DS E-tense FE 19, 2018

New Formula E cars will be “scary” on current circuits, says Vergne

Formula E

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Formula E championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne is relishing the prospect of having more power under his foot when the series introduces its second-generation car later this year.

“I think all the Formula E drivers we are agreed that we’re happy with the power of next year,” said Vergne.

Drivers “don’t want more because of the tracks”, he added. Formula E races exclusively on short street circuits.

“We can have longer tracks, but with the tracks we have currently 250 kilowatts will be impressive, it will be scary.”

Formula E’s new ‘Gen2’ car will have a peak power of 250kW for qualifying which is a 50kW increase on today’s machines. The lowest race power mode will produce 200kW (compared to 180kW today). Drivers will also have to use a higher power setting for a set portion of the race.

Despite the increase in power, new batteries developed by McLaren Applied Technologies should eliminate the need to swap cars mid-race.

Vergne hopes that as the series continues to evolve it will continue to produce exciting races.

“Wider, longer tracks will come, but the good thing about Formula E is that you can fight. It doesn’t matter in the team you are (driving for).

“In Formula One the difference between top teams and small teams is too big. You put Lewis [Hamilton] in a Sauber he’s not going to do podiums. You put [Marcus] Ericsson or [Charles] Leclerc in a Mercedes, I’m not saying he would win races but he would have a go at winning races. In Formula E it is the opposite.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Chris Turner
Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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  • 39 comments on “New Formula E cars will be “scary” on current circuits, says Vergne”

    1. Just keeps getting better!

    2. I’m sure Marcus Ericsson loves you too JEV!

      1. @eurobrun
        Well, he did mention Ericsson and Leclerc in the same breath, which is rather flattering for Ericsson after the last two races. Nothing to complain about.

    3. Well they look fast. More speed and no car change can only make the racing better. Now about that Fan Boost…

    4. Leclerc woul definitively win races in a merc :)

      1. Hopefully he will be winning in a Ferrari soon

    5. Drivers will also have to use a higher power setting for a set portion of the race.

      I still just don’t see the point of that.

      For a series that is supposed to be about energy efficiency & where energy usage/management though a race is a key factor it just seems a bit silly & completely pointless to then force drivers to use a higher power made for a set period during a race.

      I also saw an interview not too long ago in which Alejandro Agag said….
      https://www.autosport.com/fe/news/135565/agag-new-fe-race-format-will-blow-minds

      The race format for season five, which we haven’t disclosed yet, is going to be something closer to a video game and will blow the mind of the younger generation. It’s almost a race format designed for them.

      1. What??? They are using electricity and not petrol, so they are already showing enough energy efficiency, going by your logic they may as well just run 5kw engines then, because they are efficient in your eyes and ‘who cares about the sport of it’ that’s how your comment reads.

        1. I think @stefmeister was making the point about requiring them to run in high power mode for a particular amount of time. That seems odd. It is fine having the extra power but surely it should be up to the team on how much they use full power just like in F1?

          1. digitalrurouni
            18th May 2018, 16:35

            I think it’s a way to evolve the tech. That tech needs to be pushed hard and on track sessions is just a laboratory experiment which is great. I for one welcome these cars and these technologies and hope they come down to the street.

            1. Yep well said. Every Formula E comment section still contains comments that are missing the point Formula E is set-up to evolve.
              Hopefully it never gets lured into sticking to a set of expectations like F1 now has.

    6. “You put Lewis [Hamilton] in a Sauber he’s not going to do podiums.”

      In 2009, in the first race in Australia, Hamilton was driving what was effectively a Sauber. A McLaren in which both cars qualified on the back rows of the grid, seconds off the pace. In that race, Hamilton finished 4th, and should have been 3rd if not for the debacle that took place during the SC period.

      1. And where did he finish next few races under a normal race lol??? . I remember 18th, 19th there abouts. He didn’t get the best from the car until the car improved later in season, it actually improved enough to be a race winning car.

