Posts with «motor racing» label

Formula E now lets you stream every race from its first nine seasons for free

There's still time to get acquainted with Formula E before the new season begins in January. To help with that, the all-electric racing series has opened up its vault and made every race from its first nine seasons available to stream for free. Starting with the first event in Beijing in 2014 through this past season's finale in London, there's a lot to relive or watch for the first time. If you're trying to stream them all, that's 90 hours of action over 116 races you have to look forward to.

Formula E's new Race Replay archive is available for free via it's website and mobile app. All you need to do in order to gain access to the back catalog is to register for an account. What's more, the series says every race from 2024's Season 10 will be available seven days after airing live. Even if you don't have access to the required channels or platforms needed to watch live next year, you'll still be able to follow along a few days after each event.

When the lights go out in Mexico City, Formula E will offer fans expanded viewing options in 2024. Roku will stream 11 races live through its Roku Channel for free. That platform will also offer previews, replays and other commentary in addition to the live events. Paramount+ will stream five races live as simulcasts with CBS, the broadcaster that has been home to Formula E in the US for a while now. 

Season 10 begins January 13 in Mexico City before a double-header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia later in the month. 17 total races are scheduled for 2024, including a US stop in Portland that has been expanded to its own double-header weekend after debuting last season. Formula E completed its preseason testing in Valencia in late October and you can read our key takeaways from that event here

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Formula 1 hopes AI will help it figure out if a car breaks track limits

The margin of success in Formula 1 often comes down to tiny measurements of time and distance. Drivers know the exact lines to take at corners for optimal lap times. Sometimes, though, racers will go out of bounds as they try to gain an advantage. To help officials check whether a car's wheels entirely cross the white boundary line, F1 will test an AI system.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the motorsport's governing body, says it will employ Computer Vision tech at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend. This approach uses shape analysis to determine the number of pixels that cross the line at the edge of the track.

The FIA doesn't plan to fully automate reviews of track limits breaches for the time being. Rather, it wants to significantly reduce the number of potential rule violations that are sent to officials for manual review. 

As Reuters notes, July's Austrian Grand Prix saw four people having to review around 1,200 potential violations. After some track limit violations went unpunished in October's US Grand Prix, officials acknowledged they'd have to find a new approach. Enter Computer Vision.

This tech has been used in medicine to help review data from cancer screenings. "They don’t want to use the Computer Vision to diagnose cancer, what they want to do is to use it to throw out the 80 percent of cases where there clearly is no cancer in order to give the well-trained people more time to look at the 20 percent," Tim Malyon, the FIA's deputy race director and head of remote operations, said. "And that’s what we are targeting."

The FIA hopes to reduce the number of possible infringements that officials manually review to around 50 per race. The aim is to "remove the ones that clearly don’t need a human review," Malyon said.

While the FIA won't rely entirely on AI to make race calls anytime soon, Malyon expects that to happen eventually. "I’ve said repeatedly that the human is winning at the moment in certain areas. That might be the case now but we do feel that ultimately, real time automated policing systems are the way forward."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Formula E preseason testing 2023: Five key takeaways from Valencia

Formula 1 may do its preseason tests right before the new schedule of races begins, but Formula E holds its trials months before the first E-Prix. The official action starts in Mexico City in January, but last week the all-electric series took to the turns of Valencia for its annual preseason test. 2024’s Season 10 will be the second for the ultra-efficient Gen3 car, following a debut that delivered lots of wheel-to-wheel racing and a hard-fought driver’s championship that was decided in the final two races. While there isn’t a new car this year, there’s still plenty to know before the lights go out in Mexico.

A battery fire cut testing short

Teams lost a considerable amount of track time after a battery fire following the Tuesday morning session. The Race reports that the incident occurred in a pit stall occupied by WAE, the all-electric series’ battery supplier. The fire reportedly started from a battery that had been removed from the DS Penske driven by rookie Robert Shwartzman for three separate stints. Shwartzman had to stop on track due to an issue and once the car was back in the pit lane, the battery was removed and taken to WAE for inspection. reports that the automatic battery safety system was activated causing the driver to stop. According to The Race, witnesses say there was a small audible explosion about 90 minutes after the car came to a halt on the circuit.

