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Formula E Logo
The FIA Formula E Championship is a new championship founded by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile as an all-electric motorsport championship.[1] The first season of Formula E started in Beijing in 2014, and ran until the end of June 2015 in London.[1]

ConceptEdit

The FIA have designated the championship as an open series, meaning manufacturers may bring their own designs to race meetings.[1] With many citing the need for motorsport to find alternative forms of energy use, Formula E is intended to become the top level all-electric car championship, allowing manufacturers to develop their technology to ultimately be used in road cars.[1]

Furthermore, the World Motor Sport Council announced in Mexico City after the end of the inaugural season, a modification to the e-Licence, the required competition licence to compete in the Formula E Championship.[2] Drivers must complete a FIA approved training session about electrical safety and the technical aspects of the Championship.[2] All drivers must also have scored 20 points according to the FIA Licence system, although they may enter if the FIA judges them to have performed exceptionally in single seaters.[2]

With major companies such as Renault, Michelin and the FIA backing the championship, it is hoped that the series will expand from 2014/15, with more manufacturers entering in the future.[1]

TechnologyEdit

Spark Renault SRT 01E

The Spark-Renault SRT_01E, the feature car for the 2014/15 Season.

For 2014/15, Formula E will be limited to a one-make series, with only one car homologated for the year: the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.[3] McLaren Electronic Systems are set to provide the powertrain and electronics, with Williams Advanced Engineering supplying batteries capable of producing 200kw (around 270bhp) of energy for half an hour.[3]

Despite the new technology, cost cutting measures and universal parts are to be used elsewhere. Michelin have developed an 18" wheel specifically for the championship, while each car will have a Hewland built, set ratio, sequential gearbox.[3]

Championship FormatEdit

Formula E will use the FIA's conventional system, with a one-hour practice session scheduled before qualifying.[4] Qualifying will see the cars split into four groups of five cars in a ninety minute session to set the fastest time (pole position is to be awarded three points).[4]

The race, in Formula E named an "ePrix", will comence with a standing start about two hours after the end of qualifying, with drivers making a mandatory pitstop to change cars.[4] With power limited to 150kw (202bhp), the drivers will race for sixty minutes, with a temporary boost available to the three most popular drivers through the "FanBoost" system.[4] The fastest lap setter will be awarded two points, with the championship following the FIA's established points system.[4]

From the eleven races, the FIA will award both a Drivers Championship and a Teams Championship to the driver/team with the most points.[4] From the start of the 2015/16, Formula E becomes an open championship, with eight nominated manufacturers allowed to develop their own parts for their teams.[5] They will be initially limited to developing the powertrain, but the FIA are yet to announce whether these manufacturers will compete for their own championship, alongside the established drivers and teams versions.

HistoryEdit

The FIA first announced an interest in starting an all-electric Formula class of racing in 2010, beginning a submission process for willing designers and championship proposals to be made, closing on the 14th of October, 2011.[6] Two submitters were Alejandro Agag and Frédéric Vasseur, whom contributed a championship proposal and car design respectively.[6] Agag founded Formula E Holdings along with Enrique Bañuelos in 2012, having been awarded marketing rights to the newly formed FIA Formula E Championship on the 1st of August 2012.[7] Vasseur was then approached to construct the all electric car for the championship, resulting in the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.[6]

Donington DebutEdit

The new SRT_01E entered extensive testing in 2013, covering over 4,000km before the first ten race-ready cars were delivered in May 2014.[6] The ten teams, which had come forward since the start of 2014, began testing, evaluating and preparing the cars at Donington Park from the 3rd of July, with four days of extensive testing over two weeks.[8] The cars had already had a shakedown in June at the circuit (which became the centre of Formula-e from that point, apart from the London based officies of FEH), and would appear once more at the circuit before the season started in Beijing.[8]

To Beijing and BeyondEdit

Heidfeld Smash

The shattered remains of Nick Heidfeld's Spark.

The 2014/15 FIA Formula E Championship started with a bang at the 2014 Beijing ePrix on the 13th of September, 2014.[9] Lucas di Grassi made history by becoming the first winner of an ePrix in fortunate circumstances, after Nicolas Prost hit the side of Nick Heidfeld in the run into the final corner of the race, sending Heidfeld into a high speed slide.[9] Heidfeld's car was thrown into a barrel roll by a curb, although he would walk away unharmed when his ruined Venturi run machine smacked into the opposite barrier.[9]

Although none of the subsequent races have seen quite the level of late drama as Beijing, the intensity of the racing remained, with Sam Bird, Sébastien Buemi, Prost, and, most surprisingly, António Félix da Costa winning the next four ePrix. The title battle rumbled on to the season ending 2015 London ePrix II, where either di Grassi, Piquet or Buemi could have won the title.[10] Buemi had the advantage on track for most of the race, but ultimately lost out to Piquet on the final corner by just a single point, having been unable to pass Bruno Senna.[10]

Open StatusEdit

From the start of the 2015/16 Formula E Season, eight manufacturers will join the series, redesigning and constructing their own powertrains for the SRT_01E.[5] The FIA hopes that this will stimulate development of other areas in road cars and in Formula E, although work on other areas of the car in 2015/16 will be heavily restricted.[5] The homologation period for the manufacturer's designs began in February 2015.[5]

After pre-season testing it appeared that Renault e.Dams would be the class of the field, and with five wins from ten races, it was proved to be so. Their driver Sébastien Buemi also went on to take the honours in the Drivers' Championship, although he would have to set fastest lap at a tense season finale to defeat Lucas di Grassi.[11]

PartnersEdit

The FIA and Formula E Holdings agreed that a number of partners would be needed to ensure that the Formula E Championship would be both a technological and commercial success. As such, a number of partners have been signed by the pair, all of whom have committed to the Formula E Sustainability project and provide different areas of expertise for the championship.