        1. Race winning in its hands

      2. I can’t help but feel like JEV & others like him who fuss about the gap in performance between constructors and the resulting opportunities (or lack thereof) afforded the different drivers are being a bit disingenuous. In F1 (more so than in many other racing series) the cream tends to rise to the top more often than not. Rubbish drivers do not end up in top teams. Now, the term “rubbish driver” is arbitrary & not entirely based in reality, as realistically speaking even a “rubbish” F1 driver is pretty handy at driving and racing, period. However, that something special… that little bit extra… that ability to seemingly transcend what even the engineers think the car is capable of and to sustain that performance over the course of a season, THAT’S what the top teams are interested in. Anyone who objectively pays attention to the lower formulae tends to know for themselves just who has that “It” factor long before they end up in F1. Plus the mechanics have access to all the data & they usually converse among themselves, then the talk starts to spill over to media insiders. Then the media buzz starts. Of the current crop of drivers, think of those you heard a distinct buzz about before you even knew who they were (and lived up to the hype once they got their shot): Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen head my list. These guys have pretty much gone where they’ve wanted to go because teams know exactly what they are getting when they sign them. Sure Alonso has ended up in some dud cars, but that was largely been by his own choice. So while some cars on the grid are better engineered than others, the best chances to get or keep a more attractive race seat on merit rests with the driver and his management team more than anywhere else (availability not withstanding). The hardest part is getting in the door. If you’re special, chances are you’ll be highly sought after by a top team instead of just disappearing of the F1 radar.

      3. @ N

        In 2009, in the first race in Australia, Hamilton was driving what was effectively a Sauber. A McLaren in which both cars qualified on the back rows of the grid, seconds off the pace. In that race, Hamilton finished 4th, and should have been 3rd if not for the debacle that took place during the SC period.

        I think your memory is betraying you. Hamilton finished 4th in a race of attrition and incidents (both BMW, Ferraris, Red Bulls either did not finish the race or were taken out of contention in a crash on the first lap [Heidfeld, Webber]), and he only briefly ran in 3rd after Trulli made the mistake behind the Safety Car. Yes, Hamilton could’ve finished the race there, but it wasn’t really his performance that put him in this situation.
        Also, the comparison between a 2018 Sauber and a 2009 McLaren doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. McLaren weren’t “seconds off the pace”, but exactly 0.871 seconds or exactly 1%, and they had both cars in Q2.
        By contrast, Sauber were 1.732 seconds (or 2.1%) off the pace in Melbourne this year. On average, they’ve been 1.8 seconds or 2% off the pace this season, and they’ve reached Q2 twice with a single car in 5 races.
        The 2009 McLaren, in its single worst race, was still leagues better than the 2018 Sauber. But Vergne’s analysis would still be true for the 2009 McLaren, as it almost lucked into a freak result in that race, but certainly didn’t fight for “podiums” (as in, plural of “podium”).

        1. “I think your memory is betraying you. Hamilton finished 4th in a race of attrition and incidents”

          That is motorsport.

          “and he only briefly ran in 3rd after Trulli made the mistake behind the Safety Car”

          It was only brief because he was wrongly advised to give the position back.

          “McLaren weren’t “seconds off the pace”

          The McLarens in Q1 where over a second off the Brawns, in Australia 2018, Sauber was 1.7 seconds off Mercedes pace in Q1. Point: that 09 McLaren early season was a poor car, it handled poorly and lacked downforce, just like a Sauber, and Hamilton pulled a result out of it that goes contrary to Vergnes comment. Quality does come through

          1. @ N

            That is motorsport.

            Yeah, but c’mon. That wasn’t the matter at hand. Vergne said that Hamilton in a Sauber wouldn’t “do podiums”, and quoting that one example from 9 years back when Hamilton almost lucked into a 3rd place in a car that was a second closer to the pace than this season’s Sauber doesn’t contradict that at all.

            The McLarens in Q1 where over a second off the Brawns, in Australia 2018, Sauber was 1.7 seconds off Mercedes pace in Q1.

            That’s cherrypicking. What significance does Q1 have when there’s also a Q2 to look at, in which the fastest lap time of the weekend was achieved, and a McLaren came within 9 tenths of a second of that lap time? Absolutely none.

            You’re comparing apples and oranges.

            1. Does Ricciardo luck into all his podiums when he starts off the front of the grid? Is it just coincidence that when theres the opportunity for his car to be there, hes there? Or is it more than that? is it that his ability, when possible, comes through? Where did Kovalainen finish relative to Hamilton in that diabolic McLaren?

              The bottom line of all this is that if JEV was good enough and impressed in his poor equipment (as Hamilton did in Aus 09 or, say, Leclerc is doing right now in his Sauber) maybe he wouldn’t now be racing milk floats for a living.

            2. Does Ricciardo luck into all his podiums when he starts off the front of the grid? Is it just coincidence that when theres the opportunity for his car to be there, hes there? Or is it more than that? is it that his ability, when possible, comes through?

              That’s all nice and interesting, mate, but let me remind you that Vergne’s statement was about the discrepancy between the fastest and slowest cars on the grid, which he thinks has a much greater impact on the positions a driver finishes in than that driver’s individual quality.

              Where did Kovalainen finish relative to Hamilton in that diabolic McLaren?

