Formula E reduces development costs to help teams
Formula E and the FIA have announced that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they will reduce the financial burden on their teams by reducing development costs. At the same time, it is still unclear at the moment how the current season will continue.
To reduce costs, the introduction of EVO Gen2 cars will be postponed by a year to the 2021/22 season the already presented unit chassis should be used from the season starting this winter.
Manufacturers involved in Formula E will only be allowed to make changes to the powertrain components once instead of twice in the next two seasons. The powertrain is one of the few elements that the manufacturers are allowed to develop themselves, which consists of the engine, inverter, gearbox and parts of the rear axle.
The decision means that the teams either have to develop a new drive for season 7 (that starts in northern hemisphere winter) and use it for two years, or they can drive for another season with the current drive and develop a new drive for season 8. In other words, performance differences may develop or become apparent over the ensuing period. For season 9 the completely new Gen3 car with more power will follow.
Formula E decision-makers are hoping that the two measures will halve the development costs for the teams in the next two years. “In these difficult times, adapting the cost structures in motorsport is a priority to ensure its sustainability,” says FIA President Jean Todt. “I encouraged the decisions regarding the FIA Formula E Championship approved by the World Motor Sport Council in this regard, which is in line with the discussions currently underway for the other FIA disciplines,” he added.
It is still open when the paused season will be continued. After several cancellations, Berlin would be the next race on 21 June. In an interview with the Gazzetta Dello Sport, Formula-E founder Alejandro Agag said that the race in Berlin “as a sign of hope” would remain on the calendar, “that everything will start again soon”. However, it is not clear whether the race can take place as planned.
Agog went on to say: “After that, we’re thinking about six or seven races that could be held on permanent tracks without spectators. Because there (an infrastructure) can be set up in a short time. We are working on solutions that are as close as possible to big cities.” Agag did not comment on the possibility of an Asian section in the calendar, which was speculated about a few days ago.
According to Agag, races will be “very unlikely” on other racetracks: In New York and London (the site of the planned season finale), the locations have been converted into emergency hospitals for the COVID-19 patients.
As a precaution, Formula E has also extended the current season. “We will certainly exceed the deadline of 26 July, when the second London race should have taken place,” says Agag. “We have set ourselves a time frame until September so that we can start the new season in the last months of 2020.”
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany