Formula E

No slicks until 2030! FIA publishes tender for next Formula E tyre supplier

Tobias Bluhm

Tobias Bluhm

Rome-Formula-E-Italy-Tyre-Tire-Hankook

The search for the next tyre manufacturer for Formula E has begun. Last week, the FIA launched its tender for the tyre supplier of the Gen4 cars expected from 2026. The electric series will, according to the documents, continue to compete with all-weather grooved tyres in the future. It is currently still open whether the wheels will have a diameter of 18 or 20 inches.

In particular for many drivers who had hoped for more tyre performance, this news is likely to be a disappointment. As the FIA states in its recently published tender for the tyre manufacturer for the seasons 2026/27 to 2029/30, there are currently no plans to move away from grooved tyres. In the future, as with the first three generations of cars, all racers will continue to run on all-weather tyres rather than slicks.

Front powertrain development not possible until 2028/29

"The car will be a four-wheel drive electric car, with two e-powertrains," the FIA explains its Gen4 concept in the document. "The rear e-powertrain is part of the car manufacturer's perimeter, while the front powertrain will be provided exclusively by an FIA selected supplier." This information is new: until recently, it was assumed that powertrain manufacturers would be allowed to build their own front powertrain kits (FPK) from as early as 2026. This is now expected from the 2028/29 season at the earliest.

Currently, Hankook supplies Formula E with tyres, between 2014 and 2022 Michelin was responsible for the rubber. "The tread design and material properties of the tread compound should be developed for low rolling resistance and effective braking for optimum regen under all weather conditions." The all-weather tyre is thus expected to be able to be used (as it has been the case since Formula E's first season) in both dry and slightly wet conditions.

Maximum of 3 sets of tyres per race weekend

In addition, a "Typhoon" tyre for heavy rain is to be developed. Whether this compound will ever be used, however, is questionable. After all, in extreme weather conditions, FIA officials are obliged to interrupt the race for safety reasons. This is another reason why only one set of Typhoon tyres is to be provided per car per race weekend.

With the "baseline" standard tyres, two (single-header) or three (double-header) sets of tyres are planned for the entire race weekend. As is already the case, Formula E is focussing on durability and low wear - also in order to save material. Thermally, the tyre should be able to "deliver a series of consistent fast lap times - not an outstandingly fast singular lap. This pattern must be repeatable. In other words, there should be no 'golden lap effect'."

At present, it is still open how big the rims of the Gen4 cars will be. Formally, they are part of the chassis tender, which is running in parallel with the search for the tyre manufacturer (we reported). The rims are to be either 18 or 20 inches.

Abrasion studies for better climate and environmental protection

Since tyres are also a relevant component in Formula E's sustainability strategy, the supplier must also prepare studies on the environmental and climate impact of its tyres. Among other things, the material chains must be made transparent, synthetic materials and waste reduced and emissions from tyre wear monitored. Preheating tyres, for example with tyre blankets, also remains prohibited.

Interested tyre manufacturers now have two months to apply to the FIA: The submission deadline for the tender is set for 31 October. The FIA wants to choose the best tyre concept as early as 6 December. Manufacturer registrations will then begin in the first quarter of 2024, the first tests with a test vehicle will start in January 2025 and the chassis and tyres will be delivered to the manufacturers in September 2026. With the start of season 13, currently planned for November 2026, the new tyres will then get their first race use.

Road to Gen4: The Formula E development timetable

Project Deadline
Publication of tender 31/05/2023 (chassis, battery) // 18/07/2023 (FPK) // 31/08/2023 (tyres)
Tender submission date 31/08/2023 (chassis, battery) // 15/09/2023 (FPK) // 31/10/2023 (tyres)
FIA final selection 19/10/2023 (chassis, battery, FPK) // 06/10/2023 (tyres)
Manufacturer registration Q1 2024
Purchase order (for test car) TBC
Tenderer crash tests October 2024
Purchase order (for race car) TBC
Test mule car January 2025
Manufacturer cars delivery 1 July 2025
Race cars delivery 1 September 2026
Manufacturer homologation September 2026
Collective pre-season test (October) 2026 [details TBC]
First race season 13 (November) 2026 [details TBC]

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