New cars, new teams – and no more Fanboost: 2023 Formula E season preview

Formula E

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Formula E’s ninth season sees what could be some of the most important changes in the championship’s history.

Not just because of the technological advances that have been made with its new, third-generation cars, but because of the hopes riding on the FIA’s pioneering all-electric series and the uncertainties around it.

Last year’s champions Mercedes cited underwhelming viewing figures as one factor behind their exit from the series. With Techeetah also departing, two names responsible for a combined nine title wins are no longer on the grid.

There has also been off-season controversies about the new ‘Gen3’ car as well as some of the personnel changes across the paddock.

The series has embarked on a total branding revamp to coincide with its latest new era, changing its logo, font and its entire digital presence. This reflects an expectation its Gen3 era will be a distinct change from the series’ past. But will it sustain its reputation for close competition?

The impact of new rules and a new car

Radical new look conceals uprated electric drivetrain
FE’s latest machine is being pressed into service just nine months after it was officially revealed. The Gen3 chassis has separate powertrains for the front and rear wheels. The new front powertrain will run at 250kW, with the car’s maximum allowable total power delivery being 350kW.

Each car is limited to two motor generator units, two gearboxes and two inverters over the season for the delivery of power to the rear wheels. The maximum amount of power that can be regenerated by the car has more than doubled from 250kW to 600kW.

FE claims more than 40% of the energy used in a race will now come from regenerative braking, with the deceleration of the rear wheels now entirely down to regen rather than also relying on traditional braking systems. However this is understood to have caused some teething problems in development, and the first race of the season this weekend will reveal how successfully they have been addressed.

The 2023-spec powertrains will contribute to a big jump in car performance, with drivers setting their timed laps at 300kW rather than 220kW during the group stage of qualifying. When they progress to the knock-out duels that determine the top eight places on the grid, the battle for pole will now be fought at 350kW rather than 250kW. The top speed of a Gen3 car is now said to be more than 200mph, although that figure is highly unlikely to be reached on FE’s short circuits.

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FE has pioneered being able to hold logistically complex street circuit events within a single day since the series’ creation in 2014. Shakedown sessions (conducted at Safety Car speeds or with a limit of three laps that can be completed at a lowly 110kW) on new tracks may have taken place the day before racing, but usually all of the timed sessions were fitted into Saturday, except at double-header events where teams would do it all over again on Sunday.

For 2023, the schedule is being relaxed with one-race events now able to hold first practice session on Friday, followed by the second session, qualifying and the race on Saturday. With no parc ferme conditions following first practice, during which cars can run at full power (350kW), it provides teams with more time to make changes or repairs before the next practice session. However curfew times still apply for on-site and remote personnel working outside of the event’s daily timetable.

All-weather rubber remains, but drivers can swap tyres
Races have also switched back from being timed affairs to having set lap counts, although the target is to still make sure they don’t exceed an hour in length.

Once hyped as a unique feature of Formula E, Fanboost has finally been dropped. While it’s debatable how great a sporting impact it had, its removal means drivers will no longer be able to gain a competitive advantage by dint of their popularity.

A new mandatory ‘Attack Charge’ feature, available to all drivers, is planned to be introduced at a selection of races. This will require drivers to pit for their cars to be recharged by a pre-determined amount via cable. The stops should take less than a minute, but it has been reported that development problems mean these may not be introduced until late into the season or even pushed back to 2024.

In a further change involving pit stops, drivers will be able to pit to change tyres during wet races, despite new tyre supplier Hankook providing an all-weather compound. This follows the crashes which occured when a downpour hit one of last year’s races in New York.

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Another rules tweak which could have a significant impact is the removal of the countdown to Full Course Yellow periods when they are deployed. That could lead to more drivers being caught out and copping penalties.

FE has adopted several rules familiar from F1
FE has also adopted a rule introduced to F1 last year. On two occasions during the season, each team must swap one of their race drivers in first practice for a driver who has never started a FE race before.

The series has also followed its fellow world championship in introducing financial regulations. There will be a budget cap of €12,750,000 (£11,249,197 under current exchange rates) for all teams. FE’s five powertrain manufacturers – Jaguar, Mahindra, Nissan, Porsche and Stellantis (present on the grid as DS and Maserati) – then have an additional €12,250,000 to spend on the development of their hardware and software. A “minor overspend breach” will constitute an exceeding of the cost cap by less than 5%, and could be punishable via a fine, public reprimand or a removal of championship points or testing time for the teams involved.

The limit on how many operational team personnel are allowed at the track has grown from 17 to 27. However the rules note that “of these 27 staff members, the number of staff members allowed to work on the cars must not exceed 18”. The teams are also required to hold the maximum three-star environmental rating from the FIA.


London will hold the season finale in six months’ time
Development work at the sites of the New York and Seoul E-Prixs means those two venues have lost their spots on the 2023 calendar.

To maintain a presence in the United States, FE has been able to replace New York with a race on the other side of the country in Portland. However it is not yet clear whether the race in June will take place on the streets of the city by the western coast, or on its existing IndyCar track.

The three other new additions to the schedule will run one after the other through February and March after events in Mexico City and Diriyah, which have swapped places as the first races of the season.

First of the new races is the Hyderabad E-Prix in India, which like Portland has a question mark hanging over it in regards to the circuit. The city recently held street races on a new track, which had its design updated after consultation with figures in FE, but the series is yet to confirm whether it will use that layout with only a month until the race happens.

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FE will follow up its planned first visit to India with a first trip to South Africa for the Cape Town E-Prix. This event will take place on a high-speed track around the city’s World Cup stadium and just metres away from the Pacific Ocean.

After that, Brazil makes its long-awaited calendar debut with a race on a modified version of the Sao Paulo street track that IndyCar visited from 2010 to 2013.

