Electrifying and all-electric motor racing in the hearts of the world’s major cities. Formula E captures the spirit of the times. With its focus on sustainability, a tight timetable of events, and a media presence focused on social media canals, Formula E appeals not only to a new, younger, urban audience, it is also attractive to automobile manufacturers and automotive suppliers who wish to expand their product portfolios by adding electrified drive technologies.
A pioneer in Formula E
The staging of the world’s first all-electric racing series – Schaeffler showed much foresight for the motorsport of the future by placing its trust in this idea from the very beginning. The company has been one of the protagonists in the Formula E scene since the first season 2014/2015 and is thus demonstrating its position as an electric mobility pioneer on the racetrack. The sporting success is immediate with Schaeffler driver Lucas di Grassi winning the debut race.
Since the 2015/2016 season, the Formula E regulations allow the teams to develop their own electric powertrain, which comprises an electric motor, transmission, parts of the chassis, and the corresponding software. For the first time in the history of the company, Schaeffler’s engineers develop their own drive system for racing in collaboration with ABT sportsline. The successful partnership with ABT culminates in the third season 2016/2017 in the joint win of the driver’s title by the Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi.
The manufacturer Audi joins the team for the 2017/18 season, but in the renamed Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team the electric powertrain is still supplied by Schaeffler. After narrowly missing victory in the team standings in the previous season, success finally came in the 2017/18 season. In a nerve-racking season finale in New York, Daniel Abt und Lucas di Grassi collected the necessary points in the last two races and secured the title in the team standings. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler started the 2018/19 season as the reigning team champion. At the end of the fifth season, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team took second place in the overall standings and were only narrowly beaten by the DS Techeetah team. Lucas di Grassi was third in the driver standings. Overall, the team had every reason to be proud: After five years in Formula E, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is the team with the most podium places (40) and the most points (1,101).
Partnership with Audi in Formula E
The championship victory in the 2016/2017 season is testament to the work done so far by Schaeffler in the ABB FIA Formula E. Following Audi’s entry as a factory team in the 2017/2018 season, Schaeffler continues to contribute its expertise to the technology partnership with the premium brand, which was originally agreed for three years up to and including the 2019/2020 season. Mid of November 2019 both partners are set to remain a formidable Formula E team in the future by extending their technology partnership. The partnership includes the joint work on the electric motor, transmission, suspension, and power electronics. This means that Schaeffler continues to supply the electric powertrain for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team.
Since the 2018/19 season, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team is racing with the new Audi e-tron FE05. The heart of this racing car is the electric powertrain comprising the motor and transmission, which has been jointly developed by Schaeffler and Audi.
This is Formula E
The ABB FIA Formula E is the world’s first electric racing series. The President of the FIA, Jean Todt, and the Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag developed the series together in order to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility and to create a better and above all cleaner world. The electric racing cars are to pave the way for the cars of tomorrow. For global automobile producers and mobility providers, the series is an important platform for transferring technology directly from the racetrack to the road in close-to-volume production designs.
Formula E is a motorsport racing series for fully electric vehicles sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation FIA. Formula E races worldwide on temporary circuits in the hearts of major cities such as Hong Kong, Berlin and New York City. The racing series celebrated its worldwide debut in 2014 at the site of the Olympia Park in Beijing and has been enjoying increasing popularity ever since.
Eleven teams and 22 drivers from all over the world compete against each other in road races through major international cities. The Formula E race cars are fully powered by glycerin fuel generators, a 100% renewable glycerin fuel. Only 1 set of hybrid tires is used per race, which are suitable for all weather conditions.
A new era has begun with the debut of the Gen2 car, which has been used since the 2018/2019 season. Thanks to a doubling of the energy storage capacity compared to the Gen1 car, the drivers can now cover the entire race distance without the need to swap cars. The Gen2 cars also accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and reach a speed of 280 km/h. The drivers have a total power of 250 kW at their disposal, which is equal to around 335 PS. In brief: Gen2 stands for increased speeds, greater performance, more action on the track, and only one car per driver.
The points system
The ABB FIA Formula E follows a standard points system, which is used in other FIA-sanctioned series. The top 10 drivers are awarded points according to the following scale.
- 1st place – 25 points
- 2nd place – 18 points
- 3rd place – 15 points
- 4th place – 12 points
- 5th place – 10 points
- 6th place – 8 points
- 7th place – 6 points
- 8th place – 4 points
- 9th place – 2 points
- 10th place – 1 point
Further points are awarded for the Julius Bär Pole Position and the fastest lap. The driver who starts the race from the pole position collects three additional points; while the driver who sets the fastest lap during the race, receives one additional point. However, the driver must finish in the top-10 places to gain the extra point. In addition, the fastest driver in each qualifying group gets one point.
What is the format for the E-Prix?
