Big aims for the new season
On winning the teams’ championship, Audi celebrated a perfect debut in Formula E. The squad headed by Team Principal Allan McNish is tackling the “title defense mission” and win of the top spot in the drivers’ classification with the newly developed Audi e-tron FE05, proven partners and the well-gelled duo of Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi.
The fully electric racing series will start into a new era with a new car, new regulations, and new teams, drivers and venues. For the first time, only one race car will be used per driver, which will lead to a complete change of thinking in terms of race strategy and all-new elements of suspense. In the past, a mandatory car change split the race into two parts.
At the end of 2017, Audi was the first German automobile manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment and on winning the teams’ classification and second place in the drivers’ championship made a dream start to the company’s electric motorsport era. “We’re not resting on the laurels of past success. Our aim for the next season is clear: We again intend to battle for the titles in all classifications,” says Allan McNish.
Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is taking on the new challenges with a proven and successful squad. In keeping with the motto of “Never change a winning team,” Audi, together with technology partner Schaeffler, developed the motor-generator unit (MGU) of the Audi e-tron FE05. ABT Sportsline is again responsible for preparing and fielding the cars. The outfit based in Kempten was successful in Formula E as a privateer team from 2014 to 2017 and then handed their entry over to Audi. The collaboration with Envision Virgin Racing is a new element in the coming season. The British racing team is entering two further Audi e-tron FE05 cars.
The new generation of the championship winning car
Season five marks the beginning of a new era in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship: Thanks to the higher range of the vehicles the drivers will be racing in just one car for the first time.
It is the most significant change Formula E has seen to date: For the first time since the series was launched in 2014, only one race car per driver will be used in the 2018/2019 season. The mandatory mid-race car swap is omitted because the battery capacity is now sufficient for the whole 45-minute race distance: proof of how motorsport – and Formula E in particular – is a driver of innovations and technologies.
With the Audi e-tron FE05 Audi meticulously prepared for the new technical and strategic challenges. This particularly applies to the centerpiece of the Audi e-tron FE05: the powertrain. It consists of the motor, inverter, transmission, parts of the rear suspension and the related software. Whereas the rest of the car is identical for all teams, the manufacturers demonstrate their technical expertise in the powertrain.
In season four of the electric racing series, which in New York City in mid-July culminated in Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s title win, the Audi e-tron FE04 was very often the most efficient car. The successor is the evolution of this success model.
Audi and technology partner Schaeffler jointly developed the motor-generator unit named Audi Schaeffler MGU03. The engineers mainly focused on making the package even more efficient than before and to further enhance energy conversion efficiency. “We have retained the basic one-speed transmission concept and at the same time subjected all the elements to further detailed development and manufactured them again from scratch,” says Tristan Summerscale, Project Leader Formula E, at Audi. 95 percent of all powertrain components are new and the engineers managed to reduce weight by ten percent.
In the middle of 2017, in other words before the beginning of the most recent season four, Summerscale and his team began developing the Audi e-tron FE05. At the end of July 2018, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) homologated the car. Now, modifications are no longer permitted. During the season, the developers are only allowed to continue to improve the software.
In Formula E season five, the motor’s maximum power output in qualifying is limited to 250 kW (340 hp). In the races, power output is restricted to 200 kW (272 hp). The so-called activation zones are a new feature: When the driver passes through this zone on the track, the output of his car increases to 225 kW (306 hp) for a short period of time. Formula E fans are able to again support their favorite drivers by casting an online vote: The “FanBoost” provides a short-term power boost up to 250 kW (340 hp).
All Formula E teams draw their electric power from an identical, 374-kilogram battery from McLaren. The lithium-ion battery is located between the driver’s seat and the powertrain, has a capacity of 52 kWh and is fully charged within 45 minutes. The brake-by-wire system is an all-new function for season five. Brake actuation and transmission of brake force to the rear axle are completely isolated from each other and electronically controlled. As a result, brake force distribution is always optimally adjusted and recuperation even more efficient.
Like in Formula One, the driver sits in a carbon fiber monocoque that has been developed according to FIA safety standards. CFRP crash structures at the front, rear and the sides ensure maximum safety. Plus – analogous to Formula One – the cars are equipped with a Halo system above the cockpit that provides additional protection to the driver’s head. The minimum weight of a Formula E race car is 900 kilograms (including the driver). From 0 to 100 km/h the electric racing car accelerates in 3.1 seconds. Its top speed is about 240 km/h.
Particularly conspicuous is the fact that the new generation of the Audi e-tron FE05 does not have a rear wing – which is unique in motorsport. Instead, the large diffuser at the race car’s rear generates downforce. “Batmobile,” “Star Wars” and “space ship” were some of the expressions fans and media used in comments about the car’s futuristic look following initial tests. “Driving between other cars on track makes me feel as if I were in a science fiction movie,” says Daniel Abt. “Compared to its predecessor, the new model features a clearly more aggressive design.”
