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HomeUncategorizedFormula E's 100th E-Prix: Eight years of all-electric racing

Formula E's 100th E-Prix: Eight years of all-electric racing

Formula E will mark its 100th race when the checkered flag flies in Seoul on Sunday. It’s a far cry from the series’ humble beginnings: In 2011, Formula E president Alejandro Agag and FIA president Jean Todt wrote down a common idea on a napkin. Three years later, a group has launched the world’s first all-electric single-seater racing championship. As they say, the rest is history.

“Everyone we know is laughing at this adventure,” Formula E co-founder and chief tournament officer Alberto Longo told the media last week. “Now, see how far we’ve come.”

Longo’s assessment was accurate. Formula E has really come a long way since Season 1 and the first race at Beijing Olympic Park. Most notably, the series has become a hotbed of innovation, with many automakers sending teams. Mahindra has been there since the beginning and Audi, BMW, DS, Jaguar, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche, Renault and others have been involved. Several teams like Mahindra, Venturi and Andretti have also been active in Formula E since the first season.

“Race 100 is a huge validation of what people do,” Longo said. “Everyone’s saying we’re going to fail.”

All that’s gone and only one driver is ready to drive all 100 E-Prix: Season 3 Champion Lucas Dee Grassi. He also won his first race in 2014, amassing 13 victories and 38 podium finishes since. This weekend in Seoul, he is about to cross 1,000 career points. So, he knows how far the series has come.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Lucas Di Grassi of Brazil and ROKiT Venturi Racing drives his car during the of ABB FIA Formula E Championship -London E-Prix Round 14 on July 31, 2022 at the ExCel Arena on July 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Lucas Di Grassi won the London E-Prix in July.

Sebastian Frej/MB Media via Getty Images

“Since the first season, it happened A huge change,” Di Grassi said at a media roundtable. “It’s matured, it’s gone from being something new with skepticism to something that delivers on promises.” When you consider the teams that have come and gone, and those that may return, Formula E is like any other right now, he explained. Same with the racing series.

Gen2 cars debuted in Season 5 of the 2018/19 season doubling Gen1’s energy storage capacity, meaning teams no longer have to swap cars during races – or at all stand. Sure, the cars are faster, but one car per driver also means the stakes are much higher for the E-Prix on the weekend.

“When we moved from Gen1 to Gen2, you could actually see the technology kick in,” Longo said. “We went from having to use two cars to just one.”

Gen2 also introduced a more “batmobile-like” design with more power and 174 mpg top speed in hours. One of Formula E’s unique elements, Attack Mode, also comes with Gen 2, giving drivers a timed power boost. The only problem is that they have to leave the main racing line to activate it, which could mean sacrificing position for extra power.

“Technology is only getting better and cars are getting faster,” di Grassi explained: “Battery technology, powertrain technology, etc. In relative infancy, we will see huge leaps ahead.”

Like every sport around the world, Formula E has had to deal with the impact of the 2020 global pandemic. The series had only completed five games by the end of February, when everyone around the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19. The season was suspended in mid-March. Formula E will be unveiled in Berlin in August, with six E-Prix races in 9 days at Tempelhof Airport.

“Looking back, those six games in Berlin were really important for us,” Longo said. “During COVID, we managed to reduce the risk of travel and finish the season.”



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