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FIA Acts to End Traction Control Exploitation

FIA to regulate the use of substitute traction control systems next season…

Photo: Formula E

The FIA has acted to regulate the use of substitute traction control systems in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship next season.

It has been an open paddock secret that in Season Five the the vast majority of teams have been using a creative method that has similar attributes and advantages as traction control.

Traction control, in its technically defined form, is illegal in Formula E.

However, since March’s Hong Kong E-Prix, rumors among teams and drivers of competitors using systems have increased.

E-racing365 understands that all bar two teams were using a form of control system which managed power to the wheels on exits of corners by the time of the damp Hong Kong race.

Since that time it is believed that every team now has something available that mimics traction control via the rate of change of the MGU speed and accompanied software.

As a result, the FIA will now insist on throttle pedal maps to be included in homologated Season Six hardware.

The new regulation will measure power levels, known colloquially as ‘tunnels’ by teams, in relation to matrix tables and competitors will have a week before the start of the season to declare their throttle pedal maps to the governing body.

However, accurate policing of the new rule has been questioned by some leading technical heads in Formula E.

As first reported by e-racing365 last month, the long-term solution for the FIA is to have driveshaft torque sensors fitted for Season Seven (2020-21).

This is believed to be an accurate way of ensuring that teams are not circumnavigating the rules that forbid the use of any kind of traction control systems.

But until that time, the FIA has chosen to employ the ‘throttle pedal map’ rule for next season meaning that teams now have a several months to find solutions on how to creatively bypass it.

It is not presently known if the recent tightening up of tire marking regulations is linked to the rules for the acquisition of throttle pedal maps by the FIA.

E-racing365 uncovered tire markings on cars at the Rome E-Prix in April which some paddock insiders have questioned for possible use within a system that utilizes a type of traction control.

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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    July 22, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Question at hand is: How can you not do it when using an electrical motor.
    The idea behind this motor is to drive with minimum current dependent on the torque required. So if the torque gets less because it is slipping the speed will go up. But it knows you don’t want the speed go up with that range so you just enforce the same speed as before, and dump all the additional current in Id current, which is not constructive. In essence when a drop in load is detected you reduce the constructive. That will just waste energy but will work as a traction control system.
    I don’t know how you could design a smart controller which doesn’t work as a traction control system. Yes, it can do the power mapping. So the energy is wasted. So what?

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