Model Audi e-tron FE05 (2018/2019)
Vehicle type: Single seater (ABB FIA Formula E)
Monocoque: Spec spark chassis in composite fiber construction made of carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb core, tested for strict FIA crash and safety standards, front, rear and side crashers from CFRP,
front and rear roll bars, additional HALO cockpit protection
Body: Spec. spark carbon body, spec. aerodynamics
Motor Generator Unit (MGU): Audi Schaeffler MGU03
Power output practice and qualifying: Max. 250 kW (340 hp)
Power output race: Max. 200 kW (272 hp)
Attack mode: Max. 225 kW (306 hp)
FanBoost: Max. 250 kW (340 hp)
Battery: Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) from McLaren Applied Technologies, approx. 385 kg (wet) lithium-ion cells, usable battery capacity 52 kWh (regulations), charging time approx. 45 minutes
Motor controller: Bosch ECU
Type of drive: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission: High-efficiency 1-speed racing transmission
Drive shafts: Constant velocity joint shafts
Steering: Rack-and-pinion steering, removable steering wheel with quick release, display, shift and rain paddles, plus FIA marshalling indicators
Suspension: Front and rear independent suspension on lower and upper steel wishbones, pushrod system, front torsion bars, rear spring suspension, two shock absorbers front and rear, adjustable stabilizers front and rear, adjustable ride height, toe and camber, two wheel retention tethers per wheel
Brakes: Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system, light metal calipers, front and rear carbon fiber brake discs, adjustable brake force distribution
Rims: Aluminum rims, front 9 x 18 inch and rear 11 x 18, minimum weight per wheel front 6 kg, rear 7 kg
Tires: Profiled road-like tires, specially developed for Formula E, Michelin Pilot Sport, front 245/40 R18, rear 305/40 R18
Length Max: 5,200 mm
Width Max: 1,800 mm
Height Max. 1,250 mm
Wheelbase: Max. 3,100 mm
Minimum weight: 900 kg (incl. driver)
0–100 km/h approx: 2.8 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
How Formula E works
Format of a race weekend
Shakedown (Day before the race) 30 minutes, six laps per driver, 110 kW
Free practice 1 45 minutes, 250 kW
Free practice 2 30 minutes, 250 kW
Qualifying 4 groups, 6 minutes each (only one timed lap per driver with 250 kW)
Super Pole One lap each for the fastest 6 drivers, 250 kW
Race 45 minutes plus one lap
Double header events are held on two days. Each race day is treated like an individual E-Prix.
There are two free practice sessions on each race day during which the full power output of 250 kW may be used. At double header events, only one 45-minute free practice session is held on race day 2.
The 22 drivers are divided into four groups according to the current championship standings. The order of the outings for the individual groups is determined by drawing lots. Per group six minutes are available for achieving the best possible time. Following the so-called outlap from the pit lane and one or two warm-up laps with power output of 200 kW, a single “flying lap” can be driven at full power of 250 kW.
The six fastest drivers, irrespective from which group, participate in the Super Pole shootout in which every driver sets one more timed lap at full power (250 kW). The order of the starting grid is determined by the lap times set in the Super Pole shootout (positions 1-6) and the group phase (positions 7-22).
The race – or E-Prix – begins with a standing start (no formation lap). The drivers initially line up on a dummy grid a few meters behind the actual grid and then file into position for the race start. The race lasts 45 minutes plus one lap. For the 2018/2019 season, the maximum power output increases from 180 kW to 200 kW.
New in season 5 is the so-called activation zone: When the driver passes this zone on the track the output of his car is briefly boosted to 225 kW (306 hp). The number of activations and their duration is individually set for each race and announced by the FIA prior to the start of the race.
Formula E fans are able to support their favorite driver with an advantage in the race.
To do so, they can begin to vote six days before the race and up until 15 minutes into the race via Twitter, the official Formula E website (fanboost.fiaformulae.com) and the Formula E app. The five drivers with the largest number of votes will receive the so-called FanBoost. It can only be activated once after 22 minutes of racing and briefly boosts power output to 250 kW.
The top ten of each race are awarded points according to the official FIA system
analogous to Formula One and DTM:
Position 1 25 points Position 6 8 points
Position 2 18 points Position 7 6 points
Position 3 15 points Position 8 4 points
Position 4 12 points Position 9 2 points
Position 5 10 points Position 10 1 point
For pole position, three additional points are awarded. The driver setting the fastest race lap is awarded one additional point if he finishes in the top ten and has not used the FanBoost on his fastest lap.
Formula E consists of both a drivers’ and a teams’ championship. The end-of-season totals of the drivers are made up of their results in the races. The points scored by both drivers of a team are totaled throughout the season for the teams’ championship.
Michelin, the official tire supplier, provides each driver with four new front and four new rear tires per race day. The tires are profiled.