              Interesting point, really. Because Kovalainen was very often on par with, if not slightly better than, Hamilton in the first half of the season in that ‘diabolic’ car (which was much more comparable to a 2018 Haas than to a Sauber). Before the introduction of a significant upgrade for the German GP, Kovalainen matched Hamilton in qualifying (4 : 4), achieving a slightly better average qualifying result than his team mate (12.9 : 13.3), with an average gap of just 0.002 seconds.
              Now, where did Kovalainen finish? Well, not on the podium (but neither did Hamilton). He also lost out slightly to Hamilton in races that saw both of them reaching the end of the race (2:1 in Hamilton’s favour). But again, they were very evenly matched, their average finishing positions being 9.6 (Hamilton) and 10.3 (Kovalainen) respectively.
              Kovalainen’s standout result was a fifth place in the Chinese GP, where he finished fractionally behind Barrichello’s Brawn. Granted, that wasn’t a podium finish. But was that really his fault? After all, the main difference for his result was the fact that both Red Bulls finished ahead of him, unlike Australia, where Webber was involved in a first-lap crash and Vettel collided with Kubica. Both incidents the McLaren drivers had absolutely nothing to do with. Additionally, Kovalainen simply outraced both BMW drivers, Räikkönen and Trulli, something which Hamilton hadn’t achieved in Melbourne.

              Their respective forms changed dramatically after the aforementioned German GP, the upgraded McLaren seemingly complimenting Hamilton’s abilities much more than Kovalainen’s. But it was clearly on a different level than in the first 8 races of that season, when it really wasn’t a great car (nor a Sauber). And in those 8 races, Kovalainen’s talent shone through just as much as Hamilton’s. Or maybe slightly more, depending on which stat you look at.
              However, I don’t see you saying “Put a Kovalainen in a Sauber, and he’ll do podiums”.

              The bottom line of all this is that if JEV was good enough and impressed in his poor equipment

              Funny that you’d say that, especially after mentioning Ricciardo earlier in your comment (who I think is a very good driver, make no mistake about that). Vergne and Ricciardo were extremely closely matched when they raced together for Toro Rosso, the final score being 30 : 29 in the Aussie’s favour. We all know who was then promoted to Red Bull.
              The year after that, Vergne outscored and outraced Kvyat 22 : 8. Which one of these drivers was hired as Vettel’s replacement, and who had to seek a job outside of F1?
              That’s precisely my point: Sometimes, the results do not faithfully represent the underlying events, sometimes external factors have a much greater influence on results, or contract extensions, than anything a driver can do.

              The vibe you’re giving off is something along the lines of “I don’t hold Vergne in high esteem, therefore I will contradict whatever he says”. Let’s just leave that aspect aside. He says, a Hamilton in a Sauber wouldn’t do podiums. You say, well, he almost scored a podium in 2009. But again, that McLaren was no Sauber, it was a midfield car even at its worst. And yes, it was just as competitive in Kovalainen’s hands as it was in Hamilton’s. Hamilton just happened to come a step closer to standing on the podium than Kovalainen did, but this was due to the circumstances of the race. Theoretically, a 2018 Sauber could end up on the podium as well, if it survives a race that’s Baku-esque enough. But Vergne’s point still stands: You wouldn’t really be fighting for podiums and scoring them regularly, but you’d be mostly confined to the end of the grid, unlike FE, where the differences between cars are minimal.

    7. Formula E chassis shows how you can cover the wheels and still look awesome. Imagine if F1 could do that, oh wait they can’t because it says “open-wheel” and the internet will rage

      1. Formula e looks like kids of the 80s and 90s thought would be futuristic. F1 cars look really bad aesthetically even with wider tyres and width now, they still look worse than f1 cars 25 years ago, but don’t look modern, cool or futuristic

        1. If you made an F1 car that looked like that, you would have to cut the engine power in half or they would be too fast.
          Some would say … Bring it on, but how acceptable is 5 G cornering and braking ? …. wait a second, aren’t we already there.?

          1. @rekibsn, actually, the design of the Formula E car looks like aesthetics was given a greater priority than performance – it’s had the desired effect in making people like kpcart wax lyrical about how good they look though, which is probably what they care about most.

            1. I disagree. The Gen2 Formula E car is actually much closer to the “unrestricted design” that Adrian Newey did when he dreamed up the X1. Take a look and tell me which is closer to Adrian’s idea of the perfect aero: F1 today or the next gen FE cars?

              Of course, what does Adrian Newey know about aerodynamics LOLOLOL

            2. @daved, there are design features on the Formula E car where the primary purpose seems to have been aesthetics first, rather than engineering judgement.

