FORMULA E FOR BEGINNERS: FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
New to Formula E? We want to get you up to scratch on the history, rules and features of the world’s greatest – and most sustainable – motorsport series.
History of Formula E
The sport of Formula E was derived in 2011, when former Spanish politician and businessman Alejandro Agag, along with FIA President Jean Todt, contemplated the idea of a street racing series that used only electric cars. This sustainable single-seater motorsport would transform the industry for good.
Formula E’s inaugural race took place just three years later, in 2014, around the streets of Beijing’s Olympic Park. Mahindra Racing was one of the founding teams in the series and raced in Beijing with Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok, the latter of whom finished in 5th place. The first season consisted of eleven races, hosted in some of the world’s most iconic and progressive cities. Since then, there have been five more action-packed seasons, with Mahindra Racing competing in every one. And as we sit on the cusp of the 2020/21 season, the seventh, the series will take on World Championship status for the first time.
Rules and Regulations
Formula E consists of 12 teams, each with two drivers. A race weekend consists of a specific format; two practice sessions, a qualifying session (including a Super-Pole shootout for pole position) and then a 45-minute race named the E-Prix. Sometimes we see a double-header race, where there are two E-Prix in a single weekend.
Like most motorsport series’, Formula E runs two competitions throughout the season, the Drivers’ Championship and Team Championship. They are awarded respectively to the driver and team who score the most points during that particular season. A team’s points is the combined total of their driver’s points. In the 2016/17 season we achieved our best ever result of 3rd in the Teams’ Championship.
Each race weekend, there are a number of Championship points available. 25 points are given to the race winner, whilst 18 points are awarded to second place, and 15 points to third. The rest of the top ten are awarded 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 respectively. In addition to these, three points are given for qualifying in pole position, and a point is available for driving the fastest lap of the race, and fastest lap in group qualifying.
On Formula E weekends, drivers must make two sets of tyres last the entire event so, like in any other motorsport, tyre management is key. In addition to this, the drivers must ensure that they conserve enough electric power to last the entire race, as charging is not allowed during the race, so efficiency is absolutely vital.
Formula E cars are powered by an electric motor, and the current Gen 2 models have a power output of 250kW that results in speeds of up to 280k/h. With the majority of the Formula E teams being vehicle manufacturers, the sport provides a platform for the expansion and testing of electric vehicle innovation, that can later be transferred to road cars. Being a member of the Mahindra Group, a multinational conglomerate with a focus on a clean, sustainable future, our exploits on track are aiding the production of future green vehicles.
Where in the World?
Formula E is exciting and revolutionary for many reasons, and one reason is due to its epic city centre race locations. E-Prix are held all across the world, including in countries and cities where racing events have not been held before.
If the past season had been able to go ahead as normal and had not been disrupted by COVID-19, it would have visited Saudi Arabia, Chile, Mexico, Morocco, China, Italy, France, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, USA and the UK.
The provisional calendar for next year looks set to visit many of these locations once more. Not only do the locations span the globe, but Formula E races are extra special because they take place on the streets of some of the biggest and most iconic cities across it. Racing on the streets sparks discussion and thought about the future of our cities and its pollution, and how the future is most definitely electric.
Extras: Fanboost and Attack Mode
During a race, drivers can take advantage of two extra and exclusive features of Formula E. The first, mandatory Attack Mode, allows drivers to gain an extra boost of power in the race, but only via taking a slower line on the track. Whilst this may be detrimental at first, the boost can prove crucial to pulling off an important overtake. The driver must weigh up the strategic risks and benefits of when to take their Attack Modes during the race.
The second exciting feature of Formula E is Fanboost, a method of drivers gaining an additional boost of power through the support of their fans. Using Fanboost, supporters can vote for their favourite driver, and the five drivers who receive the most votes win this extra boost of power – exciting!
For season six, Mahindra Racing launched an initiative involving Fanboost, where for every vote our drivers received, we would plant a tree. This was one part of our increased efforts to work towards sustainability and a net-zero future.