FIA approves 2015/16 #FormulaE manufacturers

The FIA has announced today the eight manufacturers that will provide Formula E teams with their 2015/16 powertrains.

In a change from the inaugural season, season 2 of the all-electric championship allows manufacturers to develop and innovate their own bespoke powertrains, rather than use the standardised units of 2014/15.

The components of the powertrain include:

  • Electric motor
  • Inverter
  • Gearbox
  • Cooling system

Scope has been limited to the powertrain for season 2 in order to control costs and drive innovative approaches and investment in this most important area; after all, one of the key foundations of Formula E is to serve as a framework for R&D around electric vehicles. For now, the likes of costly aerodynamic developments will have to wait as all other parts on the car will remain the same.

Eight of the ten Formula E teams have elected to develop their own powertrain. Dragon Racing however, will run the powertrain developed by Venturi, whilst Team Aguri are to keep with the standardised unit from season 1.

manufacturers

http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/august/fia-homologates-manufacturers-for-second-formula-e-season.aspx

#FormulaE’s use of Onscreen Graphics – What the Fans said…

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Back in April we at Formula eDiary asked you fans, for your opinion on Formula E’s use of Onscreen Graphics and Information.

Let’s take a look at the results and ask you to ponder… now that the season is over, have your thoughts changed in any way?


On Screen Graphics – What Did The Fans Say?

Following a number of comments seen on social media, Formula eDiary conducted some research into what Formula E fans thought of the graphics used during Formula E races.

The feedback was collected through several channels:

  • An article on the Formulaediary.com website.
  • The Reddit Formula E thread.
  • Emails and Twitter Interaction through @Formulaediary
  • Autosport Forum.

Fans were asked to give feedback on three different types of on screen graphics:

  • On-board Graphics
  • Race Graphics
  • Pit stop Graphics

On-board Graphics

Over 223 fans gave voted on our poll. Interestingly, 186 people believed that the graphics were too cluttered, with almost 50% of that group also saying that the graphics were confusing. Interestingly, only 26 people believed the on-board graphics to be clear and informative.

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Some comments we received included:


‘I can’t say I really know what all the graphics show. I got that the remaining battery level in the middle and the current power output on the right, but the rest? Going by the picture in the post there seems to be:

* Another battery level measure at the bottom (Why? Duplicate information just adds clutter. Have the centre show current speed and enlarge the battery level box at the bottom to make it more prominent)

* Engine mapping (which seems utterly useless as we don’t know what it actually means)

* Current gear (could be useful, but only if you get to compare it to other cars)

* Target delta (delta to what?)

* Speed (makes sense. But like I said above, have the exact number in the centre as well. It’s not duplicate information as is the case for battery level as it’s hard to read the exact number from the gauge)’


‘There is a lot of information contained in a small screen area in the graphics. Too much. It ends up becoming a distraction. Besides, remember that lots of people are watching on electronic devices and are completely unable to decipher any of the information at that scale.’


‘On board graphic has some redundant information, Power output and power bar, for example. Also Battery percentage in the center, and down next to battery bar… Throttle bar is great, but we need to see more clearly the speed bar’


‘The telemetry display is just cluttered and too busy… but does show good info.’


‘I never get why you need to know what gear they are on. What value does this ad for someone watching on TV? Also the throttle/brake value. Its just too much info for a quick glance. If it would be there all the time to see, ok. But it just appear for a few seconds and then disappears.’

There was however some positivity regarding the graphics, as one fan said:

‘I actually like that info, it’s interesting to see where they’re braking into the corners and what gear they go round.’

The general consensus was that whilst some of the information is useful, there is too much of it and not all of it is necessary. As a result, it becomes difficult to notice and interpret the important information, especially as the graphics are only used for a few seconds at a time. Several fans also mentioned that it was difficult to read the graphics when watching the race on small screens…


‘I do think the onboard graphics are a bit cluttered and confusing, but the biggest problem of all is how tiny all the writing is in the first place. I watch most stuff on a 24″ monitor from about 2-3m away, and I can barely ever read anything. White on light blue is a bad choice for readability anyway, but the font is way too small. I get on fine with the F1 onscreen graphics, you’d think they could just replicate those.’


‘I watch the races through the FIA website on my laptop and it’s impossible to read anything. It’s too bloated and you can’t tell what the information represents’.

One fan compared the onboard graphics to that used in Formula 1 in 2011 to highlight how overly complex the Formula E one was:

I for one much prefer the F1 graphic style in 2011. We can modify the KERS bar to have exact battery % left, modify DRS to be “REGEN” or something, get rid of rev counter, maybe even add a g-force meter. 

