Formula E Rules and Regulations Explained

Slowly gaining traction in the racing world, Formula E is an electric car replica of Formula 1. Conceived in 2011, the series is only now beginning to attract major car manufacturers to the starting grid.
Formula E rules explained 13 photos
Photo: Formula E
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For the 2019 season, the racing series has already secured a host of big names. Although the full roster of teams competing in the next season is not yet finalized, we can expect to see on the starting line teams sanctioned by the following manufacturers: Audi, Renault, Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Nissan.

Although not entirely different from the F1 series it is inspired from, Formula E has some unique systems in place to make the races more interesting. The rules and regulations listed below are those pertaining to the current racing season.


Formula E is not a racing series designed for special race tracks. Each race takes place on temporary circuits on city streets. All teams are supplied with the same chassis and battery, on top of which they can mount their own electric motors, gearboxes and so on.

Formula E race cars
Photo: Formula E


Just as in F1, there are two titles up for grabs in Formula E: driver and team. The champions are crowned at the end of the championship, depending on the number of points gained during the races. The current season has 12 such events.

For the drivers, the season total is made of the accumulation of points for the entire campaign. Of the 20 drivers racing for the win, only half are rewarded for their efforts after the race.

The points system used in the series are FIA-sanctioned and awards points after each race to the top 10 finishers: 25 points for 1st place, 18 for the second, 15 for the third, all the way to only 1 point going to the last of the pack.

Aside for the points pertaining to the race itself, drivers are also rewarded 3 points for securing a pole position (called in Formula E Julius Baer Pole Position) or one point for the driver achieving the fastest lap. To gain this extra points, drivers must finish the race in the top ten.

For the constructor title, the champion is decided after adding the points gained by both drivers of each team.

Formula E race cars
Photo: Formula E


Formula E is an event which kicks off with the Shakedown prior to the race. Shakedown is used to check systems, speed, batteries and so on. On their end, FIA representatives check the track and its features because, as said, each Formula E race takes place on city streets. During the Shakedown event, the power of each of the cars is reduced to 110 kW.

Practice is made up of two sessions, one lasting 45 minutes and the other 30 minutes. Practice is the first time the drivers get to experience the circuit, while driving cars with power limited to 200 kW.

Qualifying is used to determine the starting grid for the main race. It lasts for one hour. Drivers dive into qualifying after a lottery conducted during the briefing decides to which group each of them belongs to. The drivers of each group then get six minutes to set their best time.

The drivers who manage to finish in the top five will enter a so-called Shootout. The Shootout sees the fifth fastest driver during qualifying starting first. The one who does a lap the fastest will be securing the pole-position. During the Shooutout, power is limited to 200 kW.

Formula E race cars
Photo: Formula E


In Formula E, a race is called an E-Prix. It begins with a standing start, with the drivers lined-up behind the actual grid.

Each race last about 50 minutes, with the cars set to a maximum power on 180 kW. A few drivers can get momentary power jumps with the help of the fans, as you will see below.

Currently, drivers are required to make one pit stop to change the depleted car for a fully charged one. Starting next season, that would change thanks to the introduction of a more capable racer.

As far as tires go, the special 18-inch treaded all-weather Michelin rubber comes in new sets for each of the teams for every race. Aside for the new tires, each driver has to have one front and one rear tire from the previous event fitted on the car.

Charging the electric racer is forbidden during both qualifying and the race itself.

Formula E race cars
Photo: Formula E


As said, depending on their public perception, some drivers might get the help of the fans when it comes to boosting their power. In the Monday preceding each race online voting opens, and fans are being asked to cast their vote at most once each day for their favorite driver. Six minutes into the races, the voting ends.

The top three drivers in the online voting will then have the right during the race to activate an additional 100kJ of energy, but only in the second car and for one time only, not in a series of burst, for either attacking or defending a position.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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