Comment: Attack Mode needs to change - 2 potential solutions for Formula E
The introduction of the Attack Mode at the beginning of the Gen2 era in 2018 made waves, and the "Mario Kart feature" continued to enjoy great popularity in the years that followed. The Attack Mode provided tactical games, overtaking manoeuvres and entertainment. However, it has since lost its relevance, as the Gen3 cars are barely able to put the extra 50 kW of power onto the track. Formula E needs to act.
It is not uncommon for drivers to "work through" their two Attack Modes per race reluctantly. The disadvantage of the temporarily increased energy consumption is too great, and the pace advantage that the drivers gain with 350 kW (instead of 300 kW) is too small. One reason for this is the current Hankook tyre, which was designed with less grip than its predecessor from Michelin.
"With the Gen2 car, it was easier to exploit the potential of the tyres in Attack Mode," explained Fred Espinos, Sporting Director at the German ABT Cupra team, when asked by e-Formula.news. "With the current compound, it is more difficult to utilise the power because there is a lack of grip." However, there will be no more changes to the tyres this year.
A new rubber compound with more grip and all-wheel drive will not be available until 2025 with the introduction of the "Gen3.5" car upgrade. Until then, the tyre is therefore not a possible leverage for Formula E. However, there is another one that would be easier and quicker to implement, at least in theory.
One approach: making Attack Mode "energy-free"
It's all about energy consumption: Drivers are currently forced to consume more energy in Attack Mode. However, this is crucial as the race draws to a close. If you have an energy advantage, you can drive faster and attack in the final laps. If you have not managed it well, you may lose out.
So why not simply make the Attack Mode energy-independent?
"One suggestion that was made to the FIA a long time ago is that the laps in Attack Mode should be deducted from the total amount for the race," says Espinos. "This is not difficult to implement, as the battery contains more energy than we are allowed to use for the race. The laps in Attack Mode would then be 'energy-free', so to speak, so it's no problem to push much harder."
Attack Charge could solve the problem - but when?
We do not know why Formula E has not yet implemented this proposal. It seems to have its reasons if it has apparently been around for some time. Perhaps it's all to do with the Attack Charge, which was supposed to be introduced a year ago already. The idea is that the Attack Mode is activated during the fast-charging pit stop - the energy would no longer be an issue due to the recharging.
The need for action has never been as great as it is now: we hear complaints from fans in every direction that Attack Mode no longer has any effect and should be abolished. I don't quite see it that way, but I think Formula E should now take another look at the proposal during its long break until the Sao Paulo E-Prix and consider it - even if it's just for two races.
Because the Attack Charge won't come until the Misano E-Prix at the earliest. It should be in everyone's interest that the races in Sao Paulo and Tokyo are once again more exciting than the first three rounds of the current season...