              For example, the decision to have those two small rear wings over the rear wheels was effectively already assessed in F1 when the “central downwash generating” rear wings were suggested back in 2005. However, when Migeot was commissioned to undertake wind tunnel tests on that concept design, he found that having two smaller wings placed over the rear wheels resulted in the wings providing worse performance than having a single rear wing (not a surprising result given the reduced aspect ratio of the wings would have a detrimental impact on the lift the drag ratio).

              There is no performance advantage from having that type of wing on the car – if anything, there is a performance disadvantage – but it does fit with Agag’s comments about wanting a “Batman style” car that was “eye catching”.

              As for the X1, are you really claiming that a fictional vehicle which was introduced into the Gran Turismo series as a publicity stunt to boost the sales of what had been one of the worst selling Gran Turismo series games (and one which seemed to focus more on celebrity endorsement far more heavily than its predecessors) is somehow a more valid template than designs features which have actually been tested in real life and found to be ineffective?

    8. JEV says a lot of BS lately…

    9. he race format for season five, which we haven’t disclosed yet, is going to be something closer to a video game and will blow the mind of the younger generation. It’s almost a race format designed for them.

      This is as cringy as when my granny started to speak with me and my friends in memes and slang she heard on TV, trying to blend in, I guess. But…but… that’s what cool kids do nowadays they say!

      1. that was supposed to go under @stefmeister comment :(

        1. @albedo – That’s ok. You’re still a cool kid to us. Probably even cooler for putting your comment in a random place. ;-)

    10. That’s simple, make a proper street circuits or move to the permanent racetracks..

    11. Why talk abou F1?
      Every single time has to mention F1. Talk about FE… Or do you miss it that much?
      It’s kind of a pointless thing this defying atittude towards F1 when you racing in “car parks”.
      Well, the category is filled with guys who got the boot in F1. So i got the issue.

      1. Bit unfair, many of the top FE drivers could be F1 winners in a Mercedes.

        And on the flip side, many of the worst F1 drivers (70% of the grid) would probably still struggle to win in FE.

    12. Wider, longer tracks will come, but the good thing about Formula E is that you can fight. It doesn’t matter in the team you are (driving for).

      I hear this a lot, but for the 41 races held so far only 8 teams have won, of which the top three teams account for 70% (eDams, ABT and Virgin) of the wins. For the drivers it’s the same story, we’ve had 10 different winners, but the top three takes 60% of those wins. The next two most successful teams have only won their first race in the calendar year of 2017, and the remainder has a shared total of 5 wins… If I count all drivers who’ve done more than 4 races there’s still 39 of them, in total 58, so that’s a whole lot of people who’ve yet to come close to winning anything.

      It’s fairly similar again with the pole positions. The top three qualifiers account for 56% of all poles.

      We’ve had 41 races so 123 podiums spots, again the top three drivers take 46% of all those positions, being Buémi, DiGrassi and Bird. If you add Vergne you get 56% of all podiums slots being taken by four men.

      It’s also very much still a skewed thing to have fanboost consindering it goes to Buémi and DiGrassi far to often, both accumulate to 54% of all fanboosts.

      I know we’ve had three different champions, but the constructors has been won by just one team in the all of the last three seasons.

      Now I hear you thinking DiGrassi and Buémi are just the better drivers, and maybe Vergne too, but I do find it rather rubbish for Vergne to say any team can win any race.

      1. @flatsix It would be interesting to compare these numbers with other top-flight motorsport serieses. Because while saying “anyone can win in Formula E” might be a bit of a stretch the chances are the numbers look much better and more competitive in FE than any other series. IndyCar is the only one I can see being about there, but I feel like the variety still isn’t as big in IndyCar as what it is in FE. Haven’t done the math though.

        1. @huhhii, IndyCar really isn’t that much better given that it has been dominated by three teams – Penske, Andretti and Ganassi – for 15 years now: the last team that won the IndyCar title that wasn’t one of those big three teams is the long defunct Panther Racing, and that was back in 2002.

          Last year, Penske, Ganassi and Andretti won 13 out of 17 races between them (a win rate of 76%), whilst 2016 saw them win 13 out of 16 races (81% of wins going to the top three teams). Previous years saw a lower percentage going to the big three, but even so they were still pretty dominant and I would say that the odds of a smaller team winning aren’t that great in IndyCar either.

    13. The biggest immediate performance gain would be from fitting actual race tires. I know they want to market these low profile “summer performance tires” but formula race cars on street tires looks dumb and is dumb.

    14. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      18th May 2018, 21:27

      This will be the proper start of Formula E for me. This is the point it’s taken seriously and I’m looking forward.

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