Formula E performance only secondary for Longo, even with Gen4: "Competition is our top priority"
While the official FIA tender for the tyre manufacturer of Formula E's Gen4 era has just been launched, the deadline to apply for chassis and battery suppliers has already passed. The framework of the tender promises a big step forward in the area of power and thus also the overall performance of the cars. However, the main focus of those responsible is on close competition.
The technical specifications for the Gen4 cars are impressive: 600 kW maximum power, all-wheel drive, 700 kW recuperation and fast charging as well as two different aerodynamic configurations - one with more downforce, one with less. The latter innovation in particular could enable different racing formats with the Gen4 cars. It also already suggests: The decision-makers are not exclusively concerned with performance.
"I think it's a balance, a balance between the cost, the technology and the development," says Alberto Longo, co-founder and Chief Championship Officer of Formula E to Motorsport.com.
"As a motorsport fan, I want to see competition - that's the number one priority for us, even ahead of speed. If we made sure that there is competition between teams and drivers, that we have three, four, five drivers who can win the championship at the end of the season, then I would definitely be interested in a more powerful car as well."
"The technology allows us to grow quickly," the Spaniard continues. "From Gen1 to Gen2 it was a huge difference, from Gen2 to Gen3 as well, and the development we will introduce in the middle of the Gen3 cycle will also be a big increase. With Gen4, that will continue."
Longo: "Important to show that technology is evolving"
This is Longo's way of addressing current plans for a technically revised version of the Gen3 car, which is called either Gen3EVO or Gen3.5. The front motor is to be used - at least in qualifying and Attack Mode - for acceleration in addition to recuperation. A modified bodykit and a new specification from tyre manufacturer Hankook are also planned.
"It is definitely important to show that the technology is evolving and that you can go faster and longer with a technology that originally had many obstacles," Longo further describes.
This difference compared to the first car generation is unmistakable: Before the introduction of the Gen2 vehicles, drivers still had to change cars at the halfway point of the race. Since 2018, this is no longer necessary with almost identical race distances, even though the power of the cars in race mode has been doubled from 150 kW to 300 kW since 2014.
Di Grassi: "Formula E must have the fastest accelerating race cars"
From the driver's point of view, things naturally look a little different. In particular, for Mahindra driver Lucas di Grassi, who is known for his optimistic visions of the future in terms of technological progress, the main focus is on performance. "We have reached a point in electric car technology where we can have a lot of performance," the Brazilian tells Motorsport.com. "I think performance is important, and Formula E has to have the fastest accelerating race cars on the planet."
From the public's point of view, such a leap in technology should also earn Formula E respect, di Grassi believes. "A normal person can't drive a car with 1,000 horsepower. It's almost like a fighter jet," the 2016/17 season champion describes. "Those are such high forces and it's so fast that you need many hours of training for it. It's not that a normal person couldn't drive the Formula E car. It could, but not at the level we drive - not even close."
If and when the power of the Formula E cars will increase to the mentioned 1,000 hp (735 kW) remains to be seen. According to the information known so far about the fourth car generation, which will be in use from the end of 2026, this point is unlikely to be reached before 2030 or even 2032.