Formula E canceled the Tuesday afternoon and both Wednesday sessions while it looked into the cause of the fire. One person was taken to the hospital as a precaution but was released without any treatment. The series’ governing body, the FIA, deemed conditions safe to resume testing on Thursday afternoon following “investigations and findings provided by the technical suppliers,” Formula E explained.

As The Race notes, there has never been a traction battery fire at an E-Prix in nearly 10 years of events. There were incidents in 2015 and 2017, but those affected the smaller 12-volt battery. This was also unrelated to the new Attack Charge as Shwartzman had yet to demo that infrastructure. Formula E only had eight units for 11 teams and DS Penske didn’t have one at the time, The Race reports.

The first female driver in a Gen3 car

Gabriela Jilkova drives the TAG Heuer Porsche
Simon Galloway

During the preseason test in Valencia, teams were required to put rookie drivers in their cars for three of the 18 scheduled hours of running. The lineup included former F2 driver Robert Shwartzman (DS Penske) and current F2 drivers Victor Martins (Nissan) and Zane Maloney (Andretti), among others. The rookie test saw the first female driver in a Gen3 Formula E car as well. ​​LMP3 and GT4 driver Gabriela Jilkova got behind the wheel of the Porsche team’s EVs, completing a 46-lap run. Formula E previously held rookie tests ahead of the Berlin E-Prix and during an extra practice session in Rome, both happening earlier this year.

The first test of Attack Charge

During a 10-hour session last Friday, Formula E held a simulated race, giving teams a 27-lap trial to test setups, run through safety car periods and demo the upcoming Attack Charge pit stops. The series had planned to introduce the stops last season, but supply-chain issues meant the technology would only be ready for the final few races. By then, Formula E felt it would be too late and decided to postpone the debut of Attack Charge to this season.

A first look at fast charging 👀🔋

— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) October 24, 2023

There is still a lot of unknown about how the stops will work, but what we do know is that they will take place during a specific window Formula E officials will announce right before the race. The series has also said that teams will be unable to double stack their two cars, a practice of pitting both vehicles back-to-back, which could lead to some interesting decisions about which driver gets priority. An Attack Charge stop is also expected to be quite long at 30-35 seconds. A mechanic hooks up a charging cable to the back of the car while the battery is replenished.

Jaguar and Porsche are quick… again

Mitch Evans in the Jaguar TCS Racing I-TYPE 6
Simon Galloway

After strong showings at the start of the Gen3 era last season, it looks like Jaguar TCS Racing and TAG Heuer Porsche are going to be contenders once again. Jaguar and Porsche vehicles claimed four of the top five times in each of the three test sessions, including quick laps from the Envision team that runs Jaguar powertrains.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans posted the fastest time of the week, notching a 1m24.474s mark that was over half a second quicker than the fastest lap in last year’s test. Evans, who finished third in the driver’s championship in Season nine, also topped the times in the second session. New teammate Nick Cassidy, who finished second in the championship last season while driving for Envision, kept Evans from sweeping all three sessions with a 1m24.617s in the final running of the week.

Mahindra seems poised to bounce back

Season nine was one to forget for Mahindra. The team that’s been in Formula E since the series began finished 10th out of 11. Significant offseason changes include an all-new driver pairing of Edoardo Mortara and Season seven champ Nyck De Vries. Mortara was fifth fastest in the first session of the week while De Vries posted the third best time in session two. Mahindra was hampered by the battery fire as it suffered damage to its equipment and both cars, but both drivers showed great pace at different points during the week.

The driver’s championship should be close again

19 of the 21 drivers set lap times within 0.7 seconds of each other during the last session of the week. Sure, that’s one-lap pace as opposed to managing all of the nuances of a Formula E race (like energy consumption and regeneration), but it’s clear the drivers are learning how to unlock the potential of the Gen3 cars. Last year, for example, teams were grappling with new cars and new tires, having to figure out the optimal performance for a harder Hankook compound.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Formula E breaks indoor land speed world record in 'unlocked' Gen3 car

Ahead of the final two races of Season 9 in London, Formula E showed off the "unlocked" potential of its Gen3 electric race car. The EV series has claimed the world record for indoor land speed, clocking in at 135.9 MPH (218.71 KPH) in a GenBeta development car. The run took place on a .176-mile straight on the London E-Prix circuit, a portion of which is inside the ExCeL London arena. The car, piloted by NEOM McLaren Formula E driver Jake Hughes, beat the previous record of 102.7 MPH (165.2 KPH) by 33 MPH. 

