Formula E completes two full event simulations at Donington Park
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Formula E cars at Donington Park
Posted By: Editor   |  13 Aug 2014   |  3:17 pm GMT  |  147 comments

The new zero emissions world championship Formula E has completed two full event simulations at Donington Park as preparations for the series’ first race in Beijing on 13 September ramp up.

Organisers built a temporary pitlane and pitboxes at the Leicestershire circuit to mirror the set up which will be required at street circuits in locations such as London, Miami and Monte Carlo during the course of the season.

During the second simulation, the 10 teams ran all four of their cars for the first time with the two non-qualifying sessions (practice), qualifying and endurance test (race) all completed as per the expected schedule on race day.

In doing so, drivers were given the opportunity to try out the championship’s unique mid-race car swap during the pit stops and a full standing start.

Organisers say they encountered a number of problems, but CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag said he was generally pleased with how things went.

“Putting on a major sporting event in the heart of cities around the world is a massive undertaking and requires careful preparation,” said Agag.

“We want the Formula E Beijing ePrix to a fantastic spectacle, which is why we’re leaving nothing to chance by rigorously testing all the systems beforehand. Overall we’re very pleased with how things went.”

The race day timetable of the event – which all takes place on one day – was also announced. There will be two non-qualifying sessions in the morning, lasting 45 minutes and 30 minutes respectively.

Qualifying will follow with drivers being split into four groups of five with the order selected at random. The race will last approximately 60 minutes, with the number of laps decided on the day.

The final pre-season test takes place on 19 August at Donington Park, with free admission to the public.

There are a host of ex-F1 drivers in the field including Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Karun Chandhok, Takuma Sato and Nick Heidfeld. Meanwhile, four times world champion Alain Prost is co-owner of the e.dams Renault team with his son Nicolas and Buemi driving his cars.

Formula E also announced the latest in a number of initiatives to increase interaction with the championship’s fans. Gamers can now experience the virtual thrill of driving the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car in Forza Motorsport 5, which is available on Xbox One.

It’s available as a free download and marks the first time in video game history that a fully-electric single-seater has been featured as a playable car on a home entertainment system.

You will be able to race the car around iconic tracks around the world including the streets of Long Beach, which will host a race on 4 April 2015.

Other initiatives include allowing fans to vote for their favourite driver to receive a ‘speed burst’ during the real race and at selected Formula E races, such as the Long Beach ePrix, free admission will be offered.

FIA Formula E Championship 2014/15

September 13 – Beijing, China
November 22 – Putrajaya, Malaysia
December 13 – Punta del Este, Uruguay

January 10 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 14 – TBA
March 14 – Miami, USA
April 4 – Long Beach, USA
May 9 – Monaco, Monte Carlo
May 30 – Berlin, Germany
June 27 – London, UK

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1

I don’t think I’ll be watching any Formula E. Fan Boost, two cars. Has gimmick-reality show written all over it. I know quite a few mid 20’s folks. They’ve watched F1 for about 3-4 years and they prefer the sound of the last formula,a frenzied, screaming V8 Could be you’re not giving new fans enough credit? The draw to any type of racing for new race fans is the noise and the speed. Speed without the noise would be boring. Living in the US having a totally electric car is kind of impractical. Yes they are great for people that don’t have to drive much, live close to their job, store runs and the like. For longer runs the infrastructure for electric vehicles doesn’t exist for the most part. You can’t recharge in the time it takes to fill your tank, if you can find a charging station. Oil companies have invested billions in refineries, tank farms and most importantly, pipelines,.and customer outlets are everywhere. They won’t give up the profits they make without a fight. Toyota Prius owners generally trade the car off before they have to replace the batteries due to the cost. Hybrid technology is dependable and practical at the same time, but long term repair costs will be higher due to the cost of batteries. Hybrids are very thrifty, that way you have less guilt about the “fun” car that burns fuel like a blast furnace.

2

the best illustration of the debacle that voting for drivers will be,

can be seen via the cartoons of gurmit flora. in particular this one at another website (sorry james)

http://www.pitpass.com/gallery/259/pit-pass-cartoons-gurmit

the first one top left with some familiar looking faces running an xfactor type formula !

haven’t stopped chuckling since I saw it.

cheers chaps, lay some rubber !

3

“There are a host of ex-F1 drivers in the field including Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Karun Chandhok, Takuma Sato and Nick Heidfeld.”

Mr. James Allen, Takuma Sato is not a FE driver. You should have mentioned Bruno Senna instead.

