FIA Formula E Season 5_everything you need to know
Let's crunch some numbers and we haven't got much time because the race is starting now (4.05 UAE time, 12.05 GMT)
The season kicks off in Ad Diriyah (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and we're going to have twelve more races after that:
Marrakesh (Morocco) on January 12, Santiago de Chile on January 26, Mexico City on February 16, then there are going to be two races in China, one in Hong Kong on March 10 and then another one in Sanya, on March 23. We then move on the old continent, starting with Rome on April 13 and moving on with four more races in lil' ol' Europe, Paris on April 27, Monaco on May 11, Berlin on May 25 and Bern (Switzerland) on June 22. The season will come to a climax with two final races in New York, on July 13 and 14.
There's one more race compared to last season (13 versus 12) but there are three new racetracks. Apart from Riyadh we have Sanya and Bern, because last year's Swiss E-Prix took place in Zurich.
Gen 1 cars on the Rome street circuit
All Formula E races take place on street circuit laid out on the city streets which are normally open to public.
Each race is going to last 45 minutes.
Teams and Drivers
One new team will be taking part to this season Formula E Championship (11 vs 10) and it's HWA, historically associated with Mercedes in DTM, and they're going to be paving the way for Mercedes themselves because the automotive giant from Stuttgart will be taking part starting next season. These are the teams:
Audi ABT-Schaeffler (Germany), with Lucas di Grassi (Brazil, 45 races, 8 wins, 27 podiums) and Daniel ABT (Germany, 45 races, 2 wins, 8 podiums)
DS-Techteetah, which is going to be racing under the Chinese flag even though it bears the DS (French) name, with Jean-Eric Vergne, the current champion (French, 43 races, 5 wins, 15 podiums) and Andrè Lotterer (Germany, 12 races, 2 podiums)
Virgin (Great Britain), with Sam Bird (Great Britain, 45 races, 7 wins, 15 podiums) and Robin Frijns (Nederland, 22 races, 2 podiums)
Mahindra (India), with Jérôme d'Ambrosio (Belgium, 45 races, 2 wins, 7 podiums) and Pascal Wehrlein (Germany). Due some complicated small print in his Mercedes contract, Pascal Wehrlein won't be available to race until Januar 1st, which means that Felix Rosenqvist (Sweden), is going to take his place for the first race.
Nissan (Japan), with Sebastien Buemi (43 races, 12 wins, 21 podiums) and Oliver Rowland (Great Britain, 1 race)
Panasonic Jaguar (Great Britain), with Nelson Piquet Jr. (Brazil, 45 races, 2 wins, 5 podiums) and Mitch Evans (New Zealand, 24 races, 1 podium)
Venturi (Monaco), with Felipe Massa (Brazil) and Edoardo Mortara (Switzerland, 9 races, podium)
NIO (Great Britain/China), with Oliver Turvey (Great Britain, 34 races, 1 podium) and Tom Dillmann (France, 10 races)
Geox Dragon Penske (USA), with Josè Maria Lopez (Argentina, 20 races, 2 podiums) and Maximilian Günther (Germany)
BMW Andretti (Germania), with António Félix da Costa (Portugal, 41 races, 1 win, 1 podium) and Alexander Sims (Great Britain)
HWA (Germania), with Gary Paffett (Great Britain) and Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium)
Jean-Eric Vergne, the current champion
There are currently nine former Formula 1 drivers and they are Buemi, Di Grassi, Vergne, Piquet JR, d'Ambrosio, Lotterer, Vandoorne, Wehrlein and Massa. Together, they've accrued a total of 29 wins and 25 poles. Obviously, everybody expects a lot from Massa, arguably the most experienced driver out there and definitely the shiniest one when it comes to honours and silverware
Interesting fact: former Formula 1 and Formula E racing driver Jarno Trulli (Italian) is the only driver to have secured at least 1 pole position both in Formula E and in Formula 1.
There are new cars out there, called "Gen2", and the most important thing to know is that there's going to be one car per race, drivers aren't going to need to switch cars like they had to do in the previous seasons and this is simply because these new cars are better and more efficient than the old cars so the range has been improved. These cars are considerably heavier than a Formula 1 car, the battery alone weighs about 380 kg and there's actually a minimum weight limit (900 kg). The top speed is 220 kph (136 mph) and 0-60 is done in 3,5 seconds. The power output produced by each car is not actually the same during the race and qualifying. During qualifying, these cars produce 250 kw while that number goes down to "only" 225 kw during the race.
There's the fanboost, introduced since the first season, which allows you, the viewer/fan, to vote for your favourite driver, thus gifting him with an extra boost of power which lasts but a few seconds but can make all the difference. You can vote once a day, every day until midnight UTC. You can even vote on race day, right up until fifteen minutes into the race itself.
The "attack mode" has been introduced this year. This is something that drivers will have to do during each race, the rules say so.
Drivers will need to arm their car, drive off the racing line, and through the Activation Zone. It’s only here that they’ll be able to collect an extra 25 kW of power. Drivers that secure the extra speed, can use it for a few laps when they want to race harder, giving them the edge to keep ahead of the competition.