Fascination: The new season of Formula E: The third generation

Formula E is entering its ninth season and once again the expectations are high - but the uncertainty is no less.

Fascination: The new season of Formula E: The third generation

Formula E is entering its ninth season and once again the expectations are high - but the uncertainty is no less. Some big car manufacturers have now disappeared from the starting list. Brands such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi have meanwhile said goodbye – the disappointment is not great for any of the three large premium manufacturers, as Formula E was unable to meet the expectations placed on it in terms of image and technology transfer. Porsche has remained in the starting field, as have DS, Nio, Nissan, McLaren and Mahindra, and with Cupra and Maserati there are two new manufacturers who, somewhat surprisingly, want to try their luck in the global electric series. The first race of the new season took place in Mexico City around the baseball station Foro Sol with its unique motodrome atmosphere.

As in previous years, Formula E can hardly be blamed for not being exciting at the races. The best example of this is the opening race of the 2023 season at the weekend, which Jake Dennis from Avalanche Andretti won in front of last year's winner Pascal Wehrlein from Porsche and Formula E veteran Lucas die Grassi. The race was exciting and varied, especially at the beginning with numerous accidents and pace car phases. The total of 40,000 spectators could therefore not complain about the appropriate entertainment. In contrast to most other brands, Porsche can be satisfied with the start of the race, because not only its own racing cars were able to place at the front; Andretti is also on the road with Porsche drives and so four Porsches were among the first seven vehicles. “Starting from the front row and then winning by so much, with a one-two Porsche, my team deserves a lot of credit,” said winner Jake Dennis, “these cars are so physically difficult to drive, and with As grip decreases, everything becomes even more difficult. Now it's time for some tequila with the team, an incredible race.” The race was less pleasant for the new teams in particular, who were unable to put themselves in the limelight in the front field.

The racing cars of the third generation are not only visually, but also technologically a big step into the electric future. The racing cars are on the road with a new standard chassis that replaced the FE18 body - which has been on the road since the 2018 season. While the racing cars of the previous season had 220 kW / 299 hp as standard and 250 kW / 340 hp were available in the so-called attack mode, the new drives deliver a maximum of 350 kW / 476 hp. In racing mode it is still 300 kW / 408 hp. This means that top speeds of up to 320 km/h are possible and so Formula E is entering Formula 1 speed regions for the first time, where the vehicles can reach speeds of up to 350 km/h, depending on the race track. For the first time, the models of the new generation have generators on the front and rear axles, which should be particularly noticeable in better recuperation. However, there is currently no real friction brake. However, this quickly came up again when there were a number of accidents during the test drives and even experienced Formula E drivers had problems getting used to the new car and especially the braking behavior at the limit.

The vehicles have become noticeably lighter and thus more agile, in particular due to a smaller battery. While the Generation II racing cars were still on the road with a 52 kWh battery pack, they now only have a slim 38.5 kWh capacity. This means that it is more than ever up to the pilot to reach the finish line both quickly and successfully with the intelligent use of battery power and a high level of braking energy recovery. The front axle can be recuperated with 350 kilowatts and the rear axle with 250 kilowatts.

With 16 races in the 2023 season, the racing calendar is more packed than ever. It's not even two weeks until the next Formula E race weekend. Rounds two and three of the FIA ​​Formula E World Championship are scheduled for January 27th and 28th in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The races in Europe take place in Rome, Berlin and Monaco. There is also another double race in London. Otherwise, the electric Formula E racing circuit will be in Hyderabad, Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Jakarta and Portland, among other places, before the next world champion is determined.