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Race Graphics

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149 people voted in the poll, with many giving feedback in either the comments section, through Twitter or on Reddit.

Feedback on the amount of information presented was very well received. Many fans did however point out that whilst the information was good, the font and colour used made it very difficult to read the information…


‘I like the amount of information on the screen but would favor a clearer, more utilitarian way of displaying it rather than the current stylized look.’


‘I watch in standard definition (don’t have ITV4 HD in my UK package). Some of the on screen graphics are very difficult to read, as they are designed with HD in mind.’


‘I love the displays, but hate the colors. They’re very difficult to read, regardless of what I’m watching on.’

One fan went into a bit more detail with his opinions, providing images comparing the Formula E graphics to that of Formula 1…


* White text on a cyan background is almost impossible to read

* Small italic font compounds this issue

* The bottom ‘running order/gap’ information takes up a lot of space. 

* When all information overlays are on at the same time, there is about 50% of the screen left to the actual racing. 

I don’t like constantly comparing to F1 but this season, I feel like FOM have perfected the on screen graphics. Everything is clear, easy to read and blends away when you’re not looking at them. Compare Formula 1 to Formula E, these images are almost the same size. I can’t make any information out on the FE screen shot, F1 though, not a problem.

Formula 1 Screenshot:

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Formula E Screenshot:

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Overall, it’s clear that whilst the information contained in the graphics is very good, the information itself is very difficult to read, mainly due to the colour combination. The comparison to the Formula 1 screenshot is a great example of how cyan font makes it difficult to take in the data. On smaller devices, such as iPads, phones and laptops, this becomes much worse.

Pit Stops

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Fans generally felt that it was difficult to keep track of driver positions during pit stops although little feedback was given as to how this could be improved. There were some positive comments and suggestions put forward:


‘Pit Stops were recently improved by adding of the stop timer. I think it’s fine now.’


‘Given how important this the pit stops are to the race result, I’m surprised they don’t use a GPS graphic to show the positions of drivers as they come in/out of the pitlane. It’s difficult to tell who has won/lost positions in the pit stops because you can’t tell where people are in relation to each other’


‘The commentators seem to struggle too which makes things worse. A GPS track like the one used in F1 would really help understand who is where. Sometimes drivers are fighting each other on track but once they pit, you have to wait 2-3 minutes until you know what’s happened. There’s a five minute period in every race where you’re just waiting to see what happened’.

Summary

We were able to receive a significant amount of valuable data from fans, especially with regards to their opinions of the on-board graphics and race graphics used.

Fans generally felt that the race graphics were useful and that the right amount of information was presented. Many however felt that the colour scheme was poor and made it very difficult to read the information. The comparison between the Formula 1 and Formula E images shows this well, and highlights how difficult it must be for those watching on smaller screens to read the information.

Feedback regarding the on-board graphics was slightly less positive. Whilst many appreciated the amount of information that was presented, the majority felt the graphics were too cluttered and in some cases unnecessary. Many suggested that the amount of information should be reduced.


Do you agree with these findings?

Has your opinion of Formula E’s use of on-screen graphics changed as the season has gone on in any way? Are you happy with them, or do you feel they could still use some changes?

As ever, let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, or via our twitter @FormulaEDiary.

#FormulaE #DriveTheFuture

#FormulaE End of Season Review

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It’s fitting that the championship was decided at the last few corners in the final ePrix of the season; months after the slow burner in Beijing produced just as much drama on the final corner. Formula E may have had its sceptics (and still does) but we’re fortunate that the season was as brilliant as we had all hoped.

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Formula E has had an electric start, and that’s great news for everyone.

I still remember that first test at Donington last summer. I arrived at the track and was walking towards the entrance via a road, which had a 15-foot wall next to it. On the opposite side was the double right hander in the second sector of the track – I could hear the cars perfectly but had no way of seeing them.

Initially I was a bit taken back by the sound but once I saw the cars in the flesh, attacking the hairpin at the end of the lap, my worries immediately went. These were race cars, and I could see the potential there and then. The cars also looked fast, and I think that’s important for any racing series – the horsepower-to-weight ratio of the cars might not seem impressive on paper but once I saw the cars tackling Donington, I believed in the series.

Beijing

Beijing was frustrating. I remember talking up the series to a lot of my close friends and family but let’s face it, that race wasn’t great. Ironically it was the horrific accident between Prost and Heidfeld that got people talking and not the racing itself. I was disappointed, as many of you were, but I was also realistic – the teams and drivers were still learning and without a safety car, the teams were right on the limit in terms of battery power. I hoped Beijing would be a one off, and boy was I glad to be right.

