Just as the green light is about to shine to start the new season, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is introducing what it claims is a first-of-its-kind innovation in sport to further enhance the fan spectacle and retain the unpredictable nature of the sport.
Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and sanctioned by racing world body FIA, Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. The fifth season of the electric street racing series is set to get into gear on 15 December and will feature motorsport brands such as Audi, Jaguar and Nissan with BMW entering Formula E as a manufacturer for the first time. On 27 November, Discovery-owned free-to-air TV channel Quest announced that it had won the rights to screen the forthcoming season.
The new season promises what the organisers say is the largest shake-up in regulations in the history of the series, entering a new era with Gen2 cars — which move quicker than anything else, both on and off the track, boasting more power, double the range and a distinctive design — and revised race format one that will keep fans on the edge of their seats with the eagerly-awaited Attack Mode. With the Gen2 car the drivers can stay strapped in and seated for the entire length of the race. Yet they will need to use a range of power modes on offer - balanced with efficiently managing the battery life against a 45-minute (+1 lap) race countdown. This should mean more strategic variables and mixed results than ever before.
Moreover, drivers will be able to access Attack Mode at any time during the race from the second lap temporarily boosting power levels from 200kW in standard race mode to 225kW for a short period of time. This will allow them to chase down their rivals or build a lead to defend position.
It will be mandatory for drivers to use Attack Mode during the race, with the precise time period and amount of activations pre-determined with the potential to adjust depending on the track layout and configuration. To help fans follow Attack Mode, the Formula E host broadcast will incorporate virtual reality - with the activation zone rendered on the track as a tied to field graphic. The technology will harness trackside camera tracking, live telemetry data and powerful graphic engines to help tell the story of the race.
“Formula E broke the mould by being the first to go electric - so it’s clear we aren’t scared of trying new things,” commented Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. “Whether that’s introducing new on-track innovations or tweaking the format of the race, or creating new ways for fans to follow or interact with the sport. I’m eager to see the competitive debut of the Gen2 car and Attack Mode in action during a race scenario on the tight and challenging street circuits that’ve come to define our series. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and this is the year where the ABB FIA Formula E Championship comes of age.”