Hughes went head-to-head with fellow driver Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra Racing) in a modified version of Formula E's duels format typically used for qualifying. Each one was given a chance to set the fasted speed on the indoor section of track and both bested the former world record on all three of their practice runs before making official attempts. Neither Hughes nor di Grassi had driven the GenBeta car prior to this exhibition. 

Formula E says the GenBeta car has a number of upgrades to make it faster and more powerful than the Gen3 car used in race events. First, it has an enhanced power output of 400kW, up from 350kW in race trim. The added power comes via all-wheel drive for the first time in a Formula E car through "activation of the front powertrain kit" for more traction while accelerating. 

“The GenBeta is the first time that four-wheel drive has been activated in a single-seater race car for both acceleration and braking regeneration," explains Alessandra Ciliberti, Formula E's technical manager. "The GenBeta showcases what will be possible for Formula E racing in the near future.”

The GenBeta car was also running softer Hankook tires which afforded "faster warm-up and better peak grip." The harder race-day tires are currently designed for all conditions and to offer low degradation over the course of an E-Prix. Additionally, 3D-printed wing endplates, wheel fins and a wind deflector were installed for enhanced aerodynamics and peak straight-line speed. Al was also used to analyze the drivers' runs, powered by Google's Vertex platform and McKinsey & Company's QuantumBlack, helping interpret telemetry and fine-tune strategy.

In order to make the record official, the drivers had to start from a standstill and completely stop inside the convention center. This meant taking a 130-degree turn at about 25 MPH before going flat out along the straight. Speeds were captured 16.4 feet before the drivers hit the breaking zone, or the section of the circuit needed for them to stop and remain inside the building. 

The regular Gen3 car is already the fastest and most efficient electric racer ever built. It's capable of over 200 MPH at top speed and generates 40 percent of the power it needs to complete an E-Prix through braking. Formula E describes GenBeta as "an innovation platform" that was created by the racing series, the FIA, Sabic and Hankook. Projects with the vehicle are meant to experiment with new materials and technology in a bid to increase performance, efficiency and sustainability. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Roku will stream live Formula E races for free

Roku just made its first live sports deal, and it may be welcome news if you're a motorsports fan. The company has struck a deal to stream 11 Formula E races for free through The Roku Channel, beginning with the next season. You'll also find on-demand videos like race previews, replays and the "Unplugged" documentary. The channel is available through Roku hardware, the web and dedicated mobile apps.

This isn't strictly an exclusive. Paramount+ will simulcast five Formula E races alongside CBS. The offering will be available starting in January 2024. Formula E media chief Aarti Dabas sees both the Roku and Paramount+ deals as ways to "dramatically increase" exposure to the race series, particularly in the US.

This isn't on par with Formula 1 or other major sports deals. However, it significantly expands the range of content available through Roku's ad-supported service. The Roku Channel initially launched with a focus older movies and shows, but has since added premium subscriptions, originals and live TV. Now, it has a chance to attract sports fans.

There's plenty of pressure to grow. Numerous other streaming services have their own sports exclusives. Amazon Prime Video streams a limited number of NFL games, while Apple has Friday Night Baseball and MLS Season Pass. Paramount+ already has multiple soccer exclusives. Moreover, ad-supported channels are reaching more platforms — Amazon recently launched its own free TV for Fire devices. Formula E could sustain interest in Roku's hardware and services, especially for viewers who crave live content.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Toyota unveils a hydrogen race car concept built for Le Mans 24 Hours

Modern electric vehicles aren't very practical for endurance races due to the long charging times, but Toyota may have an alternative. Its Gazoo Racing unit has unveiled a GR H2 Racing Concept that's designed to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours race's new hydrogen car category. The automaker isn't divulging specs, but the appeal is clear: this is an emissions-free car that can spend more time racing and less time topping up.