Multiple Winners, Safety Cars and Drama

The season came alive in Malaysia and it just kept on giving after that. The on-track action was brilliant and picking a winner ahead of each race weekend was almost impossible. Malaysia, Argentina and Uruguay were all brilliant races and once the Formula E circus arrived at Long Beach, I knew we were onto a winner. People loved Formula E – it was evident from the screams, cheers and gasps of the crowd and the reaction I was seeing on twitter. For every negative comment about the noise or fanboost, there were hundreds of positive comments about the quality of the racing, and that made it a winner in my book.

We were also treated to an excellent finale in London, where Nelson Piquet was crowned champion after a nail biting finish. Piquet opening his visor to wipes away tears will no doubt remain one of my favourite ever motorsport moments. It’s in those moments you forget about the noise, the technology and the ever-controversial fanboost; I was reminded that Formula E is a sport, and a great one at that.

The Future

The last time I was truly on the edge of my seat during a motor race was the 2008 Brazilian GP. I remember screaming and shouting at the TV in those final laps, trying to make sense of what was going on as I, a Ferrari fan, desperately tried to work out whether Massa had done enough to leapfrog Hamilton.

I don’t like making comparisons between Formula 1 and Formula E because they are so different, however during the closing laps of the London ePrix I was reminded of why I love motorsport and competition. I was once again screaming and shouting at the TV, but  this time as a neutral who appreciated the spectacle for what it was. I’m a believer in Formula E and the roadmap it’s set out, but even if you’re not, just give the racing a shot, because it’s genuinely brilliant.

The future is bright for Formula E and I can’t wait for testing to start again. It’s been one hell of year – let’s hope 2015/16 is just as good.

Written by: Anil Parmar

#F1’s Pedro de la Rosa, experiences Formula E

Ant Felix da Costa - Amlin Aguri

Former Jaguar and McLaren Formula 1 driver and Ferrari F1 test driver Pedro de la Rosa got the chance to get behind the wheels of Formula E’s Spark-Renault SRT_01E car at Donington Park yesterday, courtesy of Team Amlin. He lined up alongside Salvador Duran to take part in a private test session, and later gave his thoughts on the all-electric single seater:

How did you find the Team Aguri Formula E car today?
“It was interesting, very interesting this morning before the rain came. You don’t feel the engine or the vibrations. I found it difficult to feel the tyres because the wheel spin and the rear end is hard to feel. But, it is still a single-seater and it seems the same but feels different. The feeling of speed is still there because there is less mechanical grip. You still have to drive on the limit, it is not easy. It didn’t take me long to adapt. It is always easier when you have the same engine power but when it changes and you start altering the maps, the steps are dramatic. I really enjoyed it and I understand now why drivers say it is a very challenging package to master.”

How did the test with Team Aguri come about?
“It started at Battersea Park actually. I saw in the paddock and in the pits many familiar faces from my time in F1 with Arrows, Jaguar and McLaren. I know Mark Preston (Aguri Team Principal) from McLaren days and Keith Smout (Aguri Commercial Director) from our time at Jaguar. It was one of the good things from when I went to the Battersea race that I saw a lot of F1 people and friends. This is when I realised that the FIA Formula E Championship was at an even higher level to what I had seen on TV.”

Have you been following the FIA Formula E Championship in its maiden season?
“Yes, I have both on TV and at the track. I was at Battersea Park a few weeks ago. I think the level and interest is building race by race. It is competitive and different and I saw this up close at Battersea. I could see the level was high and I wanted to see it and feel it for myself.”

What are plans for more testing or even racing in season two?
“At the moment this is just an exploration for both sides really. It is too early to say if I will race or not. I am here and I wanted to have a go and Team Aguri was good enough to let me try it. The team looks very attractive on the outside and they have a good engineering team and good plans for the future. As I said it is early days for me, but if I do it then it will be at 100 per cent. I need to learn a lot more but that is why I did the test – to learn everything I could. We’ll see what happens after this test.”

