Formula E and the FIA have today revealed the calendar for the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, as well as details on the new race format and split power modes on offer alongside the new-look next generation car in season five. The calendar was published following the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in Manila and features 13 races in 12 cities across four continents – starting in Ad Diriyah with the debut of Formula E in the Middle East on December 15 and coming to a close in New York with a double-header on July 13 and 14. The ABB FIA Formula E Championship returns to a number of existing venues and locations including Marrakesh, Mexico City and Hong Kong, which moves to a later date in March. Together with events in Africa, Asia and North America – next season also sees the introduction of the newly-titled voestalpine European races. Formula E cars will tackle a number of cities spanning the continent, with the European leg comprising of races in Rome, Paris, Berlin and Zurich, in addition to visiting the streets of Monaco for a third time on May 11 – appearing on the calendar on a bi-annual basis.
The FIA also released more details on changes to the race format taking into account the increased power and energy storage capacity of the Gen2 car for the coming season, which can complete a full race distance without the need to make a mid-race car swap. In a bid to promote a mixture of strategic options, as well as further enhancing and retaining the intense and unpredictable nature of Formula E races, it will be mandatory for drivers to use two different power modes over a race distance. Drivers will be able to access 225kW of power in a higher mode – as opposed to the standard 200kW available during the race – once they’ve passed through a single activation zone. The activation zone will be clearly visible and marked out on the circuit for fans trackside and those watching on TV. The two power modes on each car will be indicated using different colours on the innovative LED system on the halo head protection device. The exact number of individual uses and relative duration of the higher power mode will vary at each event and will be determined by the FIA. It will be at the discretion of the teams and drivers when to activate the higher power mode throughout the race within the limits set by FIA.
Drivers will also be able to activate FANBOOST – the unique interactive voting mechanism that allows three drivers to receive extra energy – only when the cars are running on a higher power mode, taking the maximum power available to 250kW. Other alterations for season five include changes to the number of cars making it through to the super pole shoot-out, in order to accommodate the larger grid of 22 cars. The new qualifying format now sees the top-six fastest drivers after the group stages battle it out to secure Julius Baer pole position.
Race distances will no longer be measured using a pre-defined number of laps, but will instead run to a strict time limit of 45-minutes plus one lap to reach the chequered flag. The prize for fastest lap will also be replaced, with points being awarded to the most efficient driver classified in the top-five positions – rewarding the driver who has used the least amount of energy.
Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E: “The ABB FIA Formula E Championship has always produced highly-competitive and unpredictable racing. Formula E is synonymous with innovation and pioneering technology – that’s exactly what we’ll be seeing again next season with the step-up in performance and efficiency of the futuristic next generation car, as well as trialling unique and radical concepts to usher in a new era of Formula E. The new format and split levels of power being introduced for season five will add an extra strategic element and continue to offer intense and exciting competition between some of the most talented drivers and biggest brands in motorsport. I’m looking forward to seeing the new cars and format in action against the backdrop of iconic city skylines – starting in Ad Diriyah in December.”