What is Attack Mode?
After the abolition of the mandatory car change in the early years, the Formula E introduced a new tactical element with the start of the 2018/19 season, the so-called Attack Mode. It gives the driver additional power, which helps either with overtaking or defending.
In addition to the regular race mode (300 kW), each driver must use the Attack Mode twice during an E-Prix. The activation increases the power of the electric motor for a certain amount of time by 50 kW to the maximum power of 350 kW (Season 5: 225 kW, Seasons 6/7: 235 kW, Season 8: 250 kW).
To activate the Attack Mode, a driver must first press a button on the steering wheel to arm the system. Then they drive through the so-called Attack Zone, which is located off the actual racing line. In this marked area, three activation coils are placed on the asphalt. If the driver hits all three of them in succession with their car, the Attack Mode is triggered immediately.
How often can Attack Mode be activated?
Since the start of the Gen3 era in the 2022/23 season, the Attack Mode must be activated twice per race, with a total duration of only four minutes. Each driver can decide how to distribute this time between their two Attack Modes: 1+3 minutes, 2+2 minutes, or 3+1 minutes. This creates new strategic opportunities in the race to assert oneself against a competitor. Starting with the 2023 Jakarta E-Prix, the attack mode times were then doubled so that the options available are now 2+6 minutes, 4+4 minutes or 6+2 minutes.
Later in the Gen3 car cyle, the Attack Mode will be linked to the new fast-charging pit stops. So far, the Formula E has only released few details about the so-called Attack-Charge: the mandatory pit stop, during which 4 kWh of energy should be recharged in 30 seconds, will unlock two Attack Modes per driver. These can be used later in the race to increase the power of the vehicles from 300 to 350 kW for a certain period of time.
In the Gen2 era, the use of the Attack Mode varied with each race. The exact number of activations and the duration of an Attack Mode phase were announced by Formula E only 60 minutes before the start of the race, depending on the track characteristics. This gave the teams little time to prepare strategies in advance. The aim was to create more unpredictability for the spectators. Typically though, the Attack Mode had to be activated twice for four minutes each, but there were also races with only one or even three activations.
When can the Attack Mode be used?
When to activate the Attack Mode in Formula E is largely up to the drivers. However, during a Safety Car or Full Course Yellow period, as well as in the first two laps of a race, the Attack Mode cannot be activated. The full time with 350 kW must be used. Drivers must therefore activate their last Attack Mode in such a way that the time has fully expired before the end of the race.