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Formula E: Race Weekend Format

Formula E: Race Weekend Format

Formula E’s weekend format is not that different to Formula 1’s weekend format. But most of the important stuff happens in two days instead of three days as in Formula 1. Let’s dig deep to find out, shall we?

Friday

Shakedown

Most E-Prix events have a shakedown session on Friday, the day before the main event, however, this depends on the track (which in this case are city streets) being available. Drivers utilise this session to test the car’s electronic systems and reliability, but not its overall performance because the cars run at a slower speed since the max power is limited to 110kW

The FIA can now review the circuit layout, kerbs, and features, taking into consideration feedback from teams & drivers supplied in the driver briefing.

Saturday

Practice

Each event contains two practise sessions, the first of which is 30 minutes long and the second of which is also 30 minutes long. On the second day of a double-header, this is shortened to a single 30-minute session. This will be the first time the teams and drivers will take to the track under timed conditions to gain a feel for the layout and adapt to the car set-up. Even when the timer is set, it has no impact on the final outcome. After all, this is only a practice session.

The “coolest” thing about practice is that drivers get to use the full power of a Formula E car which is 250kW.

Qualifying

Now, this is where things get complicated. Because they just introduced a new qualifying format this year and to be honest even I am a little confused. But, I’ll try my best to explain it.

The Group stage features two groups of 11 drivers, organised by their position in the Drivers’ World Championship, competing at 220kW to set lap times in a 10-minute session, with the quickest four from each group qualifying to the Duels stage. These eight will then compete in the quarter-finals, going head to head in a knockout at 250kW over the last eight into the semi-finals and finally the final.

The winner of the final duel earns the Julius Baer Pole Position, while the runner-up starts second. According to their lap times, the semi-finalists will start third and fourth, and the quarter-finalists will start fifth and eighth.

The odd slots on the grid will be filled by the drivers who finished fifth to twelfth in the polesitter’s group. The drivers from the opposite group will be assigned to the even grid spots. So, if the polesitter is from Group 1, the fifth-placed driver in Group 1 will start ninth, the fifth-placed driver in Group 2 will start tenth, and so on.

If you’re still confused by this, don’t worry! Because Formula E posted this little handy graphic on their website which helps a bit in my opinion.

Sunday

E-Prix

Ah yes! the moment we’ve been waiting for, the race itself. We call them “Grand Prix” in Formula 1 but in Formula E, they are called “E-Prix”.

E-Prix races begin with a standing start, which means the cars remain stationary until the lights turn green. The drivers line up on a fake grid, which is located a short distance behind the actual grid and slowly move into position for the race to begin. The E-Prix will last 45 minutes. After the 45-minute mark has passed and the leader has crossed the finish line, there is still one lap to go till the race is over.

Remember that there’s no formation lap in Formula E. So, there’s no chance of warming up tyres. These cars just fly into turn 1 without knowing the amount of grip or braking power they have. Mad respect!

And I discussed two unique Formula E features, Attack Mode and FanBoost in my previous article, which explains Formula E from scratch. So read that article if you have no idea about Formula E.

Double Header

To minimise interruption to the host city, the majority of events are held on a single day. However, where possible, certain events are extended to two days with double the amount of action – these are known as double-headers. Each day’s schedule is mirrored, with only one 45-minute practice session on the second day.

Tyres

Michelin, the official tyre supplier of the FIA Formula E World Championship, provides the bespoke 18-inch treaded all-weather tyres used by all teams and drivers. Each driver is only allowed to utilise four new rear and four new front tyres for each event. That means they’ll need to make two sets of tyres last from Shakedown until the finish of the race.

Points system

Formula E follows the FIA Standard points system which is used in other FIA-Sanctioned series like Formula 1.

  • 1st – 25pts
  • 2nd – 18pts
  • 3rd – 15pts
  • 4th – 12pts
  • 5th – 10pts
  • 6th – 8pts
  • 7th – 6pts
  • 8th – 4pts
  • 9th – 2pts
  • 10th – 1pt

Additional points are also offered for obtaining the Julius Baer Pole Position and completing the Fastest Lap in Qualifying and the race.

The driver who starts first, from Julius Baer Pole Position, receives three extra points, while the driver who sets the quickest lap during qualifying receives one additional point.

During the race, the driver who completes the Fastest Lap earns an extra point. To earn the Fastest Lap bonus point, the driver must finish in the top ten. If not, the driver in the top ten with the next quickest lap wins.

Note: I’m also new to Formula E (watched my first E-Prix last year July). So I did a lot of research reading articles and watching YouTube Videos.


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