4

I am surprised not to see Suzy Wolff either.

5

Well, surprisingly Takuma Sato is testing today in Donington! Maybe James Allen knew more than we knew when he mentioned Sato. Maybe he will race in China, as Félix da Costa will be competing in DTM on 13 September. I just don’t know how can he race after that, as Da Costa and Legge have already signed a contract with Amlin Aguri. Sato would be a very good asset for FE but talking about Indy Car drivers i think Mike Conway is better. He will be racing for Dragon and has a very good record on street tracks, having won Monaco, Macau, Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto…

6

Maybe Suzy Wolff could do better than Katherine Legge or Michela Cerruti can do in FE. But unlike Bruno Senna she lacks the results to be in F1 on merit. Senna was a proven race winner in GP2 and could do the same in F1 if he had more similar conditions to those Damon Hill had. He was as talented as Hill and did better in junior series. He was not fairly treated in F1 but i hope things will be different now he is in FE. So i hope it was not intentionally that James Allen called him Takuma Sato…

7

They have a winner here. This series may not take off this year or the next, but in ten years time. F1 will be media irrelevant. I agree the boost/vote is just crap. But I’m a Motorsport fan. Kids today aren’t Motorsport fans, they like it if it’s relevant on social media but move onto the next thing in the blink of an eye. They need more to keep them interested and this interaction that could possibly determine a race winner may just be enough……..unfortunately.

8

have a look at the number of games which based around driving before deciding what kids like. these games are only successful because kids like them.

9

Who won the simulation race then? Any coverage (other than the snippet in the Youtube vid)?

10

Seriously, this e-boost thing is really just for a bit of fan interaction and comprises 0.03 % of total energy available in the race. The top three votee’s will get 5 seconds at an extra 30kW (approx) of power input. It would only matter if the front two racers were separated by a hairs breadth. Quit your whining folks, the winner will not be decided by 5 seconds of extra juice, as this can be easily undone by fluffing an approach to a corner by 1/10th of a second. Just goes to show how petty some people are, and that if they can’t be totally pleased by the decisions of a governing body they won’t watch the sport. I for one am eager to get my bum in an electric car (Tesla Model 3) and can only see this as a good thing for the automotive industry.

11

I was in one for a week in LA recently and it was fantastic. Perfect car for that city where people do >100 miles a day of driving. Great drive and acceleration second to none, Internet, navigation, music etc were also very cool

12

Electric cars are viable and are here now. I don’t know of any family that gets by on one car. An electric car as a daily driver with a reasonable commute length has no limitations. Use the petrol powered car for the Route 66 tour.

The dash on the Tesla is worth checking out. The 17 inch screen is very intuitive and not the distraction I envisioned. The design and human interface is well thought out and software upgrades are done through a cellular network.

13

No good for Route 66 then? For electric cars to be even remotely viable, they would need much increased range and also be able to be re-charged in a few minute. Ain’t gonna happen!

14

I have to say that i was already looking forward to this new series, and now the video on this page has made me even more excited about it. And not just because Nick Heidfeld!

Like every new sporting event, the first season will be a period of finding its feet, and the silly gimmicks will quickly evolve or be dropped – social media speed boost being an example.

Plus the cars sound brilliant.

15

I’m willing to give this a try. This first season is really about ironing out the problems.

I don’t like the fan-vote for driver boost, but if it helps kick start new fans into this series, then maybe other forms of motorsport may benefit. Anyway, if they change rules, procedures, and politic half as much as in F1, there will be plenty of opportunities to make changes (mid-season even if!).

I also didn’t realize they were running grooved tires. I like the look of the bigger wheels, but I’m not sure why they didn’t stick to slicks. Is this an additional “road relevance” issue? Glad to see Michelin in on it though. I miss the tire wars in F1.

The car change isn’t great as it takes away from pure driver skill – can you imagine loosing a podium because you tripped over a safety belt on the way out of the car (the races are too short to give this a Le Mans flair), but presumably that will disappear once the technology is developed to allow for longer runs and faster speeds. Exactly the kind of technological advancement that F1 is touted for.

I just wonder if we’ll see a new, greener, but slightly older Trulli-train? Will Nick still be quick?

16

Random 79 to answer your comment about my sentences my Ipad is very temperamental and does not allow me to edit in the middle of lines . I am only able to edit from the end of lines. The iPad is also very touch sensitive to the slightest movement and this can sometimes lead to me clicking the comment button by accident. I hope this clarifies things for you. I apologize to my fellow JA on f1 readers for previous comments I submitted when only half finished and I apologise to you James for the same reason.

