite conventional plans like pitstops to more radical ones like we have seen in rallycross with an extra corner [joker lap]," di Grassi said.

"Other components that make strategy that you can play with will be crucial, not only the amount of energy we have but the strategy around using it.

"Maybe two pitstops at any time during a race could work. It all has to be analysed but I am in favour of keeping this strategic possibility open."

Formula E is also believed to be seriously considering two-day meetings.

It is unclear if this would involve separate days for qualifying and races, or complete adoption of the double-header format being used in Berlin, New York and Montreal this season.

A spokesperson for Formula E confirmed "a number of proposals" have been made for the 2018/19 season, "concerning both the sporting/weekend format and pitstops, which we want to maintain".

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