"Want to keep it intuitive" - Formula E CEO Reigle considers fast-charging pit stops only at selected races even in 2024
The fast-charging capability of the new Formula E race cars has been one of the main topics during the planning and unveiling of the Gen3 era. A few weeks ago, it was revealed that the planned fast-charging pit stops won't be introduced until next season. Now CEO Jamie Reigle is even considering that the technology might not be used in every race in Season 10 either. In a double header, the strategies could be split: one race with pit stops, the other race without.
Due to supply problems with parts for the chargers, Formula E had moved away from introducing the "attack charge" as early as the first races in 2023 shortly before the start of the season. Instead, it was to be used later in the season at selected races. However, that plan was recently scrapped.
"The manufacturers and teams wanted it, but now they don't want it," Jamie Reigle described to 'Il Messagero'. "Formula E has the advantage of being simple: you turn on the TV and see who is in the lead. We want to keep it intuitive."
Among others, Florian Modlinger had taken a clear stance before the season: "I expect from an FIA World Championship that we have constant sporting regulations over the course of the season," the Porsche team principal said. Other teams and manufacturers also took the same view.
"The regulatory basis for the introduction at the beginning of the season was there and it was decided," Reigle explained. "Therefore, the problem is not in the regulations. But I understand that from a sporting point of view, the situation has changed for the teams."
Pitstop can last as long as a lap
Reigle, on the other hand, is now asking the racing series for a little more time to develop a workable concept for integrating fast charging into the races. The Canadian continued, "It has to be interesting in different strategy combinations, also because the pit stop can take between 60 and 80 seconds. That means a full lap on some tracks."
The pit stop itself should only last 30 seconds. But since the pit lane is quite long on some tracks, and a speed limit of 50 km/h applies there, the time loss would be considerably greater in some cases, which could lead to complications.
So it could get complicated if a driver returns to the track right between the leaders after an early pit stop. He would have to be shown blue flags to let the drivers on the lead lap pass. Formula E could solve this problem by simply not having a pit stop on some tracks. However, "constant sporting regulations" would probably look different.
"In some cities we'll have it, in others no't"
"We will have fast charging next year," Reigle confirmed. "In some cities we'll have it, in others not. But it also depends on how. Maybe (we'll split the strategy) on double-header weekends," he announces. Preparations for that, however, will take some time.
"We will run simulations in the fall. Also to see whether we can keep the pit lane open all the time or not," the CEO says about the further timetable.
The start of the tenth Formula E season is set to start in late 2023 or January 2024. A first race calendar is to be published after the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in June.