Formula E is a relatively easy form of motorsport to follow but it does have its oddities. FanBoost is a unique concept to the all-electric series and the one-day format is also rare in motorsport.
This page aims to give an overview of Formula E’s quirks in a simple format.
The one-day format
Formula E has all sessions in one day. The race generally takes place at 4pm local time for each round (this is subject to change).
There are two free practice sessions before qualifying. The opening practice is 45 minutes in length with the second 30 minutes long.
If there are two races across the weekend, like in the season opener Hong Kong ePrix, then the second practice session does not happen on the second day.
This means there will only be one practice session on the second race day, followed by qualifying and the race.
Qualifying takes place across an hour-long window. The 20 drivers are divided up into four groups based on championship order.
The top five drivers in the championship will be in Group A, with drivers 6th-10th in Group B, 11th-15th in Group C and 16th-20th in Group D.
A lottery element remains where the running order of the groups is picked at random, but not the order of the drivers.
Each group has a six-minute ‘mini-session’ where each driver can complete:
– An out lap
– A 180kW (race pace) lap
– A 200kW (qualifying pace) lap
– An in lap
The top five overall from groups qualifying advance to a Super Pole Shootout session.
The drivers go out in reverse order based on times from groups qualifying, so the fifth fastest in groups qualifying sets a time first in Super Pole.
Drivers will only be able to complete an in-lap, 200kW lap and an in-lap. The fastest in Super Pole takes pole position.
Formula E uses the standard FIA points system for each race. There are no dropped scores.
In addition, the driver who secures pole position will get three bonus points.
The fastest race lap is worth one bonus point. To qualify for the fastest lap point a driver must finish inside the top 10 of the race.
This is a new regulation brought in for season three following a number of drivers in season two having issues and only being able to set the fastest lap in races.
In total there are 29 points available per race day in Formula E.
FanBoost is a unique concept to Formula E and gives the fan a chance to influence the race result. It is a controversial addition to the series but has been ever-present since the season started in 2014.
Three drivers are awarded FanBoost in each race with social media votes and website votes counting towards the voting. The three drivers with the most votes will be able to use FanBoost.
Voting opens five days before the event and closes six minutes into the race.
It means the three drivers get an extra 100kJ of energy to use in the second car only. It can only be used once and not in short bursts.
Another unique feature of Formula E is car changes. While some series have driver changes, mostly in endurance racing, the all-electric series has car changes.
This is down to the batteries used to power the cars. They are currently unable to last the full race distance.
Drivers are able to change cars at any point during the race although they must complete 90% of the race winner’s distance to be classified. Most changes happen at the mid-way point of the race, save for a safety car just before the pit window.
There is a minimum time for pit stops for safety reasons. It is to ensure drivers are safely strapped into their second car before releasing them onto the race track.
As drivers and teams have been practicing this for a number of years now, pit stops are often completed before the minimum time is up.
Car swaps should be a thing of the past in season five as a new battery will be used to power the cars.