Toyota doesn't say if or when a race-ready GR H2 will hit the track. The machine is built for "future competition," the brand says. Don't be surprised if Toyota refines the concept before bringing it to a Le Mans race.

The company is no stranger to low- and zero-emissions motorsports. The brand has been racing a hydrogen engine Corolla in Japan's Super Taikyu Series since 2021, and its GR010 hybrid hypercar took the top two overall podium spots at last year's Le Mans. A purpose-built hydrogen car like the GR H2 is really an extension of the company's strategy.

The announcement comes at a delicate moment for Toyota. The make is shifting its focus to EVs after years of resisting the segment in favor of hybrids and hydrogen cars. At the same time, new CEO Koji Sato wants to be sure hydrogen remains a "viable option." The GR H2 may be a hint as to how Toyota tackles this dilemma: it can keep using hydrogen in categories where fast stops are important, such as racing and trucking, while courting a passenger car market that insists on EVs like the bZ4X and Lexus RZ.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Ace Championship is more than just a Formula E feeder series

“There’s nothing in between.”

Ace Championship founder and CEO Dilbagh Gill is explaining the motivation behind building another all-electric racing series. Gill, who was CEO and team principal of Mahindra Racing since Formula E began, left his post last year to embark on something new. His project is one that had been “fermenting” in his mind for a year and a half. “I always thought there had to be a credible ladder in the electric racing series,” he said.

Gill explained that while traditional, combustion-engine racing has had a development path for decades, there’s nothing currently that exists between electric karting and FIA world championships like Formula E. “It’s not something we’re trying to reinvent,” he said. “We’re just trying to take the ladder the other direction.”

A major hurdle for young drivers climbing the ranks in motorsport is cost. It’s not enough for a driver to be quick, they need the financial backing as well. So, in addition to creating a new training ground for future champions, Ace is also working to reduce the barrier to entry when it comes to the cost of equipment. “They have the talent, but they don’t have the opportunity,” Gill noted. “Let’s try and make a championship which can be more inclusive than motorsport is today.”

Ace Championship isn’t just hoping to develop a new crop of drivers each season. The series will also offer opportunities for ages 15-25 who are interested in engineering, communications, marketing and other aspects of motorsport to get real-world experience. Gill said that during his eight years in England at the reins of Mahindra Racing, guest lectures opened his eyes to the fact that nearly 30 percent of university students in motorsport disciplines were from Asia. “What are they going to do next?” he asked himself. “Could something like [Ace] help them find a path?” Gill further explained that Ace would offer a scholarship program to reduce the financial burden even more. “Some talented folks who can’t afford getting in, we will be supporting them,” he said.

As a means of lowering costs, teams will be able to run four drivers with two cars. In most current series, each driver has their own vehicle – hence the high cost to participate. Ace Challenger will be the series’ entry-level format, meant for drivers who found success in karting and are looking for an academy experience. Here, races will run at reduced power so that drivers can acclimate to the car as well as learn about “technique, technology and collaborating with engineers.” Ace Championship is the higher level that runs the cars at increased power output. The focus shifts from the basics to things like detailed race strategy and energy management – two key elements for Formula E and other series.

To further level the playing field, Ace will keep all of the cars at its so-called Powerpark. “We don’t want the cars going back to their garages to start getting modified,” Gill explained. “We want to keep them in a controlled environment.” He also emphasized the importance of building the facilities in Asia. “We think Asia is going to be the melting pot [for electric racing],” he said. “From there, we are within five hours of flying to three or four regions.”

Serving as the series HQ, the campus will offer simulators for each team as well as classroom training on topics like telemetry, working with engineers and social media management. Preparation will be key because the currently proposed format would have each team traveling for around 10 weeks before returning to Powerpark. This means they’ll have to devise strategies for each circuit before they depart since there won’t be simulators to train on while they’re on the road.

With the new championship, Gill and his colleagues are also designing a completely new all-electric racer for the series. When Ace was first announced at the Hyderabad E-Prix in February, Gill showed off a prototype vehicle that was built from a Formula E Gen2 chassis. However, the car the series will use won’t just be modified leftovers from the previous generation forever.

“After eight years at Mahindra Racing, when I left, they gave me a Gen2 car,” Gill said. “So that was an easy acquisition of a prototype – my personal car.”

