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Formula E unveils plans for 'Attack Charge' pitstops, Fanboost dropped

Fast-charging pitstops are set to play a role in future Formula E races, with potential to introduce them partway through the coming season, as Fanboost has been officially dropped.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02, Sergio Sette Camara, Dragon Penske Autosport, Penske EV-5, Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5, the reminader of the field at the start

Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02, Sergio Sette Camara, Dragon Penske Autosport, Penske EV-5, Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5, the reminader of the field at the start

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

A combination of a fast-charging stop with the current attack mode format will produce an ‘Attack Charge’ race, in which drivers must complete a 30-second ‘charge stop’ to access the higher power mode.

The option exists for the double-header rounds to run one race to a conventional Formula E format and use the second as an Attack Charge race to provide strategic variance.

This will remove the necessity of running over an off-line attack mode loop in the Attack Charge races, and the pitstop will instead unlock the full allocation of attack mode uses to be defined by the FIA before the race, along with an extra four kilowatt-hours of energy to use in the second half supplied by the 600kW ‘booster’ charger.

Speaking to Autosport about the challenge of the new rules, Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle explained that although the championship could push for a Mexico debut for Attack Charge races, it is more prudent to wait until the teams and organisers have “confidence” it can be implemented hassle-free.

This comes amid testing issues with the standard-supply battery packs, which Reigle added were “solved”.

“The challenge we have is the supplier of the cells for the in-race charger, what we call the booster, is the same supplier as the cell packs for the batteries,” Reigle told Autosport.

“We need to prioritise making sure that the batteries were okay, and then we can get the cell packs ready for the chargers.

“Those could be ready by Mexico but ultimately, you look at all those things that are changing. So is it really advisable for the sport to say, 'let's pressure test that timing and make sure everyone has their charger’, test them in Valencia and race in Mexico.

“Or actually, should we use Season 9 [2022-23] as a way to demonstrate the capabilities of the Gen3 car, a pretty significant uptick in performance. And then bring in new modes of racing.

“We have this technology, but let's not force it by January, and let's bring it in when we have a high degree of confidence that it can be implemented in the right way. We have double-headers, so it allows us to play with that.”

Attack mode, Fanboost logos on the dry track

Attack mode, Fanboost logos on the dry track

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The fast-charging capabilities will be tested in Valencia to ensure the teams have experience of the system and format.

Fanboost, which has been part of Formula E since its inaugural season, will no longer play a role in the championship having been initially introduced to increase fan engagement.

In its latest iteration, Fanboost conferred a five-second activation of maximum power to the top five drivers in the voting process, but was much maligned by detractors of the series.

Formula E will also return to a set lap count for each race rather than running to a timed format, but will retain added laps having introduced an extra time format last season.

This will run to the same ratio, where three quarters of the time run under the safety car will be translated into an added lap count at the end.

There are minor changes to the qualifying system as well, in which the drawn groups will remain separate until the final, rather than drivers from Group A being pitched against drivers from Group B as early as the quarter-finals.

The race mode for 2022-23 will be set at 300kW, with qualifying and attack mode taking that up to 350kW once activated.

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In addition, Formula E is set to introduce a similar FP1 system to Formula 1, in which an established driver must give up their seat for a driver who has not raced in Formula E before.

This system has most notably helped 2020-21 Formula E champion Nyck de Vries secure a switch to F1 with AlphaTauri for next year.

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