17

All cool, but now I’m just confused:

You posted this comment about a day after the other one, and yet this one shows up before the other one.

What is going on???

18

I am interested in seeing a few races and see if its interesting. Does anyone know which channel will broadcast it in Canada?

Thank you James for bringing us some updates from time to time as most F1 blogs are determined to ignore this series.

19

James do you think we’ll see an F1 car in future with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell? Can f1 at least help to fast track the development of this technology so it can be used in road and racing cars perhaps sooner than people expect? Your views please.

20

we can find that out now. can we get more energy from burning hydrogen than the amount of energy needed to make hydrogen? unless hydrogen is readily available in the atmosphere, fuel cells have no future.

21

fuel cells will never make it onto the road because they use too much energy to get a small percentage of propulsion.

the current f1 hybrid is the most efficient.

22

@stephen Taylor, you’re absolutely right about honda fcx clarity. the problem is electricity is used to make hydrogen. secondly it requires a lot of electrical energy to make enough hydrogen to run a city full of cars. a lot cheaper to refine petrol.

just look at the number of Toyota priuses there are in the world. many more internal combustion engined electric motor hybrids are being sold all over the world. many buses use the same hybrid engines because it makes sense, more efficient and practical. even super cars run the same hybrid engines. no one in their mind would spend a lot of money to get a lot less in return. doesn’t make sense. toyota has realistic engineers that’s why they are number one in the world. honda on the other hand are gamblers. energy is quantifiable and they have failed to measure how much energy is required to make hydrogen and how much energy is released when hydrogen burns. what I know for certain is that energy is lost every time it is converted from one form to another. is like currency exchange. why change your money from pounds to dollars and then back to pounds again, knowing full well that you lose money every time you change currencies?

23

One of the hurdles with fuel cell vehicles is the distribution network. It can be developed but that is a big expensive boulder to push up hill. The allure of electricity is the existing distribution network. Electricity has it’s limitations with regard to range and energy density but it is a very good alternative for short haul transportation.

24

They (hydrogen fuel cells) have already been used in one road legal car called the Honda FCX Clarity . Question is can the likes of F1 promote and develop Hydrogen fuels cells so that road and racing cars that run on Hydrogen can be produced on a mass scale? We will find out in the future.

25

Finally some sense!

Batteries, no matter which type are old technology, proven by the car change mid-race and the ‘zero emission’ argument always manages forget the Powerstation generating the electricity!

Fuel cells would be interesting and forward thinking.

26

Good question, one to look into

27

All of the “innovations” Formula E is using may not appeal to all us old geezers and young snots who like Formula 1. Internal combustion engine racing probably doesn’t appeal to the environmental crowd who are plunking down $100,000 for a Tesla and considerably less for other electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

While I may be skeptical of electric cars and bikes, the future is going to be determined by the young. Whether you believe in global warming or not we are going to see a massive shift away from the internal combustion engine.

How many of you remember the Rush song “Red Barchetta?” Written in 1980 it seemed so implausible then, not so much now. Enjoy…

28

ah Duffy…great song…and also a great short story “a nice morning drive” which inspired the song. The story was written in ’73 during increasingly draconian US car safety law enforcement. Remember the big fat rubber bumpers on the MG which replaced the chrome ones?

And James…did Agag really call it an ePrix? Really? Just saying it make one sound like a complete and utter Prix! Formula E is plenty good enough without the fashionable and frankly idiotic mandatory crowbarring in of ‘e’ and ‘i’ on the front of every word surely?

Will give it a go on telly, but I’m with everyone else on the fanboy boost button. It makes as much sense as double points for the last F1 race.

29

electric cars will never make it in the world simply because they cannot make their own electricity.

30

@sticky piston, there is no factory which makes petrol in the world. petrol exists naturally, mixed with other fuels. they are simply separated at the refinery into the various fractions and used. electricity on the other hand requires the burning of a lot of fuel to make.

learn the law of conservation of energy and then understand that when energy is converted from one form to another, some of it is lost as heat, light or sound.

that’s why electric cars are a simple dream. the only way electric cars will be more efficient than internal combustion engined cars is if the electricity they run on is made from solar energy.

31

Neither can petrol powered cars make petrol.

32

is it really a zero emissions world championship? how is the electricity they use made without emmission?

looking good though.

33

Honestly, so much whining!

This is a new motorsport category, with some great drivers, on some potentially great tracks, and with a fresh approach both technologically and operationally. It doesn’t step on F1’s toes, nor does it take anything away from other forms of motorsport – it’s just something new.

