Williams: Formula E power increase a reliability risk worth taking

Formula E battery supplier Williams insists increasing the maximum race power output in the championship was the correct decision, even though it admits there could be problems in season two

Williams: Formula E power increase a reliability risk worth taking

For the second season of the all-electric championship drivers will have a maximum race power output of 170kW, compared to 150kW in season one.

It is understood this decision drew differing responses the teams and Williams Advanced Engineering, especially as the latter was only able to provide updated batteries to test at the new limit for the final two days of pre-season.

"When you're trying to find a balance between reliability, performance and stretching technology you are always going to have people coming in from different perspectives and disagreeing over the approach," WAE programme manager Gary Ekerold told AUTOSPORT.

"Yes, there's a slight risk we have to be aware of.

"You've got to say 'have we gone through an on-track testing programme at 170kW as detailed as we would have like to have?'

"Potentially we'd have liked to have more time to establish without question whether 170kW was going to deliver acceptable reliability.

"Given the constraints of in-season testing and also the inability to get on track because we had to do the work on the batteries, that wasn't necessarily possible."

That work relates to a change made to improve the battery's thermal management, after Williams targeted areas in which increasing the power output to 170kW would create additional temperature.

It has also refreshed all of the batteries to ensure a level playing field after the way teams managed and maintained the power sources caused performance disparities by the end of the first season.

Ekerold believes upping the power, even with limited on-track running, was a risk Formula E had to embrace if the series is to follow through on its promise to drive electric-vehicle technology.

"There's an argument that one of the purposes of Formula E is to test this technology and try to learn from it," he added.

"We want to understand what implications stretching this technology has.

"If it poses a problem at some point during the year we'll have to look at it and manage that situation.

"But on balance we found 170kW was the correct way to go."

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