Formula E Preseason Testing took place in Valencia with drivers completing a combined 5128 laps as they study the new Gen3 car.
With preseason testing complete, Season 9 is one step closer. Here are five of the most interesting takeaways from the previous week.
1. The speed of the new cars
On the last day of testing, the top five drivers went half a second faster than Gen2 cars on the same track. The fastest lap was set by Maximilian Gunther, the new Maserati driver, at 1:25.127. The elevated speed of Gen3 cars, which can reach 200mph, is caused by a lighter chassis and the addition of a new powertrain. René Rast, commented on the power of these cars:
“Nobody has explored the limits yet and there’s a lot of lap time to come during the season. After a year or two, we will be a lot quicker. The Gen3 obviously has lots more power, it’s lighter and more nimble through the corners. The car itself was very quick, especially on a 350kW full-power lap.”
Hello, Gen3 😍
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) December 13, 2022
2. The improvement of the show
Gen3 will improve the show on track. António Félix da Costa noted the changes will make the season more fun for the spectators:
“They have a lot more power than before and at the moment, in certain conditions, it’s quite hard to use it which is a good thing for the people watching. There will be more mistakes from the drivers and it will be harder to dominate in this car right now – I think it will produce very good racing.”
The new rules and the technological innovation of cars will probably make Season 9 one of the most memorable years in Formula E history. Expect more overtaking and more side-by-side racing.
3. Hankook face a big challenge
After eight seasons, Formula E is changing its tire manufacturer from Michelin to Hankook. The new supplier will have to prove its superiority, making compounds for Season 9 perfect both in dry and wet conditions. Hankook has an advantage: 30% of its tires are environmentally-friendly and made of natural rubber. A key factor in Formula E’s mission and message. During the tests, it became clear that the new compound is more durable than the previous Michelin tire. But only during a full race weekend, will the teams and drivers get a chance to understand if Hankook tires are better than the old ones.
4. Gen3 cars will improve quickly
At the end of the tests, Rowland stated:
“You’ve got two pedals and a steering wheel but a lot of change. On the technical side, there’s the front powertrain that can regenerate energy with no brakes on the rear anymore but way more capacity to regen. The cars are much lighter too and there’s a lot for us as drivers to adapt to. It’s pretty much all-new. So, right now, we’re not 100% sure how to extract the finer details of it and it’s going to be exciting to see how all the other teams and drivers catch up with each other throughout the season.”
From the end of the tests to the Mexico E-Prix, the season opener, the teams will be working feverously to adapt the cars based on their learnings before the start of the championship. Everyone is sure that these cars will change drastically, not only during this season but over the new few years.
5. Plenty to Discover
Five days of testing aren’t enough for the drivers and teams to discover all the secrets of these new cars. Some aspects will only be discovered during the season, notes Mortara:
“We can expect a bigger difference but that will come with us exploiting the car better – you will see bigger differences on targets in the race and on target laps because the car is effectively a lot more efficient. There’s a lot to discover. We were at the maximum with the Gen2 car last year with software that was exploiting the entire performance available after years of working with those cars and powertrains. We’ve got a lot to learn and there’s a lot more to come.”
The rate of adaptation may end up playing a key role in which teams can challenge at the front from the start. But the running order may shift throughout Season 9 as teams learn and develop. After the Formula E preseason testing, the attention turns to the official Gen3 debut in January. The 2023 calendar kicks off in Mexico in what could prove to be a magical and thrilling Season 9.