Maybe we would have done things a different way, but honestly, can’t we just be a little happy that there is yet another option (and on free-to-air TV at that) for us to take a look at and enjoy at least some of?!

34

Disposable cars are so eco-friendly.

35

What aspect makes them disposable?

36

These cars do not carry sufficient ENERGY to be able to complete a race distance, hence the need to replace the car half way through. Where is the extra ENERGY for a 2.5 second power boost going to come from? It can only be by depleting the quantity of ENERGY the car has on board – this would be like allowing a F1 driver extra ‘boost’ but not allowing the car to carry extra fuel to provide the boost – the result is either no extra boost, or a situation lick Ricciardo in Australia, or fuel saving later in the race – you cannot just get ENERGY from nowhere.

37

Reading up on the car specs reveals several limitations. Maximum power and boost levels are limited. Maximum speed is limited to 140 mph. Given the initial constraints, it seems the 2.5s of boost is easily achieved. As the technology matures and more control is given back to the teams for development I would hope these constraints are relaxed to allow for innovation. (My pessimistic side says the cost constraints will hamper this)

38

unless they are not allowed to use 100% of the energy onboard.

39

James can you ever see time where F1 uses a turbo diesel hybrid power unit in the next 25-30 years?

Has anyone ever explored the possibility of using/building a diesel engine/power unit for Grand Prix racing?

40

Speed burst.. all it’s missing is.. a princess, donkey kong, 2 italian plumbers and some turtle shells to really bring the racing element of, the competition to the fore.

Or how about a car sized hamster wheel in the pits, where a driver could go in and get a “supercharge” for 5 laps. Or some ramps, over water, cliffs, through burning hoops of fire.

But it is cool about the electric car formula finally coming, I’m really looking forward to it. Slightly concerned of the apparent need to stuff the competition with gimmicks.

Really as it’s such a leap with new technology, i thought it would be a great opportunity to have a “back to basics” feel about the competition, to contrast the new technology with what we all love, no nonsense racing.

41

electric cars are not new technology. racing them is new but they’ve been around for a very long time. don’t forget the electric milk floats.

42

I am actually looking forward to it. All these ex-F1 drivers have given the series credibility. Senna and Prost are racing!

I also like the fact they are racing on street circuits. Monaco is in there and that pretty cool.

I hope the racing is close. I hope the opportunities to overtake are there. and that the cars are reliable.

I am a little dubious on the car swap idea however I understand that this will change as the technology improves.

Dont like the power boost idea and hopefully they’ll drop that concept.

Make it accessible and make the racing fun! Let the cars and drivers be accessible and you will engage many.

43

Only about a month to go so let’s see how it goes, year 2 and 3 will be the deciding ones if formula e has any staying power.

44

Something different, It he sound of the cars remind me of jet planes. I’m looking forward to it, James will it be broadcasted and by who?

45

Can’t say yes and can’t say no. Just hope a full race will be on you tube for viewing to get a feel of FE.

46

That would be good.

Considering they’re offering free admission for some of the races it could be a good promotional move.

47
Michael in Sydney

They say that with change comes opportunity. So let’s all stay positive and support the new formula. Yes, the whole voting system looks flawed. To me it looks like an old conservative persons view of what would work in order to get younger people interested….. and make them some money at the same time. I think that concept is now, already, somewhat dated.

Bring forward the product and technology innovation that can filter down to road cars. That is the biggest draw card for Formula E. Not to mention to see so many ex-F1 drivers now gainfully employed. Electric cars need to be considered to be part of the future of motoring and we need racing to progress this concept and technology. Whilst there is a focus on top speed here, perhaps we need to have a formula that can focus on delivering longer and longer battery life…. That’s the end game with electric cars, not only good looking supercars that exceed all of our speed limits for the masses.

I’ll watch every race if I can.

48

electric cars are not as efficient as internal combustion engined cars let alone hybrid. they are not the future. why do you think there are so few electric cars on the road?

49

@james, i think if they made and sold a lot of them, the price will come down but they just can’t make and sell enough as they are not as efficient and practical as cars as we know them. The electric car idea is simply a dream as far as efficiency is concerned.

50
Michael in Sydney

Of course they cost too much. What a pity that is. But with all modern technologies, as they get increasingly tested, they do become cheaper and better. Thinking forward ten or twenty years, I think we all realise that there is a need for more electric and hybrid cars on roads across the globe.

