A Simple Guide to FIA Formula E and Formula E Race Cars

Formula E Racer 3 photos
Photo: FIA Formula E
Formula E Race CarFormula E Race Car
Curtains closed for the first-ever Formula E season last weekend in London, after nine months of racing and silent action on racetracks in cities like London, Monaco, Miami, Berlin and Beijing.
Although far less spectacular and profitable than its giant counterpart called Formula 1, Formula E showed enough potential to create premises for a second season.

Most likely, rules and regulations will stay the same, but structural changes will show up, therefore, we thought we should look back on this ice-breaking season and gather all you need to know in the following guide for what we believe to be a freshly written file in the history of motorsport. So let's take it one subchapter at a time.

The competition

Formula E is a new FIA single-seater championship and the world's first fully-electric racing series. A total of 10 teams, each with two drivers, race on temporary city-centre circuits. At the same time, Formula E wants to serve as a framework for R&D around the electric vehicle.

Another unique aspect of the competition is that social media plays a role in Formula E, as fans are allowed to vote their favourite driver, which results in him getting an extra speed boost during the race, but not for longer than 5 seconds.

However, from season two, Formula E will operate as an 'open championship', allowing teams and manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their own electrical energy innovations. In other words, teams will focus their efforts on improving and developing powertrains and battery technology, with the aim of this filtering into the everyday electric vehicle market.

The teams

Ten teams took part in the inaugural season of Formula E, and almost all of them are connected to existing motorsport brands or car makers. For example, Virgin Racing is sponsored by Richard Branson while Indian car builder Mahindra also had a team in Formula E.

The cars

Here's where things get interesting. For the first season, teams all raced the electric Spark Renault STR 01E, but there's a twist: a team was entitled to four cars, two for every driver. Also, each car battery held an initial 30-minute charge, that's why drivers had to change cars once during the race - each one lasted exactly one hour.

The racers' chassis was designed by Dallara, McLaren provided the electric powertrain - by the way, it's the same used for the P1 supercar, but adapted - and Williams was tasked with providing the battery packs. Max power is capped at 200 kW, the equivalent of 270 bhp. Power delivery was achieved via a five-speed paddle-shift sequential gearbox, supplied by Hewland.

In race mode, drivers had only 202.5 bhp at their disposal while FanBoost triggered a temporary increase in power by 40.5 bhp. Braking was also crucial, so each Formula E race car had two separate hydraulic systems, operated by the same pedal.

Those 18-inch treaded tires come from Michelin and were designed for both wet and dry conditions and dressed O.Z. Racing Magnesium rims.

Each body shell was made of composite materials with subtle carbon fiber adding.

Suspension-wise, each racer came with double steel wishbones (pushrod operated), twin dampers and torsion bars suspension (front) and spring suspension (rear) along with adjustable ride height, camber, and toe.

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