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Formula E: The problems with Attack Mode

Sebastien Buemi triggering the Attack Mode, Formula E London E-Prix, 2023

Formula E is facing issues with Attack Mode, the overtake system used by the electric championship doesn’t seem to work.

The Gen3 cars debuted in 2023 and in a few races drivers, teams, and fans understood that the Attack Mode wasn’t as powerful as in the past. During the first two generations of Formula E, the Attack Mode has been a fundamental instrument for overtaking and making the E-Prix more exciting, with the increase of the power by 16.7% for eight minutes. However, this era of the championship is seeing the trend change and the Attack Mode is not working.

The change between Gen2 and Gen3

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During Season 9 and the first races of Season 10, everyone saw how the Attack Mode seemed to slow down the car. The system has become an obstacle, instead of being an advantage. Teams are actively planning their race around Attack Mode usage. Seeking moments when Attack Mode hurts them the least.

To use Attack Mode drivers need to complete an outer loop usually in a hairpin. Electronic markers detect when a driver successfully completed this loop. The exit from the main trajectory often results in drivers losing some positions. The idea is that with the extra power, the drivers can recover from the loss of positions and overtake other rivals. However, during Gen3, many drivers only lose positions.

The role of the new tires

The problem of the Attack Mode depends on the tires. The official tire supplier of the championship is Hankook, which produced a hard compound for the Formula E third generation. Drivers and teams noticed in 2023 how the new tires produced less grip. This is in comparison to the type of tires used in Gen2. The Hankook tires are designed to have a longer life, but to maintain this characteristic the producer had to sacrifice the grip. The Attack Mode system depends on the adherence of the car to the asphalt, and with less grip, it comes harder to control the car. Which is why despite getting more power, Attack Mode is a net loss during a race.

Attack Mode Issue – The solution

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Formula E needs to fix this problem as soon as possible. When comparing data from Gen2 and Gen3 Formula E the number of overtakes has decreased on certain tracks. Which is a worrying sign if you’re the FIA. The championship is collaborating with Hankook to find a solution to this problem. The Official tire supplier of Formula E is developing a new soft compound tire.

The future tires have to enable the teams and drivers to use the Attack Mode to work for its intended purpose. The introduction of the next Hankook tires is expected for 2025. Formula E will hope that solves the Attack Mode problems of the first years of Gen3.


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