There simply needs to be different types of electric / hybrid cars for different applications. We can’t all drive, or need to drive for that matter, Tesla’s et al that well exceed speed limits.

There seems to be a dominating view that electric / hybrid technology cars just need to get faster and faster. I don’t share that view. They need to be able to – one day – replace the ICE and perform the majority of simple tasks that cars across the globe really do day in, day out.

I can only hope that this is part of the total vision for Formula E and on that basis, I wholeheartedly support it.

51

Cost

52

Formula E should run as a support race on the F1 calendar , then they could generate a fan base from existing motor sport fans rather than having the expense of their own venues. Sure if things go well it would be a route in the future but it’s a big ask to get a whole new sport going in this economic climate, especially when the big draw is… Well what is the big draw…retired F1 drivers.

53

Disagree on driver draw. I’m more excited about the young guys who haven’t had a chance in a top series yet (Antonio Felix da Costa, Sam Bird etc), plus current IndyCar winners (Mike Conway) and two female racers (including Katherine Legge, whose other job is driving the mad DeltaWing).

54

They want to run exclusively on street circuits to promote the use of electric cars in cities. That said, having seen the cars fly around Donington, I do wish we could see a race there…they look fantastic going down the turn 2-5 complex.

55

with generators burning fuel on the same streets?

56
FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

Having attended a couple of the test sessions already i’ve got to admit that I was blown away by the cars. Not only do they look fantastic (much better than the current F1 cars) but they sound brilliant, especially when they are following one another. They also produce a tremendous amount of torque and watching the drivers trying to control them is absolutely fantastic.

I spoke to a few guys in the pitlane at the last test and the message I kept on getting was ‘this isn’t about aero, it’s about battery technology’ and that really sums the sport up. A few of the guys even believe that once the manufacturers enter the sport in year 2, we may end up getting batteries that can do a whole race distance in 1 charge, although that of course depends on the rate of improvement in the technology.

I know that people might be put off by the fan boost idea, but it’s only a 2.5s boost for 1 driver. It’s really not going to make a huge difference, especially given the tight and twisty tracks we’ll be racing on.

If anyone has the opportunity to attend the test next week, I’d highly recommend going. It’s a fantastic experience and the drivers were very friendly during the pitlane tour.

57

Thanks Anil for your updates

I’m really excited about this series. I concur with some other comments here about seeing a new batch of drivers such as Legge, Michela Cerruti, Prost and so on.

It’ll be interesting to see what technological improvements come in the next few years. I really don’t buy into this nay saying/pessimism arguments of “it’s not really zero emissions” “batteries are more unfriendly for the environment” and so on. They’re all strawmen arguments. This really is a test bed in the first year, and we could see some really amazing developments in the not too distant future.

I imagine these sorts of arguments were made when Audi first introduced the R10-TDI at Le Mans. And now look how amazing, efficient and technology packed LMP cars are now. You even have Nissan running their ZEOD. (As an aside, it would be interesting to know if this series might have run the ZEOD had the development occurred a little earlier).

58

how is it zero emission when they will have polluting generators on site to charge the batteries?

59

Thanks for the reply!

I do think this series will turn some heads, especially with how fan focused it is. The free race at Long Beach will get a big attendance I’m sure, beating many Formula 1 races. It may be the wake up call motorsport needs.

60

so will “single charge” cars be competing against “mid race change” cars. do the rules cater for this?

61

At the mo, rules stipulate one car change during the race. But that may (probably will) change for the next season. It could throw up a great strategy play off – do you go for a battery that drains faster but have to pit stop, or one that will last the whole race but require a more measured speed?

62

The rules don’t cater for that type of strategy at the moment simply because that type of technology is some way ahead. Let’s just wait and see what types of manufacturers step forward for now.

63

Will the championship be featured in other video games or just Forza5? What about Project cars, Auto Club Revolution, Assetto Corsa, Rfactor2, Iracing, raceroom?

I dont see any value in owning an xboxone. Project cars looks good for a multiplatform game.

I hope they havent sold out by making it an Xbox exclusive. When you launch a racing series it helps to have a good video game along side it. A1GP and Indy cars never grew on me because there was no racing simulations that i could play to sustain my interest and grow my passion.

64

I can’t see this being exclusive to Forza and Xbox. I thinkt he reason it’s been announced for that platform is that Forza 5 is an active game, so it’s a great chance to do some publicity. Hopefully we’ll see the cars in other games.

And yes, Project CARS looks fantastic.

65

Please keep up the reports. What a great opportunity to have your insight. Thanks!

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