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Massa: FIA Rules Adaptability Good for Formula E

Felipe Massa thinks that the FIA’s speed in addressing regulation changes is positive…

Photo: Venturi

Venturi driver Felipe Massa has praised the FIA for strongly managing the sporting and technical sides of Formula E after completing his first season in the all-electric series.

Massa highlighted the governing body’s ability to be more flexible on sporting and technical regulation amendments in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship compared to Formula 1.

The FIA has already implemented and mandated several sporting changes for the 2019-20 season in an effort to create more energy critical racing.

Additionally, e-racing365 uncovered plans last month for the FIA to implement throttle pedal maps which have to be included in homologated Season Six hardware.

For the 2020-21 season the FIA is set to introduce driveshaft torque sensors to adequately police any advantages sought by teams on controlling wheel speeds and control.

It is believed that Massa was vocal to Formula E’s promoter regarding the use of systems that mimicked traction control during the 2018-19 campaign.

Traction control in the traditional sense is outlawed in Formula E.

“I think [the rules are] something that Formula E has different than Formula 1 and it needs to keep fighting and working on this area,” Massa told e-racing365.

“If you leave many things also inside open, big teams can do a better job than small teams. That’s why I think FIA needs really to control. And the good thing in Formula E is that FIA can change things.

“With Formula 1, the FIA cannot change on the right time because the teams have a lot of power in Formula 1 and a lot less power in Formula E and I think really that’s the good thing.”

Electronic Driver Aids “Not Positive”

Massa, who raced in Formula 1 with traction control until it was banned in 2008, also says that Formula E needs to be vigilant on policing the cars in order for the ‘manual’ side of Formula E racing to thrive.

Paddock rumours during the 2018-19 season were rife that systems were being used by many teams that had similar affects to traction control.

“I think that if it starts to be a lot in the electronic side it is not positive,” said Massa.

“I believe they always need to try to get the manual side, which is also making the life of the driver to drive tricky.

“I think what I see that is more or less the plan the FIA have [for Formula E], you know.

“Because I think when you get a feeling that ‘ah its ok traction control or other brake systems’ and so many things around it, the car is [then] working more on the engineers’ side than on the driver side.

“Then the driver needs to understand what the engineer has said [about] how to drive because of the electronic side. Then it goes in the direction of Formula 1.”

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Chris Llana

    August 27, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    I disagree with Massa, who says he wants driving to be “tricky.” If Formula E drivetrain development is to be a development lab for technology advancements that can be transferred to street EVs, then “tricky” driving is not the way to go. Going the tricky route means Formula E will become irrelevant to the technology going into electric street cars, as irrelevant as Formula 1. Not a model to be copied.

    The heart of racing is driving faster than your competitor; the control of the mechanics of the car should be internalized — muscle memory.

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      August 30, 2019 at 7:31 am

      All good and fair points Chris but I think Felipe has some too, hopefully a happy compromise can be reached that has clarity and is fair across the board because for sure at some races last season teams suffered on managing traction, particularly at Hong Kong.

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