Formula E updates rules to avoid Valencia-like mass retirements

The FIA has updated the Formula E regulations to prevent another incidence of the mass final-lap retirements and disqualifications that drew heavy criticism in the Valencia E-Prix. 

Formula E updates rules to avoid Valencia-like mass retirements

A late 5kWh reduction in useable energy limits brought about by a fifth safety car period meant the opening race of the Spanish double-header fell into controversy when five cars were disqualified for exceeding energy limits and a further three cars stopped on track. 

This followed a provision voted in at the June 2019 meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council that allows Formula E race director Scot Elkins to deduct 1kWh of the 52kWh race total for every minute spent behind the safety car or under full-course yellow conditions. 

However, under Article 37.9 of the Formula E Sporting Regulations, the race director has the “discretion to cancel this energy subtraction if deemed necessary”. 

The lack of heavy braking zones at the permanent Circuit Ricardo Tormo venue meant drivers could not regenerate energy levels in the remaining final two laps to reach the finish. 

But the FIA has now introduced an amendment meaning no energy reductions will be made beyond a new 40-minute cut off for the 45-minute plus one lap race timer. 

Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21, Sebastien Buemi, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO2, Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07, Sergio Sette Camara, Dragon Penske Autosport, Penske EV-5, Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric, Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02, Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE07, Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes-Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02, at the start

Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21, Sebastien Buemi, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO2, Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07, Sergio Sette Camara, Dragon Penske Autosport, Penske EV-5, Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric, Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02, Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE07, Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes-Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02, at the start

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

A statement supplied by the FIA to Autosport read: “Following what happened in race one in Valencia, the FIA and the promoter do not wish to see a similar scenario happen again. 

“With that in mind, and to prevent any further risk of miscalculation in regard to the energy consumption, it has been decided to no longer apply energy reduction if a safety car period ends beyond the 40th minute of a race.  

Read Also:

“This will grant teams an additional margin for error, without detracting in any way from the spirit of Formula E, in which energy management is a key element.” 

This will come into immediate effect for the Monaco E-Prix on the full grand prix circuit configuration this weekend. 

This update comes despite FIA director of Formula E Frederic Bertrand having called on long-time race leader and defending champion Antonio Felix da Costa to slow the field at the final safety car restart to ensure only a one-lap run to the finish.  

The issue of energy reductions had been raised in a team managers’ meeting held the day prior to the Valencia E-Prix opener. 

This followed the final-lap collision in the preceding Rome E-Prix between Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries and Jaguar Racing’s Sam Bird. 

Bird told Autosport he had been in the battle with de Vries on the fringes of the top 10 owing to miscommunication over remaining energy levels and race distance. 

But no amendment was made for either Valencia race. 

Had Sunday victor Jake Dennis not slowed the pack to allow only a one-lap sprint then drivers and team bosses reckoned a similar spate of retirements would have reoccurred.  

shares
comments

Related video

Formula E Canada return for 2022 moves a step closer

Previous article

Formula E Canada return for 2022 moves a step closer

Next article

Wolff received "weird texts" about controversial Valencia FE race

Wolff received "weird texts" about controversial Valencia FE race
Load comments
The half-term report cards of each Formula E team in 2020-21 Plus

The half-term report cards of each Formula E team in 2020-21

In an eventful Formula E season, punctuated by rain and energy-conservation controversy, the 12 teams contesting the championship have endured many challenges in the opening seven races. Here's how they've got on across the first half of the season.

Formula E
May 26, 2021
How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco Plus

How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco

OPINION: It was no surprise to anybody that the laptimes achieved by Formula E cars on the full Monaco circuit were much slower than Formula 1. But perhaps the more relevant comparison was in the racing spectacle, where FE delivered in spades

Formula E
May 12, 2021
How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover Plus

How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover

Formula E faced much criticism in the wake of its maligned Valencia event. In need of a turnaround, the series' first use of Monaco's iconic Formula 1 layout provided it with the injection of thrills required to clear the fog that had enveloped the paddock

Formula E
May 10, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem Plus

How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention Plus

The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention

It's taken a long time for Jaguar to reach the cusp of contending for championships in Formula E. But, after last season's challenge crumbled in Berlin, the team has been bolstered by a top-line arrival who has helped to end an unwanted 30-year wait

Formula E
Apr 22, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021