Following a five-month break, Formula E is returning to the race track next Saturday (December 15): In Ad Diriyah, on the outskirts of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, the fifth season of the fully electric racing series will begin. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team with Daniel Abt, Lucas di Grassi and the newly developed Audi e-tron FE05 will be on the grid as the title defenders.
With an impressive fightback and a spectacular final sprint at the last race weekend in New York City, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler captured the teams’ championship title last season. Now the cards will be reshuffled. “We can hardly wait for the racing to finally start again,” says Team Principal Allan McNish. “It feels like the season finale with all of its emotions was a long time ago. Now we’re looking ahead: The joint pre-season tests in Valencia gave us an initial impression of the relative strengths in the new season. But in motorsport, nothing compares to the magic of the first race day with the first qualifying and race, when you really know where you stand, especially after the months of hard work done by everyone back in Neuburg. My feeling can best be described as suspense and nervous anticipation.”
The opener in Ad Diriyah marks the beginning of a new era in Formula E. The most important innovation: Thanks to the larger battery capacity of the new generation car, the previously required mid-race car swap is no longer needed. Even so, the format will remain strategically exciting with the new “Attack Mode”: When a driver passes through the “activation zone” on the race track, the power output of his car will receive a short-term boost to 225 kW (306 hp). The challenge for the strategists: the FIA determines the number of activations and their duration individually for each race and announces them only just before the race starts.
For the new season, the race distance previously defined by laps, will always be 45 minutes plus 1 lap. The power output in race mode increases from 180 kW to 200 kW. Fans will continue to be able to support their favorite drivers by voting for them on the Formula E website, among other voting platforms. Votes can be submitted starting six days before the race and up until 15 minutes into the race. The five drivers with the largest number of votes will receive the “FanBoost” that can be activated in the second half of the race and gives the driver a short-term power boost to 250 kW.