Existing Formula E Teams Concerned Over Costly “Arms Race” As New Major Makes Join


Existing Formula E teams have sounded a warning against any deviation away from the FIA’s technical road map for the all-electric series in the wake of new manufacturers arriving.

Formula E has a rigid path of limiting areas of technical advancement, particularly in aerodynamics, and will also race with spec battery for its second generation of cars, up to and including season seven in 2020/2021.

Season six is when two new manufacturer entries in the form of Mercedes and Porsche will arrive in the championship, joining Renault, Audi, BMW, Jaguar and others.

“The bigger costs that could come in the future is definitely a concern,” Renault technical chief Vincent Gaillardot told Motorsport.com. We have to control the costs of any ‘arms race’ through the rules which are controlled by the FIA. We do not want to open [development of] the chassis, the aero, the battery.”

“The championship is still young and we have to be careful we care for it as it is still a young child. We really have to take care and some of the new guys coming in have already stated they would like to see more freedoms.

“We have to be strong on these areas, otherwise it will hurt the rise of Formula E.”

One of the biggest fears of the existing teams and manufacturers in Formula E is the eventual opening up of the battery for manufacturers to build, develop and supply.

“A lot of people underestimate the complexity of the battery,” continued Gaillardot. “I think that Williams did a really great job with the first battery. Yes, there were a few criticisms but overall they did a great job and I am sure McLaren are also a great choice for generation two of the battery.

“We know that some manufacturers will push for open battery competition but we need to wait and know when to do that in the future, but only the longer future.”

We understand that a recent modification has been undertaken to the Formula E Commercial Working Group, which was founded in 2016.

This body comprises the promoter, manufacturers and teams, and was updated with a revised structure to bring it in line with the current Formula E Technical and Sporting Working Groups.

DS Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai believes that the continued management of the FIA’s roadmap is vital and necessary in safeguarding the current and future prosperity of the championship.

“Formula E has probably got the brightest future because these are the cars we are going to be driving in the future, so the fact we have the interest of Mercedes and others that are coming in is just an endorsement to that fact,” Tai told Motorsport.com.

“It will drive more interest for all our partners to drive innovation harder. We relish the challenge.

“It is up to the stakeholders to battle against [an excessive rise in budgets]. We have to keep an even playing field, so the principles of keeping Formula E exciting and keeping the growth going are kept to.”

Category: Formula E

10 responses to "Existing Formula E Teams Concerned Over Costly “Arms Race” As New Major Makes Join"
  1. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

    Uh, isn’t a costly technological arms race the entire point of F1 and FE racing in the first place? Make the best race car, no matter the cost? Isn’t this what advances technology?

    1. John says:

      No. They have introduced all kinds of rules and restrictions in F1 in order to cut costs. It was not long ago when some teams didn’t survive the whole season.

    2. mhpr262 says:

      The days when racing advanced normal automobile technology are long past. A modern F1 car has as much in common with a normal family sedan as a SpaceX Falcon 9 orbital booster has with a July 4th fireworks rocket.

    3. TNK says:

      Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head. Most people have lost sight of the purpose of formula racing.

  2. Jake Brake says:

    Unleash the battery arms race if you want EVs to be successful. Its not like Formula E is cheap in the first place.

  3. pjwood1 says:

    Existing teams are being over-run by extraordinarily deep pockets. Doesn’t that call for a different approach?

    I was on a footbridge once, when Senna went under it with a V10, at ~12,000RPM. That’s gone. The sport needs spectacle, whether powered by gas or electric. Right now, its slow. The tires look like what you’d find on a Buick. Maybe they can keep battery development restricted, and open up charging, or change the battery out by refining a nail-biting ~10 second swap? These cars need more help than is limited by electrification.

  4. Jim Whitehead says:

    Why doesn’t Renault want to allow any real innovation in Formula E cars? Horrors? Are they afraid loose rules might lead to a win by a newbie by better tech? Horrors…

    In years past, racing spurring innovation that trickled down to actual cars. EV needs this again. Let’s turn that faulty logic on its head: Racing lets rich SPONSORS help pay for new innovations!

  5. windbourne says:

    The real issue is for F1 once real batteries are allowed in. At that time, FE will destroy F1 in every aspect except for being loud.

  6. Ashveratu says:

    They need to keep strong regulations in place so the big companies with deep pockets do not roll in and overwhelm the smaller teams. If that happens, it will actually limit competition and eventually destroy the sport. At least that is my understanding of it.

  7. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I understand the motive behind using a standard battery pack for all racers. Allowing everybody to use whatever battery pack they want would certainly tip the scales in favor of teams which can afford more expensive, cutting-edge batteries.

    What I do not understand is why Formula E does not encourage — in fact, doesn’t even allow — swapping of battery packs during the race. I say they should allow unlimited battery swapping, just like Formula 1 allows unlimited pit stops for refueling, to unleash the full power and speed of these EV racers! As it is, the drivers have to carefully nurse the limited power in the one battery pack they now have to finish the race. That means almost never flooring the accelerator, and limiting top speed.

    Who would want to watch Formula 1 racing if the race cars were limited to, say, 10 gallons of fuel for the entire race, forcing drivers to slow down so they wouldn’t run out of gas?

    P.S. — Get rid of “Fan Boost”, too! We want to watch a real race, not a popularity contest.