Friday, 23 October 2015

Formula E season two preview

Formula E returns for it's second season this weekend with the opening round on the streets of Beijing.

Last season's visit to Beijing got the all-electric series off to a dramatic start when Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld spectacularly collided on the final lap handing the first ever Formula E victory to Lucas Di Grassi.

For the second year of Formula E, a host of changes have been brought in as this young series continues to develop.


For season two the powertrain regulations have been opened up to allow teams to develop their own motors.

Eight different motors will be run across the ten different teams with two teams (Andretti and Aguri) opting to run last season's powertrain.

The opened up rules have allowed a range of different combinations of powertrains and gearboxes. The DS Virgin and NEXTEV TCR teams will run with two motors, while gearboxes range from one to five gears depending on the car. Dragon Racing is the only customer team, purchasing their motors from Venturi, a package which has proven to be incredibly reliable in testing.

The Williams supplied batteries have also undergone an overhaul in the off-season, meaning that the max race power will increase from 150kW to 170kW. However, drivers will still have to use two cars per race, single car races not being on the agenda for another few years.


This year qualifying will be in the form of a 'superpole' format where drivers will be given just six minutes to do a qualifying lap. That time will mean that drivers will have enough time for just one qualifying lap at full power.


The polarising fanboost remains, although this time fans will be able to vote for which drivers get the additional power boost not just before the race, but for the first six minutes of the race.


Following what seemed like a constant revolving door of drivers int he first year, onle ABT Audi Sport, e.dams Renault and Mahindra finished the season with the same driver lineup they started with, teams will now only be able to make two driver changes per car during the season.

The teams and drivers for the 2015/16 season are:

e.dams Renault - Renault Z.E.15 - Sebastien Buemi, Nicolas Prost

Last season's teams champions who came agonisingly close to taking the drivers title too, Sebastien Buemi missing out by a solitary point. Four wins last season make them not only the winnigest team in Formula E, but ones to watch this season too. If their Friday form in Beijing is anything to go by, they'll be tough to beat - but only if they can get on top of the reliability issues that cropped up during pre-season

Dragon Racing - Venturi VM200-FE-01 - Jerome d'Ambrosio, Loic Duval

Dragon racing proved last season they could win races with d'Ambrosio taking the checkered flag in Berlin en route to fourth in the final standings. With the reliable Venturi package underneath them, expect d'Ambrosio and Le Mans winner Duval to challenge near the front again.

ABT Audi Sport - ABT Schaeffler FE01 - Daniel Abt, Lucas di Grassi

Speed and consistency go hand in hand and ABT Audi Sport have the benefit of both. The same driver lineup as last year will stand the team in good stead and their remarkable pre-season performance has them pencilled in as early season favourites.

NEXTEV TCR - NEXTEV TCR 001 - Nelson Piquet Jr., Oliver Turvey

Perhaps the surprise of last season. Few expected Piquet to take the title and to be fair, it may be the same story this season. A heavy one gear, two motor setup and a lack of pre-season mileage may leave the team at a disadvantage on paper but they certainly have a pair of drivers who can deliver. It could go either way for the Campos-run team

DS Virgin Racing - Virgin DSV-01 - Sam Bird, Jean-Eric Vergne

Winners in season one, the Richard Branson-backed outfit heads into season two in allegiance with French manufacturer Citroen. After being two time race winners in season one, DS Virgin Racing will be hoping to challenge at the sharp end once more. Vergne joins Bird from Andretti after showing flashes of pace last season, although his power management wasn't always up to scratch. A strong pre-season and a strong driver lineup leaves this team in a good place heading to Beijing

Andretti Autosport - Spark SRT_01E - Simona de Silvestro, Robin Frijns

A new driver lineup and a new sponsor in Amlin, but no now motor for Michael Andretti's team. After a tough time running their own ATEC-01 unit in testing, the team have reverted to last season's technology. They'll definitely be in the hunt for points early on but they may struggle as the season goes on.

Team Aguri - Spark SRT_01E - Antonio Felix da Costa, Nathanael Berthon

It's a similar story for Aguri. Race winners in season one, the ex-F1 team chose to run last seasons motors instead of going down the costly route of developing their own. da Costa should easily have the upper hand over Berthon although as the championship reaches it's conclusion next summer, race wins may be a stretch too far.

Mahindra Racing - Mahindra M2Electro - Nick Heidfeld, Bruno Senna

Motorsport's 'nearly man' Nick Heidfeld joins Bruno Senna at Mahindra for season two and the Indian team have been racking up the miles in pre-season, showing good pace too. After being paired with Carlin for their début season, Mahindra will now align with Campos, who ran Piquet Jr. to the crown last season, for year two. After a winless season, it wouldn't be foolish to expect them to break that duck at some point this season.

Venturi - Venturi VM200-FE-01 - Stephane Sarrazin, Jacques Villeneuve

Of the two teams running the Venturi powertrain, it could be Venturi themselves that will be the weaker of the two. Winless last year, although Heidfeld came close in Beijing and Sarrazin ran on the road in London before being disqualified. Having a reliable powertrain will certainly be a benefit to the former F1 pair, although Villeneuve's inexperience in the series could be a hindrance.

Trulli - Motomatica JT-01 - Vitantonio Liuzzi, Salvador Duran

Trulli's pre-season has been a disaster. Having failed to post a timed lap with their Motomatica powertrain, they chose to ship their cars to Beijing independently of the rest of the grid to allow them more development time - a move that has since proved to be costly as the motors were held up in customs. As a result we wont see Trulli on the grid until the second round of the season in Malaysia at the earliest. Unless they revert to last season's motor, expect this team to struggle.



The calendar for this season once again contains 11 events although there are a few changes. Mexico City replaces Miami, while Paris replaces Long Beach. The location of the two London Races is yet to be confirmed. Last season the races were held in Battersea park.

Beijing, China - October 24 2015

Putrajaya, Malaysia - November 7 2015

Punta Del Este, Uruguay - December 19 2015

Buenos Aires, Argentina - February 6 2016

Mexico City, Mexico - March 12 2016 (New for season two)

Long Beach, USA - April 2 2016

Paris, France - April 23 2016 (New for season two)

Berlin, Germany - May 21 2016

Moscow, Russia - June 4 2016

London, Great Britain - July 2 2016*

London, Great Britain - July 3 2016*

*Location TBC 

Images: Formula E

No comments:

Post a Comment