Ace is currently working to build a brand new chassis, which Gill explained won’t “use anything that exists on the market.” The reason for this, he noted, is that the custom-made cars will run a front powertrain kit and no existing chassis can integrate it “without a lot of work.” The current plan is to have the new cars ready for the third year of the championship, which should begin in 2024. Gill said Ace aims to use its initial design for six years before an anticipated upgrade. Both the Challenger and the Championship series will use the same car with some physical differences – like slight variations to the nose kit and rims. Power output can be controlled by software, which will allow a team’s four drivers to use just the two cars.

Another key element of the car’s design will be LED lighting. Formula E uses lights around the halo of its cars to indicate things like Attack Mode. The Ace Championship aims to make things a bit more dynamic here, with color changes for things like when the driver is accelerating, when a car is regenerating energy through braking or when the driver is coasting. Ace also wants to take a page from the Tour de France and use the LEDs to point out the leader. Gill said the lights could also indicate the driver in P1 as well as green and purple sectors in qualifying or the driver with the current fastest lap. “We have to figure it out,” he admits, but the lights could be a simple way to make races more informative for fans and they’ll undoubtedly provide a unique look during night events.

The series is also exploring the possibility of using two different tire compounds for Ace Challenger and Ace Championship, “so that drivers can understand the different nuances,” according to Gill. He floated the idea that there’s a tire with a smaller performance window for the Challenger series so that you have to bring it to a peak and manage it the rest of the way. And for the Championship, perhaps the tire is “a bit more forgiving… so you can push it without much degradation.” Gill enlisted former Formula 1 and Mahindra Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld to work with tire manufacturers on the various compounds and Ace already has a prototype that it’s currently testing.

The current Ace Championship prototype based on a Formula E Gen2 car
Ace Championship

At the end of the day, Gill envisions having a car that’s within three to three and a half seconds of the performance of a Formula E car. “The steps are smaller,” he explained. “New people coming to Formula E, especially on the drivers side, it takes a long time for them to get adapted.” The overall idea is for the Ace Championship cars to offer drivers a translatable experience to Formula E in the way Formula 2 does for Formula 1. “This step up from our championship isn’t where a [driver] will struggle for a year,” he said. Drivers who are new to Formula E may be quick over one lap, but variables like tire and energy management can be very challenging for the uninitiated.

“We believe tire and energy management is going to be valuable across all forms of motorsport,” Gill proclaimed. Internal combustion engines have hybrid components in series like Formula 1, and drivers and engineers must learn how to manage and deploy that energy properly during a race. That is amplified in Formula E where you start the race with less energy than it takes to finish. Teams rely on the drivers’ ability to regenerate the difference on track, as well as their strategy for managing consumption on each lap. And, of course, being able to go quick without using up your tires is a valuable skill for any racing discipline.

The Ace Championship plans to schedule races in four different regions: East Asia, Southwest Asia, The Americas and Europe and Africa. During its first two years, the series will only travel to two of those areas with the goal of expanding in 2026. Grouping races like this allows Ace to eliminate the cost of flying teams around the world between events. Racing in each region could take place over the span of a quarter, with the aim of having a new set of drivers each time. While the series hosts its first events in 2024 and 2025, it will also be building a second set of cars. Gill explained that Ace wants to have enough vehicles to have regional events take place while the others are back at Powerpark getting refurbished for the following quarter.

Scheduling is wide open at this point, though. Gill admitted a regional championship may have to be condensed into three weeks so Ace can “synchronize” with the Formula E calendar that runs from January to July. The goal here is to do tandem events with the FIA-sanctioned global EV championship, taking place around the E-Prix during the same weekend, even though it may only be one Ace category due to the time and logistics of street circuits. Again, it’s much like Formula 2 does at some Formula 1 races. Not only will piggybacking off Formula E events provide visibility for the series, but it will give young drivers and support staff a glimpse of how things are done at the next level.

Other Ace races will be standalone, including two of the six events during a regional championship being doubleheaders on back-to-back days. Gill said the current idea is for the independent races to take place on small circuits. Each regional schedule will serve as its own championship, so at the end of the first year, there will be four winners – two from each Ace category.

