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Qualifying Lottery System Scrapped

New qualifying procedure announced for Formula E next season…

Photo: Formula E

The lottery element of the current qualifying procedure in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be scrapped for the fifth season of the all-electric series.

Qualifying session groups will instead be chosen based on championship position with the best-placed drivers in the first six-minute group session. The denominations of groups has changed with four groups of a maximum of six cars heading out on to track.

Presently, the groups are determined by championship position but then drawn from a lottery to decide in which order they will take to the track.

The six fastest drivers overall will progress to Super Pole with the increase from five drivers to reflect the larger grid size of 22 cars next season.

Venturi driver Maro Engel believes that the move will create more exciting races for the fifth season.

“After Season Four being a definite improvement over the procedure in Season Three this is a positive step,” Engel told e-racing365.

“It will probably give the championship leaders a disadvantage on average over the course of the season. Yes, on some tracks the difference between the field is small but on others they can be quite significant.

“On the flipside, if you do make it through to Super Pole from the first group then you will have an advantage to get pole as the tires have cooled down more, but with new tires for next season the rubber has changed so we will have to see on this one.”

Reigning champion Lucas di Grassi called the move to do away with the lottery “an improvement.”

“This will improve racing for sure on some tracks as theoretically slower cars will be better in qualifying track conditions,” di Grassi told e-racing365.

Plans for the modified race format in Season Five were also outlined in the newly-published sporting regulations but without any significant detail.

As expected the races have been confirmed as being 45 minutes long as opposed to the previous 60-minute length for the two-car format used in the first four seasons.

There will be a mandatory use of two power levels with a regular 200 kW mode and an additional 25 kW available for what is described as the ‘attack mode’.

This will be possible to use only on a special activation zone. The number of activations and the duration the attack mode will be determined at each race by the FIA according to the characteristics of each individual circuit.

Regeneration is now limited to 250 kW. Further details and clarity on the attack mode system are expected to be discussed and then finalized by the FIA in the coming months ahead of a major pre-season test at Valencia in October.

No Joker System for Season Five

Technical jokers will no longer be permitted next season, doing away with the current system which allows teams to change key hardware such as MGU, inverters and gearboxes under a one joker per component procedure.

Teams will now have two MGUs, inverters and gearboxes available for the season in addition to a sole battery pack. Should they go over that allocation a 20-position grid drop will be applied for the next race the driver competes in.

Additional and notable points made in the new sporting regs include FanBoost changing to a minimum boost of 240 kW and maximum of 250 kW at the same 100 kJ extra energy usage only.

The fan-voted boost has to be used in ‘attack mode’ only and deployed only once during the race.

In other moves the FIA has tightened up its Full Course Yellow procedure with a directive on cars closing up more behind the leader during an FCY period.

Teams are also now allowed to transfer data from the car during parc ferme conditions.

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

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joel

    July 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    20 Grid Positions!! They are falling into the same hole that F1 was in the last few years, with drivers losing as much as 45 grid places! Jenson Button once said I think it was at the Belgian Grand Prix that he should start the race at Spa from the centre of Brussels! 10 Grid Places is harsh enough! Just my opinion!

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