Different race formats & performance levels in Formula E Gen4 era "open up new opportunities for us"
After the first details on the fourth generation of Formula E cars were revealed recently, (still) CEO Jamie Reigle, has now given a first insight into the thoughts on the race format of the Gen4 era. The Canadian wants more flexibility and is considering different rule sets depending on track design - or even within a double header. The key to this could be different performance modes.
Up to 600 kW of power output, all-wheel drive, 700 kW of recuperation and potential front-motor development by manufacturers - the technical figures of the next Formula E car planned for 2026 suggest a big step forward. Performance tires for dry conditions could also be part of the package with which the electric series plans to launch its fourth development cycle. In addition, those responsible want to structure the races differently than today.
There are several reasons for this approach. For example, there are safety concerns on some city circuits, where the creation of larger run-off zones would not be possible, should cars with almost twice as much power run there as they do today. London, Rome and Cape Town could possibly suffer the same fate as Paris: the circuit around Les Invalides was already unsuitable for Gen3 cars and fell off the calendar.
In addition, the racing series wants to give manufacturers new challenges in terms of powertrain development. And finally, the fans should also be able to see races that are more different from each other - away from the uniformity of a "double-header."
Reigle wants to create "as much flexibility as possible"
"Depending on the venue we are in, should we think about having different power outputs, to fit that particular track?" asks Jamie Reigle towards 'The Race'. "one of the things we've really tried to embed in the early discussions in Gen4 is how do we create as much flexibility as we can around the race format? I want to have the flexibility to tweak the product to improve the experience for the fans."
"I think the spirit of Formula E is we evolve and we're flexible," the Canadian continued. "There's no magic that the race has to be 45 minutes or the equivalent in laps, it might be that a certain track allows us to demonstrate very high performance over a shorter period of time or another optimises for energy efficiency, recuperation and charging and we go for distance."
"That opens up new venues," he continues. Reigle says a combination of different race formats on two days of a "doubleheader" is also conceivable, should the track allow it for safety reasons - as in Berlin, for example. "Personally, I'm good with Saturday and Sunday being the same. I'm not saying we're going to do the same."
Platform for manufacturers to be improved
There is no question that the path to the future for the electric series cannot be taken without the committed manufacturers. That's why it's important to Formula E that the requirements of the constructors are taken into account when designing the racing format.
"We don't want to optimise purely for the technology and the manufacturers," Reigle explains. "But the manufacturers are a key stakeholder. If I'm a manufacturer wanting to show high performance, and wanting to show endurance - and I don't mean endurance in a WEC sense, I just mean, for electric - then we should be able to do that. Today we can't in any meaningful sense. We're capped at 350kW."