In just twelve months the FIA Formula E Championship will kick off during its first city event in London, while nine hotspots like Beijing, Los Angeles and Rome will follow. During the past year, Formula E Holdings – with Alejandro Agag in charge – brought together all the best possible partners you might think of, to execute a clear vision of how future motorsports would be like. This resulted in the official unveiling of the battery-electric race car, the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt today.
Speaking about partners; Formula E’s list is impressive:
- Dallara constructed the car’s aerodynamic monocoque chassis, which is made from carbon fibre and aluminium
- McLaren Electronics Systems provides the electric motor, gearbox and electronics
- Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams group – which also includes the Formula 1 team – has designed the batteries and their battery management systems, producing 200 kW
- Renault oversees all the systems integrations, performance optimisation and powertrain electrical safety
- Michelin produces 18 inch durable tyres, made for both wet and dry conditions
18 inch Michelins
As mentioned above, Michelin stepped on board to provide the series with race rubber. What the French manufacturer revealed is that the cars will have 18 inch tyres. “This size of tyres provides fuel efficiency. You might be thinking: does fuel efficiency in a car make sense? Yes it does”, Pascal Couasnon, Director of Michelin Motorsport says. “Because it translates into additional power, thus additional time you can drive your car.”
The Michelin rubber is besides the size also different in type. Where Formula 1 drivers have to select ‘intermediate tyres’ in case of light rain, the future FIA Formula E drivers can manage most weather circumstances. Only in case of a very wet track ‘full wets’ will be provided to maximize safety.
Besides the companies that have helped building the first car, other sponsors and partners are lining up to push the series forward. TAG Heuer was among the first to become the exclusive timing partner, while DHL announced in Frankfurt to have signed a multi-year deal as logistics partner and ‘Founding Partner of Formula E’. Just one day earlier, leading tech firm Qualcomm announced to supply wireless charging for the safety car. And this technology would be possibly later introduced on the race cars as well.
A duplicate car will soon undergo a FIA crash test, followed by an extensive testing programme. More sponsors will be announced and also, it is likely that we will see more teams to go public in the coming months. Only three out of six confirmed teams went public so far. In total ten teams will line up, with each two drivers.