Formula E

Birte Mußmann (copy) & AUDI AG (photo)

After nearly 40 successful years at the pinnacle of motorsport, Audi is now the first German carmaker to step up with a firm commitment to Formula E. The goal is to test and refine new technologies for the series. This season, Audi is putting not only defending champion Lucas di Grassi on the grid but also a new car: the Audi e-tron FE04. Audi and its technology partner Schaeffler jointly developed the combination of motor and transmission that is the car’s beating heart. The engineers’ primary focus was on designing the motor-generator unit (MGU) for even greater efficiency. This has particularly enhanced acceleration out of the corners. Production-model electric vehicles also feature this kind of MGU. But enhancements are not permitted for all components: The chassis, body and battery are still standard parts all the teams start with. Teams comprise two drivers, each of whom has two vehicles available.

FIA, the International Automobile Federation, has also made some changes to the regulations: This season, maximum power during the approximately 50 minutes each race lasts has increased from 170 to 180 kilowatts. As before, the three FanBoost* winners can use their extra 100 kilojoules of energy within a defined window, thus reaching 190 to 200 kilowatts. The race day format remains essentially the same, with practice sessions in the morning, the qualifying around noon and the actual race in the afternoon. It’s a tight schedule that allows for no mistakes on the part of the drivers or the rest of the team. Points are awarded to the top ten finishers in each race. The driver who secures pole position in the qualifying picks up three more points, and the fastest lap in the race earns one. Another first: Starting in season four, the fastest-lap point will only be awarded if the driver finishes among the top 10 places. Also, a double-header—i.e. a weekend with two race days—will now feature one practice session less compared with a one-day racing weekend. Want to experience the updated Formula E live during season four? Head to one of these cities to get in on the action:

Season 4

02. + 3.12. 2017 Hong Kong (HK)
13.01. 2018 Marrakech (MA)
03.02. 2018Santiago (CL)
03.03. 2018 Mexico City (MX)
17.03. 2018Sao Paulo (BR)
14.04. 2018Rome (IT)
28.04. 2018Paris (FR)
19.05. 2018Berlin (DE)
09.06. 2018Zurich (CH)
14. + 15.07. 2018New York (US)
28. + 29. 07.2018Montreal (CA)

Teams and drivers of the season 4:

Audi Sport ABT SchaefflerLucas Di Grassi
Daniel Abt
Dragon RacingNeel Jani
Jérôme D’Ambrosio
DS Virgin Racing Sam Bird
Alex Lynn
Mahindra RacingNick Heidfeld
Felix Rosenqvist
MS & AD Andretti Formula EAntonio Felix da Costa
Kamui Kobayashi
NIO Formula E TeamLuca Filippi
Oliver Turvey
Panasonic Jaguar RacingNelson Piquet Jr.
Mitch Evans
Renault e.damsSebastian Buemi
Nicolas Prost
TECHEETAHJean Eric Vergne
André Lotterer
Venturi Formula E TeamMaro Engel
Edoardo Mortara

* Formula E fans can support their favorite driver with a FanBoost for the race—which is an advantage over the other drivers. They can go to the website or use the official app to vote before each race. Voting opens six days before a race, and ends six minutes after the start of the race. The three drivers with the most votes get an extra power burst for that race. Under current regulations, it may not be used until after the mandatory change of cars.