Formula E 2016 Update: Everything You Need to Know about the Second Season

A few weeks ago Formula E crowned Nelson Piquet, Jr. as the champion of it’s inaugural season.  However the off-season break was short, as 2016 preseason testing got underway this week at Donington Park in England.

New Powertrain Technologies and Opportunities for Innovation

As you can hear in the video above, there are many changes in store for 2016.  The first is the little roar you now hear in the cars.  This reflects the first big change in racing technology.  Last year, all cars were outfitted with identical drivetrains.  For 2016, FIA Formula E presented teams with the option to begin development of their own electric motors, gearboxes, inverters and cooling systems.

Why limit innovation to the powertrain, and not aerodynamics, batteries and more?  Cost control is the reason cited by FIA Formula E.  Which makes a certain amount of sense.  The strategy also helps to ensure competition.  Formula E doesn’t need a technology race funded by the deepest pockets.  The risk to competition is high; especially given the number of super-rich and never-old Peter Pan types in racing.  Spending a small fortune is nothing to these guys if its in pursuit of racing glory.  Or think of it like this.  What would happen to the rest of the teams and level of competition if Donald Trump owned a Formula E team?



More Formula E on TV

Another big change is with the TV contract.  Fox Sports extended their TV contract with FIA Formula E through the 2019-2020 season.  Close to 1.2 million people in the UK alone watched the London E-Prix final series.  The popular F1 Broadcasting Blog.com, a racing media website, calls the 2015 “a success”.  Click here for a brilliant Season One recap piece on ratings, schedule, and the mechanics of covering races.  Here’s a snippet:

Season one for Formula E has gone incredibly well. Have they proved the naysayers wrong? I’d like to think so. The points I have outlined above will only serve to get better as time progresses. The cars will only get faster, the technology will become more mainstream and attract a bigger audience. Formula E has its baseline. But the race is not over. The chase for viewers is only just beginning. Please, just don’t do anything stupid. Keep it free and accessible, and you will attract more viewers.

 

For Season Two, their biggest concern are 2 gaps in the racing schedule, each longer than 3 weeks.  For whatever reason they exist, I agree that they must be closed.  Gaps kill momentum for newly loyal viewers and pose problems for those curious to try the circuit.

A Veteran Enters the Fray

Naturally, you’d expect the circuit to attract new teams and drivers.  The biggest name to join electric car racing is Jaques Villeneuve.  In his 10 years in Formula 1, driving for Williams, BAR, Sauber and Renault, Villeneuve secured 11 victories and 23 podiums; including the Formula One Championship in 1997, and an Indianapolis 500 victory in 1995.

He will drive for Venturi Racing, with Stephane Sarrazin his teammate.  On the move to green racing, here’s more from the champion:

“This is the first time in several years that I will participate in a full championship. I am excited because the atmosphere while working alongside the Venturi team is great and that has a very big influence. Also, I know Stéphane Sarrazin well, we trust each other.”

 

Electric Cars will Race Through the City of Love

The city of Paris will host the first European round of the 2015/16 Formula E season. The Paris ePrix will take place on 23rd April on a temporary track designed by Electric Formula and built around the architectural complex of Les Invalides.

 

FIA Formula E recently made this announcement adding Paris, France as a host city.  It’s good to see Paris join world-class cities like Beijing, London, Berlin, Moscow, Buenos Aires and others to bring electric car racing to their streets and residents.

 

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