The FIA Formula E Championship will see changes to its qualifying procedure, with championship positions set to determine the qualifying groups for Season Four.
E-racing365 has learned that the new format, which replaces the previous lottery system to determine groups, was provisionally agreed in principle during last week’s Sporting Working Group meeting in Geneva.
Andretti’s Roger Griffiths and Renault e.dams boss Jean-Paul Driot, who both attended the meeting, are understood to have pushed for the change.
The revised procedure is set to only take effect beginning in Race 2 in next month’s season-opener in Hong Kong, with the previous lottery system to be utilized for the first qualifying round of the season due to a new raft of new drivers entering the championship.
A “mini lottery” will then determine the order of the four groups in each qualifying session, with the draw provisionally to take place during the drivers’ briefing each weekend.
The final top five shootout will remain unchanged, with the five quickest drivers from the grouped sessions going through to the final one-lap Super Pole session to set the front-end of the grid.
It’s understood the changes have been made to put similar-level competitors together in each of the qualifying groups, in the event of weather and other variables impacting the grid.
Changes Praised by Drivers
The qualifying format changes, which are yet to be formerly ratified by the FIA, have largely been met with approval by drivers.
“I think in general, that if it is all confirmed, then it is a good idea to eliminate possible repeats of situations we have seen before that have affected grids and therefore races,” Venturi’s Maro Engel told e-racing365.
“We have seen that on average the later groups can have an advantage so to have this system I think makes it fairer.
Reigning champion Lucas di Grassi also called it “better, but with still some room for improvement.”
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver said: “It’s the right direction but personally I would like to see group with the top five start first and then so on in championship order every race.”
DS Virgin driver Alex Lynn, who has taken part in just one Formula E race weekend to date in New York last year, believes it’s a fairer process.
“It is better that each driver should have an equal amount of group runs in qualifying throughout the year,” he said. “It will keep up the entertainment aspect as well so I think it is to be applauded.”