The ultimate prize for the Ace Championship is to train drivers, race engineers, mechanics and other members of a motorsport team who move on to FIA disciplines like the World Endurance Championship, Formula 2 or Formula 1. And that by doing so, they’re establishing a talent pool across all of those areas ready to contribute to the success of a world championship team.

“Our goal is to make world champions in the next five years,” Gill said.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Formula E’s Gen3 car is living up to its potential after a rocky start

We’re in the midst of a three-week break in the Formula E calendar, so now is a good time to take stock of the season so far. This is the ninth season of the all-electric racing series, but it’s the first of the Gen3 era. The new car is a massive leap forward in terms of technology. This model is able to regenerate up to 40 percent of the power needed to complete a race while on track. After a tumultuous preseason and major concerns heading into the first race back in January, there were some indications the series might stumble with its ambitious trajectory for the Gen3 racer. Despite the initial warning signs, the new generation for the series has begun without major issues.

I spoke to Neom McLaren team principal Ian James and Jaguar TCS Racing team principal James Barclay to get their thoughts on how the season has gone, the challenges of Gen3 and what’s to come in the near future for Formula E.

The races have been exciting to watch

Sam Bagnall

One of the major selling points of the Gen3 car was the ability for drivers to race each other in closer confines than Gen2. This was proven true in one turn at the Monaco E-Prix when Envision’s Nick Cassidy passed two cars (he nearly overtook a third) in the hotel hairpin. That’s not typically a spot on the compact street course where there’s a ton of passing, but with the Gen3 car, drivers were consistently running three-wide into that tight turn.

“​​I think the racing has been phenomenal,” James said. “There was a lot of talk at the beginning of the season about tires and the energy side of things, even the aesthetics of the car. But I actually think it's delivered.” He noted that the start of Gen3 has “mixed up the field” and that the competition has been “very close.” There have been six different winners in the first nine races and the championship lead has already changed hands multiple times.

There have also been a lot of overtakes. That’s mostly because no one wants to lead at some of the tracks until the very end of the race. The Gen3 car has considerable drag aerodynamically, so you use a lot more energy staying out front than running in the pack. Starting in Brazil, this peloton effect became apparent where drivers willingly hand off the lead to conserve power until the closing laps. Even the leaders will back off and bunch up the field in a bid to maximize efficiency while out front. For example, Round seven in Berlin saw 23 lead changes with this in-line running.

“It’s a different kind of racing, but it’s no less exciting,” Barclay said. “In quali [the Gen3 car] looks spectacular because the drivers are on the limits, and the race looks spectacular because there’s lots of overtaking. It’s always about making sure we have the best balance of both things, and that’s what we’re all working towards achieving within the championship.”

McLaren’s team principal also expressed the need to find “balance” within the new style of racing for Formula E, but agreed what we’ve seen out of the new car so far has been quite captivating. “It’s about the drivers learning and anticipating, making sure they can turn that into their advantage,” James said. “I think we’ve got to be careful that it doesn’t become the defining feature of Gen3 racing… but if we get the balance right, the racing is going to continue to be phenomenally exciting.” The overtakes will continue, according to the McLaren boss, but there also stands to be “some real speed” from the Gen3 cars too.

Teams have adapted quickly

Jaguar's Mitch Evans leads during his win in Berlin
LAT Images

When I spoke to James before the season began, he explained that teams would face “a very steep learning curve” starting at the first E-Prix of Gen3 in Mexico. That has been apparent in nearly every round of Season 9 so far. Teams like Porsche and Avalanche Andretti who started off strong have stumbled at times. And others, like Jaguar, who struggled at first have begun to find their form.

“What we have seen in these first races of the year is how quickly it has evolved,” Barclay said. “From where we were in Mexico [with] everyone getting to grips with the new car and the new tech, now everyone is absolutely flat out in quali and we’re into really complex race strategies because we’re really on top of the cars.” For Jaguar, its ability to get “on top of” Gen3 was most apparent in two particular races. In Berlin, the team scored its first 1-2 finish and in Sao Paulo Jaguar cars locked out the podium for the first time with Envision’s Nick Cassidy swiping third (Envision runs Jaguar powertrains).