How do you appraise what Formula E has achieved so far?
“It is incredible really what Alejandro and his team have achieved this season, their first season. The need to have a championship like this is obvious because it is all about the future. Racing needs to be a lot wider than just F1. It is very, very interesting. Electric cars will be the future, whether people like it or not. If it is lithium battery or hydrogen-cell or whatever, electric cars will take over. How quickly it will happen we do not know but for sure it will happen. Also it means the races come to the cities. This I like very much because I have great memories of racing at Monaco, Montreal and Melbourne where the races are a big event. This is the shared vision of Alejandro and his team and I think it needs to be applauded because it takes racing to the fans rather than taking fans to the racing, and it gets new enthusiasts engaged.”

http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/july/qa-with-pedro-de-la-rosa.aspx

#FormulaE Thoughts on the rumoured 2015-16 Calendar

The inaugural Formula E season finished just under two weeks ago today and already we have leaked details about next season’s calendar. The story broke on motorsport.com and shows some interesting changes.

Monaco will take a year away from the Formula E calendar due to the Historic and Formula 1 Grand Prix’s meaning the principality is unable to hold a third race event; however it is expected to return for the following season. Miami seem to have been scrapped, with a TBC location pencilled in for March where the United States race used to be. Miami’s omission shows Formula E’s commitment to producing great racing. In Miami one of the free practice sessions had to be scrapped completely as construction work was still going on at the track on race day itself – part of the track was still open to local traffic the night before, which delayed installation of concrete barriers at turn one. The race itself saw a limited amount of overtaking during the first phase of the race. It is plausible that Miami could yet return to the Formula E calendar, as the calendar is designed around minimising the amount of freight shipping worldwide, the TBC race does fall between Long Beach and Mexico, so it is logical that Central/North American race is on that cards. A race in the capital of Mexico will be held in February after Buenos Aires – which helps fill what was a five-week gap in the calendar, and Paris on April 24th replaces Monaco and starts of European leg of the season.

London will again host a double-header finale to cap off the season, and has been scheduled for June 25/26th, to avoid Le Mans 24h a week before. Curiously enough, this is also the proposed date for the F1 British Grand Prix. Unless a section of the F1 calendar is shifted forward one week (making Silverstone/Austria and Baku a triple header), only a move to July 9/10th for the London round would avoid coming together with F1 and the WEC. Formula E and Formula One could potentially clash earlier on in the season with Paris and Bahrain both due to be held on April 24th – highlighting the difficulties the FIA has with organising a calendar that prevents series like F1, WEC, DTM and Formula E from clashing with one another. Should the London ePrix take place on the same weekend as the British Grand Prix it could prove devastating for ticket sales; then again, Formula E could provide an excellent alternative to attend a motorsport event for the fraction of the price.

The emphasis of cost saving is at the forefront of Formula E thinking – Alejandro Agag could have easily blown up the size of the calendar to 20 races (Agag himself stated that over 180 cities had requested to have a race) but from day one a long-term strategy has been thought out on the expansion of Formula E – from the size of the calendar to the cost of car development and how that will be expanded upon in future seasons. Hong Kong, Morocco and Canada were all rumoured to feature in next season’s calendar, but have not done so. Hong Kong was long talked about before the start of the 2014/15 season, but the proposed circuit was not deemed safe by the FIA. Canada is still heavily rumoured to feature in the opening rounds of the 2016/17 season.

Without doubt this is subject to change, so watch this space for future developments.

  1. Beijing, China – October 17
  2. Putrajaya, Malaysia – November 21
  3. Punta Del Este, Uruguay – December 12
  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina – February
  5. Mexico City, Mexico – February
  6. TBA – March
  7. Long Beach, USA – April
  8. Paris, France – April 24
  9. Berlin, Germany – May 21
  10. Moscow, Russia – June 11
  11. Battersea Park, London – June 25/26
Written by: James Hedges

Avatar James

The #LondonEPrix – A Fan’s Experience

James Hedges is a London based motorsport enthusiast who attended the final round of the FIA Formula E season. Did the event live up to his expectations?


james bird podium

A near sell out crowd of 30,000 spectators attending the penultimate and final round of the inaugural Formula E Championship at Battersea Park; which marked London’s first street race since 1972, when Formula 2 cars raced around Crystal Palace.  The atmosphere around the venue was very relaxing, more so than most other motorsport events such as Formula One or the World Endurance Championship, with the turnout a mix of hardcore motorsport enthusiasts, local residents seeing their local park transformed into a temporary racing circuit, and whole families – the low pricing for this event widened the appeal of the race and attracted a range of spectators across various demographics.

