Formula E

Media report: FIA makes U-turn for Formula E races in Portland & abandons new chicane

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

Formula E will use the same track layout as last year at the Portland E-Prix. A new chicane that was planned on the start-finish straight will not be implemented after all for safety reasons, according to a report by the colleagues of The Race.

"We had initially considered the implementation of a chicane on Portland track layout based on our simulations and learnings from 2023," a statement from the FIA is quoted as saying. One of the findings was that there are not enough braking zones on the fluid Formula E circuit to recover energy.

"However following further analysis and feedback from teams, we have found that the proposed changes and alternative solutions would not be feasible or fully comply with our safety requirements and therefore will not be implemented," the statement finishes.

In 2023, the Portland E-Prix was arguably the Formula E race where energy saving was at its most extreme. According to official information from the racing series, this led to a total of 403 overtaking manoeuvres, the vast majority of which consisted of drivers deliberately dropping back in order to save even more energy in the slipstream. An additional chicane would have had a significant impact on the race, as it would have greatly reduced the energy-saving effect.

Lucas di Grassi: "I don't like it at all"

Ahead of this, ABT Cupra driver Lucas di Grassi had already expressed his displeasure at the placement of the chicane at the start of the start-finish straight in The Race. "In my view, it makes no sense for any reason that there is to be a chicane at the pit entry," said the Formula E champion from Season 3. "It will create more crashes, more complications, more traffic in qualifying. I don't like it at all."

A statement that carries particular weight: Together with Antonio Felix da Costa and Oliver Rowland, di Grassi is one of the drivers whose job it is to advise on the planning of the circuits. The new chicane is said not to have been agreed with the drivers in advance.

The idea of giving the drivers an additional opportunity to recover energy was viewed positively by Formula E champion Jake Dennis: "Ultimately, I think it means we have to save less energy. A chicane like this allows for a lot of recuperation, which will help with energy management," said the Andretti driver.

Nothing will come of this now, however. Instead, we will probably see extreme energy saving again at the Portland E-Prix. The last Formula E event in Oregon for the time being will take place for the first time this year as a double-header with one race each on 29 and 30 June.

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