After launching a successful first season of racing earlier this year with 10 teams running nearly identical cars, the Formula E fan experience is set to change radically for 2016. That’s because the series is going into its second season with not one, not two, but with no fewer than 9 (nine!) mechanical packages powering its 10 teams.
Initially, the Formula E teams‘ license to innovate will be limited to the cars’ propulsion units, which is to say the battery, the electric motor, cooling, and the transmission systems. The ability to modify the cars’ existing aerodynamic package- a la IndyCar– is the most likely “next step” for Formula E. After that, the freedom for teams to design and manufacture their entire chassis, suspension, and bodywork would be next- although that level of freedom has driven the costs of competing in Formula 1 so high that the series is currently in danger of collapsing under them.
For its part, however, Formula E seems to have learned the lessons of F1, and is keeping cost limitation a priority over that innovative freedom. Besides, for electric car makers like Tesla and Venturi (who will be supplying two teams this year, by the way), it’s the power train technology they’re hoping to develop, anyway!
You can read more about Formula E’s decision to allow bespoke power train development, below …
From the 2015/2016 season, which begins in Beijing on October 17, the series will become an open championship allowing manufacturers to pursue their own in-house innovations, beginning with the development of bespoke power trains.
In order to limit costs and promote investment and innovation in the most important areas, the manufacturers’ scope is initially limited to the power train – specifically the e-motor, the inverter, the gearbox and the cooling system. All other parts on the cars will remain as they are, with the aim being to prevent costly aerodynamic developments.
Of the 10 teams, eight will utilize their own power trains whilst Dragon Racing will partner with Venturi to run the French manufacturer’s power train and the re-named Team Aguri will remain with season one’s SRT01-e package
… and let us know what you think about the series’ prospects for the future in the comments section at the bottom of the page. While you’re there, don’t forget to mention how stupid the notion of drivers switching cars halfway through a Formula E race really is. Enjoy!