After two free practice sessions, the starting grid for the race is determined in qualifying. Qualifying is divided into a group and final shoot-out phase. The group phase determines the start positions 7-20 for the race. In the group phase, the drivers are divided in descending order into four groups according to their position in the driver standings in order to prevent traffic jams on the short and very narrow city-center circuits. The best drivers therefore start first. Each group then has six minutes in which to set the best possible qualifying time. The six fastest drivers from all the groups subsequently take part in the final shoot-out. The six drivers start one after another and drive a further lap. The starting grid for the positions 1 to 6 and the winner of the Super Pole are derived from this ranking.
The race lasts a total of 45 minutes plus further one lap and begins with a standing start: All the cars are positioned on the starting grid according to their position in qualifying and a light gives the start signal. A further new feature introduced in the 2018/19 season is the Attack Mode. Each driver can pick up an extra hit of power using this mode. To fire up this mode, drivers will need to arm their car, drive off the racing line, and through the Activation Zone. They can only pick up an additional 25 kW in this zone. Drivers that secure the extra speed, can use it for a few laps when they want to race harder, giving them the edge to keep ahead of the competition.
Schaeffler is a pioneer in Formula E
As in previous years, the battle for the championship in the fifth Formula E season was not decided until the last race in New York City. In the end, Jean-Eric Vergne from the DS Techeetah team was able to defend his title. Lucas di Grassi ended up in third place and therefore secured himself a place in the top three in every season. His teammate Daniel Abt finished the season in seventh place. In the team standings, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team was narrowly beaten by DS Techeetah. The Envision Virgin Racing team, which is also racing with the e-tron FE05 developed jointly by Audi and Schaeffler, was third overall.
In the fourth season of Formula E, the fight for the championship was also not decided until the last race in New York City. Jean-Eric Vergne from the Techeetah team ultimately clinched overall victory with 198 points. Lucas di Grassi from the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team was second. Daniel Abt finished the season in fifth place – his best overall ranking so far. In the team standings, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team took overall victory with 264 points.
Formula E has long become an established part of motorsport. At the top of the table, a duel develops that is familiar from the previous seasons: Lucas di Grassi versus defending champion Sébastien Buemi. Towards the middle of the season, the Swiss looks like the likely champion after five victories. Lucas di Grassi then starts a catch-up race and crowns it by taking championship victory at the final race in Montreal. Daniel Abt finished the season in eighth place. In the overall standings, the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport was once again second overall.
Schaeffler contributes the expertise for the electric powertrain of the new ABT Schaeffler FE01 race car. The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team continues to race at the very highest level on the racetrack. After his third victory of the season, Lucas di Grassi is placed second overall with a deficit of only two points. In front of his home crowd in Berlin, Daniel Abt drives to second place, achieving his best result so far and seventh overall. The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team is placed second overall in the team standings.
On the debut of Formula E, Schaeffler and ABT Sportsline - with the drivers Lucas di Grassi und Daniel Abt - are the only German team. The season begins with a bang. Di Grassi wins the debut race in Beijing. After five further podium places, the Brazilian is placed third overall at the end of the season. Daniel Abt is also impressive with a third place, a pole position, and a fastest lap. The Audi Sport Abt team is placed third in the team standings at the end of the season.
How fans can actively support
Formula E is the only racing series in the world where the fans can actively impact the race through the Fanboost. What is the Fanboost exactly? For each race, there is an online vote that starts six days before and ends fifteen minutes after the race. The results are then announced live during the race.
The five drivers who receive the most votes are awarded an additional burst of power during the second half of the race. The driver can then decide for himself whether to use his Fanboost for a short but powerful energy boost or a prolonged, less powerful increase in speed. The fans have a number of different voting options for supporting their favorite drivers: Votes can be cast via the central Fanboost website, the official Formula E app or via hashtag using the short message service Twitter. The current ranking can be viewed live online.
14 races in 12 cities on 4 continents
The sixth Formula E season will start earlier than usual in November with 14 races in 12 cities on four continents. There will be a double-header right at the beginning of the season. The venue for the first two races is Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. In addition to Saudi Arabia, Formula E races will be staged in Santiago de Chile, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Rome, Paris, Berlin, New York City, and for the first time Seoul. The concluding double-header races of the season will take place in London. The venues for two further races have not yet been finalized: One race will take place in China (the venue is not yet known) and there are rumors that the other race will be held in São Paulo (Brazil).
The 2019/2020 Formula E race calendar at a glance:
- November 22/23, 2019: Diriyah (Saudi Arabia)
- January 18, 2020: Santiago de Chile (Chile)
- February 15, 2020: Mexico City (Mexico)
- February 29, 2020: Marrakesh (Morocco)
- March 21, 2020: Sanya (China)
- April 4, 2020: Rome (Italy)
- April 18, 2020: Paris (France)
- May 3, 2020: Seoul (South Korea)
- June 6, 2020: Jakarta (Indonesia)
- June 21, 2020: Berlin (Germany)
- July 11, 2020: New York (USA)
- July 25/26, 2020: London (Great Britain)