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Manufacturers Support Dual-MGU Ban for Season Seven

A complete ban on future twin-MGU setups supported by most Formula E manufacturers…

Photo: Formula E

A request from eight of the nine current Formula E manufacturers to outlaw the running of dual-motor powertrain designs in the championship has been put forward to the FIA recently.

The communication was sent to FIA Formula E technical delegate Laurent Arnaud and his team late last month after the governing body invited feedback on the matter in light of concerns raised about how Nissan e.dams is using its dual-MGU powertrain.

It is believed that the proposal was detailed within the same communication that outlined preferences for short and medium-term clarities on which e-racing365 reported on Friday.

The outline of the request, which has been suggested from Season Seven (2020-21) onwards, asks for the amendment of Article 6.1 of the technical regulations which covers the specification of MGUs allowed in the all-electric championship.

The proposals sent by the manufacturers to limit designs to one MGU only are designed by a motivation to limit the escalation of complex technical solutions that could accelerate costs and also aid commercial hierarchies developing within the series.

E-racing365 can also reveal that one of Nissan’s rival manufacturers has conducted specialist audio analysis at a race recently.

This is understood to have resulted in proof that two MGU signals transmitting different speed gradients are being emitted from the Nissan IM01 design.

This is believed to strongly suggest that the second MGU is spinning independently of the first and thus creating energy storage rather than a natural power source.

Root Cause of Twin-MGU Controversy Explained

Several similar twin-MGU system designs were mapped out by at least two other manufacturers in 2017 for potential use this season.

One leading Formula E engineer stated to e-racing365 last week that “in the latter phase of a race when you cannot regen anymore and every time you brake you burn energy, Nissan now has the capability to ‘fire-up’ their second MGU under braking.

“Some believe it is worth a second a lap or maybe more and the energy you can recoup with the second MGU you can spread across the latter stages of the race. It is especially potent then on acceleration away from slow corners.”

The saga of the dual-motor debate has its roots in a Technical Working Group meeting in 2017 when it is rumored that an inference was made that such a setup would not be allowed.

At least two of Nissan’s rivals are known to have researched a similar technical package to the Japanese manufacturer for Season Five but dropped the plans at the beginning of 2018.

As previously reported by e-racing365, Nissan is believed to have worked with both Integral Powertrain and McLaren Applied Technologies on its current powertrain.

Unanimous Support for Short-Term Changes Unlikely

Further to the proposals outlined by manufacturers to the FIA for future policing of a twin-MGU design, it has come to light that unanimous agreement across the teams is needed to affect any changes.

This would mean that Nissan would have to compromize its technical strategy for next season when it is anticipated its powertrain design will mature and provide a significant pace advantage.

E-racing365 understands that some manufacturers are considering an official protest of Nissan at a future race despite its Season Five powertrain having been homologated last August.

However, this is being viewed as a last resort by most as clarity is sought from the FIA on how the situation can be managed.

The primary focus of the manufacturers is known to be one of protecting the cost-effective ethos of the championship while at the same time managing to balance innovations such as Nissan’s interpretation of a dual-MGU design.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

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    Old Trombone

    April 10, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Er, this discovery of regenerative alternatives is exactly what Formula E was supposed to do – use competition to force development of new technology.

    Preventing “hierarchies” can be done by open-copyrighting anything developed. Or, Formula E could act like Thomas Edison did to Tesla and insist that anything invented on FE time belongs to FE, and then lease the new components to all teams and the team that invented it can have a cash bonus for each team member.

    Why does every competition designed to improve technology end up in political fights to limit that very technology? Clue: because these sports are run by politicians. Why doesn’t Agag look at something like the Schneider Trophy air-races for floatplanes in the early 20thC? Schneider was heir to a fortune generated by his family’s engineering business. He paid for a trophy prize so large that the winners could develop new planes for the next year’s race just with the prize money alone. Supermarine, who developed the Spitfire and saved humanity, came from almost nothing when they won their first Schneider Trophy, and used the money to create winner after winner. Schneider made a rule that any nation that won three times in a row won it permanently and the competition would close. Supermarine achieved that victory. Floatplane tech had exploded. Despite what car-racing folks would call boring parades in the races, freaking enormous crowds attended the races.

    That reminds me of 1970’s/1980’s IMSA races and Bathurst in the same period, when boring racing attracted crowds that were so huge they couldn’t even be policed. What’s happened since all the car race series on earth focused on “wheel to wheel racing” and limiting the interesting technology? The crowds went looking for interesting technology elsewhere…

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