FIA Formula E Partners
Logo Name Role Announced
BMW Logo BMW Official Vehicle Partner 30/06/2014[12]
20px DHL Logistics Partner 10/09/2013[13]
20px CNBC Television Partner 2014
20px 1st Round Apparel Supplier 20/10/2014[14]
Michelin logo Michelin Official Tyre Supplier 28/03/2013[15]
QualcommLogo Qualcomm Technology Partner 09/09/2013[16]
Spark Logo Spark Racing Technologies Manufacturer 2013[17]
Renault Logo Renault Technical Partner 15/05/2013[18]
TAG Heuer logo TAG Heuer Official Timekeeper 15/05/2013[19]
20px Julius Bär Global Partner 12/09/2014[20]

In addition to these promotional and other partners, Spark Racing Technologies have also signed a number of technical partners, whom will supply parts for the cars, which Spark will both assemble and develop.

Spark Technical Partners
Logo Name Role Announced
20px Dallara Chassis 01/02/2013[21]
20px Hewland Gearbox 2013
20px McLaren Electronic Systems Powertrain 01/11/2013[22]
20px Williams Advanced Engineering Battery 11/06/2013[23]

MediaEdit

Formula E Holdings and the FIA use a variety of methods to advertise and show the Championship. TV rights were awarded to several big companies across the world for the first seasons of the Championship, with FOX Sports getting a contract until 2020. ITV provide coverage for the Championship in the UK, although Chanel 5 and BT Sport also gained highlight packages for the series.[24] The biggest recorded TV audience for the Championship was gained for the Season Finale in London at the end of the 2014/15 season, which had 1.2 million viewers in the UK alone.[24]

Away from TV, Formula E Holdings also host a website, fiaformulae.com, the provides the home for the Championship on the internet. They also hold official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts open for the Series, with the official site, and YouTube, allowing users to watch every ePrix live via the internet. 

ReferencesEdit

Videos and Images:

References:

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 'Formula E Overview', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/guide/overview.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 'Changes to e-Licence system', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/07/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/july/changes-made-to-e-licence-system.aspx, (Accessed 11/07/2015)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 'Formula E Guide: Car', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/guide/car.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 'Formula E Guide: Event Format', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/guide/event-format.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 'Eight manufacturers to enter Formula E next season', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/02/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/february/eight-manufacturers-to-enter-fia-formula-e-from-second-season.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 'INSIGHT: Frédéric Vasseur, Spark Racing Technology', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 08/05/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/may/insight-fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric-vasseur-spark-racing-technology.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  7. 'New FIA Formula E Championship powered by electric energy', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 01/08/2012), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2012/august/new-fia-formula-e-championship-powered-by-electric-energy.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  8. 8.0 8.1 'INSIGHT: Formula E pre-season testing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/07/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/july/insight-formula-e-pre-season-testing.aspx, (Accessed 23/04/2015)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 'Lucas di Grassi snatches win after dramatic last corner crash', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/09/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/september/lucas-di-grassi-snatches-win-after-dramatic-last-corner-crash.aspx, (Accessed 30/04/2015)
  10. 10.0 10.1 'Bird hails ‘unbelievable’ end to season', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/bird-hails-unbelievable-end-to-season.aspx, (Accessed 30/06/2015)
  11. 'BUEMI WINS TITLE AFTER SPECTACULAR FINALE: VISA FASTEST LAP ENDS UP DECIDING THE 2015/16 FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/buemi-wins-title-after-spectacular-finale/, (Accessed 04/07/2016)
  12. 'BMW to become official vehicle supplier', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 30/06/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/june/bmw-to-become-official-vehicle-supplier.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  13. 'DHL delivers Formula E across the globe', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/09/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/september/dhl-delivers-formula-e-across-the-globe.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  14. '1st Round Athletics becomes Official Apparel Supplier to Formula E', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E< 20/10/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/october/1st-round-athletics-becomes-official-apparel-supplier-to-formula-e.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  15. 'Michelin confirmed as official tyre supplier for FIA Formula E Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/03/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/march/michelin-confirmed-as-official-tyre-supplier-for-fia-formula-e-championship.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  16. 'Qualcomm becomes Founding Technology Partner of FIA Formula E Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 09/09/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/september/qualcomm-becomes-founding-technology-partner-of-fia-formula-e-championship.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  17. 'Formula E orders 42 Cars from Spark Racing Technology', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/11/2012), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2012/november/formula-e-orders-42-cars-from-spark-racing-technology.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  18. 'Renault signs as Technical Partner for the FIA Formula E Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 15/05/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/may/renault-signs-as-technical-partner-for-the-fia-formula-e-championship.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  19. 'TAG Heuer signs major global partnership with FIA Formula E Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 15/05/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/may/tag-heuer-signs-major-global-partnership-with-fia-formula-e-championship.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  20. 'Julius Baer joins Formula E as exclusive Global Partner', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/09/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/september/julius-baer-joins-formula-e-as-exclusive-global-partner.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  21. 'Dallara to work with FIA Formula E', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 01/02/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/february/dallara-to-work-with-fia-formula-e.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  22. 'McLaren to power new FIA Formula E Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 01/11/2012), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2012/november/mclaren-to-power-new-fia-formula-e-championship.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  23. 'Spark Racing Technology announces partnership with Williams', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/06/2013), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2013/june/spark-racing-technology-announces-partnership-with-williams.aspx, (Accessed 09/07/2015)
  24. 24.0 24.1 'Formula E finale draws 1.2m on ITV', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/06/2015),http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/formula-e-finale-draws-12m-on-itv.aspx, (Accessed 06/07/2015)

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