While there have been some temporary issues that caused teams to pull cars from practice sessions out of caution, a major catastrophe has so far been avoided. Perhaps the biggest incident occurred in Cape Town when Mahindra and ABT Cupra pulled all of their cars from that event due to a suspension issue (the latter runs Mahindra powertrains as a customer team). The decision was made before qualifying citing safety concerns over running on a particularly bumpy track. The Race reported afterwards that rear suspension problems were discovered during manufacturer testing before the season began. Mahindra apparently modified the suspension afterwards, but the issue wasn’t sufficiently resolved for the cars to run in South Africa.

The new tires are a challenge, but that’s a good thing

Sam Bloxham/LAT Images

Heading into the season, drivers were vocal about the challenges of the new Hankook tires that were developed for Gen3. The compound is much harder than the previous version from Michelin, but it’s also more durable. Previously, tires would degrade so much over the course of the race that what began as treaded rubber would end up almost completely slick. Now, the series uses a compound that performs more consistently throughout an E-Prix

“What’s amazing is we have a car with less mechanical grip, because we have a harder compound tire,” Barclay explained. “Yet, we’re going faster.”

The tires posed the biggest challenge for the two races in Berlin, where Formula E runs on a temporary street circuit at the decommissioned Tempelhof Airport. The concrete surface is much more abrasive than asphalt. Combine that with the long curves and straights in the track layout and you can easily overheat the tires if you’re not careful. Sure, these two races are outliers for teams looking to unlock the full potential of the new compound, but it only made matters worse for those like McLaren who were already struggling with traction.

“Berlin was definitely the most acute circuit for that particular problem for us,” James said. “It's something that we're working hard together with Nissan to understand and hopefully bring some improvements in the future that will start to close the gap to the competition.” (McLaren runs Nissan powertrains as a customer team)

McLaren doesn’t have an issue with one-lap pace; the team has put its cars on pole twice already. James explained that the larger issue is due to the lack of overall traction and maximizing the energy usage simultaneously. “That’s when things start to become a little bit trickier,” he said. As a result, McLaren is seeing a compounding effect as each lap passes in a race, which James admitted “puts us on the backfoot.” He noted that some teams have figured out how to unlock the potential of the tires in different ways, but for others it’s still a fight. And at times it can be quite costly in terms of overall pace.

Formula E had to introduce in-season fixes

Carl Bingham

Following several big crashes in pre-season tests, Formula E made the decision to introduce a secondary braking system as soon as possible. Because the Gen3 car is regenerating power under braking on both the front and rear powertrains, there wasn’t a backup system in place if those systems became unusable – like in the event of a powertrain failure or a software issue. This led to several incidents where drivers weren’t able to safely slow down their cars. Formula E moved quickly to find a fix, with the first on-track tests of the emergency-use system occurred at the second race in Diriyah.

“The FIA, ourselves, we’re all learning and we’re working together to find the best outcome,” Barclay explained. “I think we have addressed those [issues], whether it be the secondary brake system or the change to the traction control regulations.” He said that all of the critical problems that have popped up are somewhat expected with a new car as both the teams and the series is “in this mode of optimizing Gen3.”

The traction control monitoring system is another area Formula E has addressed with an in-season change. Teams aren’t allowed to have traction control to ensure no one gains an unfair advantage and the FIA polices those regulations with torque sensors mounted on the driveshafts. This setup is meant to uncover any software-based tricks being used to unlock better grip. Speaking to The Race, the new system was described as “an evolution” of previous monitoring tech by Formula E’s technical boss Alessandra Ciliberti. The change had been in the works for months, in consultation with the car manufacturers who were also performing tests. Formula E decided the new tech, which monitors for consistent oscillations that differ from those caused by bumps and kerbs, was ready for use in Monaco earlier this month.

There’s still more to come

McLaren's Jake Hughes leads the pack in Monaco
LAT Images

Before the first race of the season, Formula E announced that it planned to test quick-charging pit stops at a few races this year. These cars don’t visit pit lane during an E-Prix unless there’s a problem, mostly because it ends any chance you have of keeping up with the pack and remaining in contention. In the early days of the series, teams had to swap cars to complete the races, but battery tech advanced enough that hasn’t been a requirement since 2018.

