Formula E working group discusses Gen4 car & possible all-wheel drive for Gen3EVO
Formula E has only contested six races in its Gen3 era, but behind the scenes the first discussions are already taking place about the Gen4 vehicles with which the e-racing series will start from season 13 (probably from the end of 2026). The Gen4 working group met for the first time as part of the Cape Town E-Prix. A topic was thereby according to 'The Race' also a possible update of the Gen3 bolides.
In South Africa, the automobile world federation FIA and the promoter Formula E Holdings showed the teams and manufacturers a first presentation, in which possible details of the future Formula E vehicle were presented. A first concept meeting is said to have already taken place in Monaco last April, but there had been no significant results here.
The meeting in Cape Town is said to have been about more than just sporting and technical concepts for the fourth generation of the vehicle. The introduction of a facelift of the Gen3 car for 2025 was also discussed. Although it has not yet been definitively confirmed, the update is said to be not only a visual one, but also a technical one: In addition to a new tire specification from unit manufacturer Hankook, the possibility of an all-wheel drive system is also under discussion to better exploit the potential of the Gen3 cars.
Dan Ticktum would make "some sacrifices" on tires
"I think we should make a few concessions and perhaps choose a slightly softer tire compound to achieve better lap times," also thinks Nio 333 driver Dan Ticktum, who would, however, like to go back in the Gen2 direction when it comes to the bodywork: "With the tires, it's mainly about a little more grip. Maybe we should also adjust the bodywork at the front to cover the wheels again so we can lean a little. That's something I'd like to see."
On the subject of all-wheel drive, the Brit is less confident: "We'd have to change quite a lot of the front electric motor to make that work. It would mean extra weight. Personally, I like rear-wheel drive, but it would be cool to be able to use all-wheel drive at certain moments, for example at the start."
"It would be great to get a slick tire or a supersoft compound that might last the whole race," Andretti driver Jake Dennis also wants changes in tires. However, he also sees risks: "Obviously we don't want to have the same problems we had in New York last year (when the cars floated up on the worn tires), so it's a fine line for Hankook to walk."
Jake Dennis: "All-wheel drive in attack mode would be great"
"All-wheel drive would be great," enthuses the Brit. "It doesn't even have to be for the whole race. It's super difficult this year to use attack mode (profitably). There's so much power that we're not even putting on the ground. By the time we give full power, we're already in the middle of the straight, and then you're too far behind. It would be great to see all-wheel drive in attack mode. Then you could see proper overtaking maneuvers and completely different characteristics of the cars."
"I think it would be a great achievement for the championship if we could implement all-wheel drive," described Maserati team principal James Rossiter. "If you unlock the technology that's already there, I think it would be a fantastic opportunity to create something magical. I think it would be very exciting to go in that direction, especially for acceleration out of slow corners. You would create the fastest accelerating single-seater in the world."
"Ultimately, we're not concerned with having the fastest cars available," McLaren team boss Ian James, on the other hand, contradicts his colleague. "We also don't want to have the happiest drivers or the happiest team bosses, we want to have the happiest fans - and extend the reach that way."
Whether the update will come at all, however, is questionable: none of the teams so far is expected to reach the current cost cap of 13 million euros through sponsorship. Instead, teams are currently subsidized by manufacturers or - in the case of private teams - title sponsors. In many cases, the budgets are already set for the entire Gen3 era. Additional leeway for an extensive Gen3 update would thus not be available.