Despite being one of the criticisms of the series, the lack of noise from the cars was probably the main contributor as to why it was so relaxing, friends and families were able to talk to each other without having to shout and wait for a car to pass, and young children could attend and enjoy the event without the need for ear defenders. The eVillage, set up at the heart of Battersea Park, provided food and entertainment for all involved. Renault, BMW and Visa all had tents up with show cars, interactive features and games to enjoy, I somehow found myself testing my reaction times on the Batak at the Visa tent, coming eighth!

james sarrazan

Visa also provided race-goers with fan radios, which were being distributed just outside the Visa tent. These provided fans with coverage of the event throughout the day, whether they were trackside, in the eVillage or in-between, which provided commentary feed featuring Jack Nicholls. These radios were free whereas at many other tracks such as Silverstone charge £5 for them – no need to pay out for multiple family members, everyone could enjoy the coverage!

The Race booth tent had Formula E simulators with which you were able to race a lap of the virtual version of the Battersea Park track, before the stand was transformed once every afternoon into a driver’s autograph signing stand. This is an event that has been held at every Formula E race this season, and provides attendees with what they want from all motorsport series – driver/fan interaction. Set between qualifying and the race each day, all twenty drivers would spend at least half an hour a day taking pictures with and signing autographs with their fans. I myself wished Sam Bird the best of luck before the second race after having a picture with him, I’m pretty sure it helped given the circumstances of the result!

james drivers

Finally at the eVillage was the podium itself. What a great call. Above the podium was a giant screen showing the live feed of the race with full commentary; this provided fans that had purchased the eVillage only tickets and those who could not find suitable general admission spots a chance to watch the race. The atmosphere here was brilliant and there was a lot of excitement in the air.

At many other circuits (such as Brands Hatch and Silverstone) the podium is situated much further away from fans, so this was a much welcome change and created a joyous atmosphere that was plain to see for those watching worldwide.

james buemi1

We shall not deny that the event was without it’s teething problems; the lack of obvious directions for fans was at times confusing, and those looking for general admission areas were either left looking for tiny direction signs or asking staff, who at times did not know themselves. It seemed curious that there were no maps being handed out as you entered the circuit – there wasn’t one in the programme either.

The attitudes of the security and stewarding staff was also somewhat contrasting, either allowing general admission fans to stand on the platforms – denying space for those that had paid the extra to stand there, or just being plain rude without much knowledge of the event.

The main issue however was visibility. In a number of general admission spots the view was poor, and in others if you were to be three or four rows back, you couldn’t see anything at all. Advertising hoarding also restricted viewing, while the catch fencing proved a nightmare for those wanting photographs.

james piquet

I have waited all my life to watch a motorsport in my home city, when the London ePrix was announced it become the main event in my diary for the next year. Upon reflecting the event, I’m sure that any issues can be ironed out, and those success stories that I spoke of can also be improved upon to make the event even better. I wouldn’t have missed the London ePrix for the world, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Written by: James Hedges

Avatar James

#FormulaE Season 2 Teams announced…

Formula E’s governing body the FIA has revealed a list of 10 teams that have been validated for entry into Season 2 of the series.

The 10 teams announced are the same as those that took part in the inaugural season of the all electric championship; however various name changes have come about as new partnerships have been formed with technology manufacturers.

The 2015/16 Formula E teams are:

  • ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
  • Andretti Formula E Team
  • Dragon Racing
  • DS Virgin Racing
  • e.dams-Renault
  • Mahindra Racing
  • NEXTEV TCR
  • Team Aguri
  • Trulli Formula E
  • Venturi Formula E

The teams will now need to submit their registration by July 24th to be verified.

CEO of Formula E, Alejandro Agag, had this to say:

“After our successful inaugural season, it’s very positive for the championship to have 10 teams registering for season two, several of which have backing from leading manufacturers. This clearly shows the strength of the series and we’re already looking forward to getting preparations for next season underway.”

Whether or not the grid is expanded upon with the addition of new teams remains to be seen.

#FormulaE #DriveTheFuture

#Competition London ePrix Giveaway!

We’d like to celebrate a fantastic London ePrix and say a massive thank you to all of our fantastic followers and supporters over the first Formula E season with a competition giveaway:

So for your chance to win a prize bundle of 19 Driver Autographs and a Sebastien Buemi signed Race Programme, as seen below…

Simply head on over to our twitter @FormulaEDiary Follow us and RT the following tweet: https://twitter.com/FormulaEDiary/status/615853765166559232

One lucky winner will be announced on Friday 3rd July. Best of luck! :)

#FEFamily #FormulaE #DriveTheFuture

#LondonEPrix Photography.

The London ePrix grandstands proved to be a tricky place from which to photograph, with metal fences and advertising boards obscuring much of the view. With only one small window through which to photograph the cars, a little creativity was needed…

Photography by Tom Clancy @Retro_F1