Of course, it’s not only the act of stopping for 30 seconds — you also have to learn how to use the technology that makes it possible. And there will also be changes to the race format. Currently, drivers leave the racing line to activate Attack Mode for a temporary power boost while remaining on track. With the reintroduction of pit stops, drivers will instead earn two Attack Charges, but it’s unclear how and when they’ll be deployed.

When Formula E announced it would postpone the stops until next year, series co-founder Alberto Longo explained that the technology was ready but that supply chain issues meant the system couldn’t be implemented until the last three or four races. He admitted changes to the race format that late in the season made testing the system “not the right decision.” Teams up and down the paddock are in agreement.

“We need to understand the implications of bringing it in on the race itself and make sure it’s done in a way that adds value rather than detract from the show,” James said. “And because we've afforded ourselves the time to be able to do that analysis, I think we'll put ourselves in a much better position.” He further explained that he’s less worried about the impact the fast-charging stops will have on the team as he’s confident in their ability to adapt, mostly due to their years of experience in the series.

Barclay echoed those thoughts on behalf of Jaguar. “The amount of newness in this Gen3 car, from the new tires to the slightly different race format (number of laps vs. time), there was a lot to go out,” he said. “I think adding those extra things add more complexity and [could have] potentially taken away from what we’ve seen.” He noted that the team has had plenty to tackle already, but they’re looking forward to the new challenge of Attack Charge when it comes.

“We’ve gotten into a place where we’ve seen some great races, and I think that will only be more of the case as the season unfolds,” he said.

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'F1 23' will arrive on June 16th

EA and Codemasters have revealed more details about this year's edition of their Formula 1 racing sim series. F1 2023 will hit PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC via the EA App, Steam and Epic Games Store on June 16th.

Among other things, the game will feature the return of the Braking Point story mode. Braking Point debuted in F1 2021, but it wasn't present in last year's edition. This time around, Devon Butler (the antagonist from the first chapter) and Aiden Jackson are now teammates on an upstart racing team looking to take on F1's heavy hitters. You can expect to encounter new characters, challenges and rivalries.

Codemasters has updated the cars' handling based on feedback from F1 teams. The cars are said to have more predictable behavior this time around, along with more traction when braking, accelerating and navigating corners. The studio has also improved the engine torque and inertia, balanced the aerodynamics and tire grip for added realism and incorporated Precision Drive tech for controller players, EA says.

Every team, driver and circuit from F1's real-life 2023 season is in the game, including the street circuit for the new Las Vegas Grand Prix and Qatar's Lusail International Circuit. Legacy circuits Paul Ricard (France), Shanghai (China), and Portimão (Portugal) will all be available from the jump too.

Players will be able to set races to 35 percent of their real-life distances. That should offer more flexibility to those who may not have the time for a standard-length grand prix. On top of all that, it's somehow taken until 2023 for EA to add red flags, a major aspect of F1 races, to the series.

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Formula E's fast-charging pit stops won't arrive until next year

Pit Stops in Formula E racing have always been a little complicated. For the electric racing series' first few seasons, divers had to swap cars halfway through the race due to battery limitations. That issue was fixed with a newer, higher capacity car design in 2018, but that eliminated and excitement of having a functional pitstop. Now, the fast battery charging system designed to bring pitstops back to Formula E racing is being delayed until next season.

"The technology is there," Formula E cofounder Alberto Longo told Motorsport Total. "It's working and at the moment many of the people are suffering with the supply chain, and that's the main issue why we haven't been able to put it in work this season." The updated pit stops were planned to debut halfway through the 2023 season with the new Gen3 Formula E cars, but at this point it would only be ready for the last few races of the season.

It's more than just a logistical problem: the new system could drastically change how drivers approach the race. In addition to reintroducing mandatory pit stops, each time a driver uses one of the quick charging stations, they will earn two "attack charges" that would give their vehicle a temporary boost in power for a limited time. The current rules already have an attack mode, but this change in how it is earned and used could have a profound effect on performance partway through the season.

"It will have a big impact on the sporting format and to do that only in the three or four races at the end the season, even though if we are capable of doing it, maybe it's not the right decision," Longo said. "We would love to have it this season, but I don't think at the moment it's totally viable to implement it."

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