April Fool: Formula E reacts to slipstream games in Sao Paulo and introduces "lead charge
[Update: This article was an April Fool's joke.]
While Formula E has celebrated itself extensively for the numerous lead changes at the Sao Paulo E-Prix, in the end it seems to have realized that motorsport loses an important component when no one wants to lead a race. The solution to the problem will come soon and sounds curious: lead laps are to be rewarded in the future with additional energy at the fast-charging pit stop.
Actually, the fast-charging technology should already be used at the Gen3 start of Formula E. Now it will be introduced with a few months delay at one of the upcoming races. During the so-called Attack Charge, the drivers are supposed to refuel 4 kWh of energy in 30 seconds (with Attack Mode being unlocked at the same time). Formula E now wants to take advantage of these pit stops in other ways.
So a defined amount of energy is to be fed additionally into the battery for each race lap led. How much energy this will be depends on the respective track layout. On a high-speed circuit like Sao Paulo, it would possibly be several kilowatt hours cumulatively, while the effect is hardly noticeable on tracks like Monaco. Before each E-Prix, the FIA plans to announce a track-specific reference quantity for this purpose.
During the race in Sao Paulo, there were some absurd scenes at the front of the field. Drivers waved each other past so that they, too, could save energy in the slipstream of the respective driver in front for a few laps. Pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne ultimately dropped to sixth place due to the drag disadvantage, explaining the disappointing result, "I led for too long."
"Fans will love the stunning new lead charge".
Already last week, we devoted a separate commentary to this dilemma of Formula E and really saw only two possible solutions: Adjustments to the track layouts or a reduction in Gen3 car drag through the "Gen3EVO" body upgrade planned for Season 11. That Formula E is coming around the corner with such a quick and innovative solution comes as a surprise to many Expert:ins.
"Eleven lead changes are all well and good, but if you're a race driver being waved past, overtaking maneuvers no longer have any appeal either," recognizes a Formula E spokesperson. "So why don't we take advantage of our technological capabilities with the Gen3 car and push the development of the series at the same time? Fans will love the stunning new lead charge."
It is possible that the Attack Charge, and with it the announced Lead Charge, could be launched as early as April 22 and 23 in Berlin. The time pressure of Formula E is understandable, because similar to Sao Paulo, the slipstream effect is likely to play a decisive role in Tempelhof and could lead to another sporting dilemma. We'll keep you up to date on this topic.