A Berlin double-header, which may once again use two different track configurations for its two races, rounds off the first half of the season and then the remaining races take place in Monaco, Jakarta, Portland, Rome and London.

114 JanuaryMexico CityMexico
227 JanuaryRiyadhSaudi Arabia
328 JanuaryRiyadhSaudi Arabia
411 FebruaryHyderabadIndia
525 FebruaryCape TownSouth Africa
625 MarchSao PauloBrazil
722 AprilBerlinGermany
823 AprilBerlinGermany
906 MayMonacoMonaco
1003 JuneJakartaIndonesia
1104 JuneJakartaIndonesia
1224 JunePortlandUSA
1315 JulyRomeItaly
1416 JulyRomeItaly
1529 JulyLondonUnited Kingdom
1630 JulyLondonUnited Kingdom

Teams and drivers

While the big news on the surface is Maserati and McLaren’s arrival and Abt’s return, the story that has really got the paddock talking is Mahindra’s appointment of Frederic Bertrand as their new CEO after the departure of long-time team boss Dilbagh Gill.

Reigning champion Vandoorne joins DS Penske squad
Bertrand was director of the FIA’s Innovative Sport Activities department until he resigned and joined Mahindra last November, and therefore has been involved from the start in the development of FE’s new regulations and Gen3 car.

Mahindra has a change in its driver line-up, as Alexander Sims has left FE and 2016-17 champion Lucas di Grassi replaces him. Di Grassi had initially said he would rejoin Abt once it rejoined FE, having missed a season when powertrain supplier Audi pulled out, but has instead joined Mahindra after an interim year at Venturi.

Abt is now a Mahindra customer and partnered with Cupra, and have Robin Frijns and Nico Muller driving their cars.

With previous partner Techeetah gone, DS now supplies powertrains to Penske Autosport (previously known as Dragon Racing) and that deal has attracted reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne and two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne to the team. Sergio Sette Camara had been at Dragon, and NIO 333 has dropped Oliver Turvey to sign him.

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McLaren have taken over the winning Mercedes operation
Although Mercedes are out, McLaren took over their FE operation so many of the personnel – including team principal Ian James – remain in the paddock. The team will use Nissan powertrains, and Mercedes’ reserve Jake Hughes has effectively been promoted to a race seat alongside DTM champion Rene Rast.

Venturi navigated the exit of their powertrain supplier Mercedes by partnering with Stellantis to become Maserati, and were the benchmark team in pre-season testing with Maximilian Guenther and Edoardo Mortara.

A powertrain deal between Andretti Autosport and Porsche means Andre Lotterer moves to the customer team alongside Jake Dennis, and title-winning Techeetah refugee Antonio Felix da Costa takes his old seat at Porsche.

It’s all change at Nissan, who started running their team in-house partway through 2022 after it was previously operated by DAMS, with former Jaguar reserves Sacha Fenestraz and Norman Nato signed as their drivers. Sebastien Buemi has left Nissan for Envision Racing, replacing Abt-bound Frijns.

AbtRobin FrijnsNico Muller
AndrettiJake DennisAndre Lotterer
DS PenskeStoffel VandoorneJean-Eric Vergne
EnvisionNick CassidySebastien Buemi
JaguarMitch EvansSam Bird
MahindraOliver RowlandLucas di Grassi
MaseratiEdoardo MortaraMaximilian Guenther
McLarenRene RastJake Hughes
NIOSergio Sette CamaraDan Ticktum
NissanNorman NatoSacha Fenestraz
PorscheAntonio Felix da CostaPascal Wehrlein
The real racing gets underway this weekend in Mexico

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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13 comments on “New cars, new teams – and no more Fanboost: 2023 Formula E season preview”

  1. Should be one to watch, with the new cars and a lot of question marks coming into Mexico.

    1. Should be one to watch

      If I can find out where to watch consistently it will be, but the coverage has been so patchy in previous seasons I won’t be holding my breath

      1. Can’t even find it in the program guide to watch.

        Is it even on free to air in the UK ?

        1. Most of racing isn’t free to watch, only most GT and oldtimer races are free to watch.

        2. I think it may be on Eurosport @falken – so not Free to view

        3. For UK it’s live on Channel 4 YouTube’s channel.

  2. I’m intrigued for the first time since season 1, race 1.

  3. Very pleased they ditched Fanboost, however I will probably still not watch the series until they are running on proper, full length, permanent road courses. Not sure that will ever happen though, street courses seem to be their bread and butter.

  4. Fanboost has finally been dropped

    It took 9 years to remove this unsporting feature, quite a shame really. Even if it is useless half the time it’s always been included in the whole as a sporting factor while it’s clearly not. But hey, good news finally.

    That Attack Charge is basically refueling revisited and it may bring some interesting strategies, FE having no tyre strategies to multiply possibilities. It could unpack the cars though, so less trains probably.

  5. Articles on FE are such a waste of storage space.

  6. I stopped watching FE races around season 4, but these are the kind of moves that might, probably, bring me back to paying attention again. I always hope for a driver’s series to succeed, without (so many) gimmicks. Fingers crossed.

  7. All sounds good, I might look for some audio software to tweak some treble peaks out of Jack’s commentary.

  8. If you’ve ever driven in Portland (and I certainly have) you’d know the natives would be praying the race is at Portland International Raceway. Downtown Portland is a gridlocked mess; I can’t see how the city council would ever agree to block of a section of downtown on a summer Friday and Saturday……… the freeways aren’t any better. I’ve raced at PIR, nice track, and we could finally see these machines on a real track. Good advances with the technical aspects of the cars, but man they are really fugly.

Comments are closed.