Formula E

Formula E launch car at Frankfurt Auto Show

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    Here’s the car for the new Formula E championship which will begin in 2014:

    Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E, 2013

    Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E, 2013

    Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E, 2013

    FIA President Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, revealed the much-anticipated new Spark-Renault SRT_01E fully-electric single-seater during the opening day of the prestigious 65th International Frankfurt Motor Show.

    Watched by invited guests and members of the press, the SRT_01E has been designed and built by Spark Racing Technology, headed by the renowned Frédéric Vasseur, together with a consortium of the leading manufacturers in motorsport, and will compete in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship – the world’s first global electric race series beginning in September 2014.

    Using the very latest technology, the SRT_01E aims to push the boundaries of what is currently achievable in electric motorsport, whilst ensuring a balance between cost-effectiveness and sustainability, in addition to coping with the demands of racing entirely on city-centre circuits.

    The car’s monocoque chassis has been constructed by leading Italian firm Dallara and has been aerodynamically designed to aid overtaking. Made from carbon fibre and aluminium, the chassis will fully comply with the 2014 FIA crash tests.

    Providing the electric motor, gearbox and electronics is McLaren Electronics Systems, the world leader in high- performance technology for motorsport. Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams group of companies that includes the world famous Williams F1 Team, is responsible for the design and supply of the batteries and their battery management systems; producing 200kw (the equivalent of 270bhp).

    Overseeing all the systems integration, performance optimisation and powertrain electrical safety is Formula E’s Technical Partner Renault, a leader in electric vehicles and an expert in motorsport thanks to its Renault Sport Technologies and Renault Sport F1 programmes. Meanwhile, custom made 18-inch treaded tyres have been created by Official Tyre Partner Michelin, with just one durable tyre to cater for both wet and dry conditions and helping to reduce overall costs and promote sustainability.

    “I congratulate all partners involved in the production of the fully-electric SRT_01E car – it is a fantastic achievement,” said FIA President Jean Todt. “The innovative technology deployed follows the best environmental practices, highlighting the potential of the Formula E Championship to spark a revolution in the development of new electromobility systems, not just for motorsport but also for everyday use. This new championship builds on the FIA’s traditional role as a leading promoter of innovation, technology and performance in the automotive sector.”

    The car, which has been 10 months in the making, will be used by all 10 teams and 20 drivers competing in the new zero emission series although only for the first season as Formula E is an ‘open championship’ designed to encourage manufacturers to build their own car to help accelerate R&D around the electric vehicle. A total of 42 cars will be produced by Spark with each driver using two cars during the one hour races.

    Alejandro Agag, CEO of Championship promoter Formula E Holdings, said: “With Formula E being an open championship, the series gives manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their electrical energy innovations and we’re delighted to have Spark Racing Technology as the first, and for them to produce our new fully-electric Formula E car. Spark has enlisted the very best companies in motorsport to aid with its development, with Dallara, Renault, McLaren, Williams and Michelin all leaders in their respective fields and it’s an honour to welcome them here today. The Frankfurt Motor Show is also the perfect environment to reveal our new car. Many leading manufacturers at the Show today are unveiling their new electric road cars but not just one offs, full car ranges, demonstrating how times have changed and why the time is right to launch the new FIA Formula E Championship.”

    Frédéric Vasseur, President of Spark Racing Technology, added: “I am extremely proud and happy to work with the partners Spark has gathered together to form this unique consortium, a first in the history of motorsport. I regard each and every one of these partners with the highest esteem, I have worked with them throughout my career and they have accompanied me in a lot of the successes I have been fortunate to achieve in my other activities in traditional motorsport. All consortium members are driven by a motivation to make this innovative project a success.”

    Patrice Ratti, CEO of Renault Sport Technologies, said: “As a global leader for the production of electric vehicles and with a unique expertise in motorsports ever since the company was founded, the choice of Renault as technical partner to develop the fully-electric SRT_01E car for the FIA Formula E championship was obvious. Renault engineers and motorsport experts are directly contributing to the overall powertrain architecture and are in charge of electric systems’ specifications and integration, benefiting from the experience acquired while developing the new 2014 Renault-Energy-F1 Power Unit. Renault is also working with Spark to enhance the performance and safety level of the SRT_01E car powertrain. The objective is to design an outstanding race car that will be clean, reliable, safe as well as fast and responsive.”

    Peter van Manen, Managing Director of McLaren Electronic Systems, said: “These cars are going to be brilliant racing through the centres of cities. Electric motors deliver instant torque and acceleration and that is what McLaren is all about. Performance and efficiency. Our electric motor, developed originally for the McLaren P1™, has the highest power-to-weight ratio in the world. McLaren is proud to provide the performance behind Formula E.”

    Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal of Williams, commented; “Motorsport is moving towards a greener future and the FIA Formula E Championship will be a prime opportunity to showcase the latest green technology that has its origins in motor racing. Williams has a track record in developing hybrid technologies and we are proud to be supplying the battery and battery management system for the car that is being launched today. These components will be a pivotal part of what makes the car so green and the team at Williams Advanced Engineering is working hard to develop a battery system that is reliable and makes for excellent racing.”

    Andrea Pontremoli, CEO of Dallara Automobili, said: “With our single-seater cars running successfully in the most important categories and championships all over the world, we could not lose the opportunity to be part of the new Formula E exciting challenge and we are very thankful to our long term partner Frédéric Vasseur for the credit he gave us. We will use all our experience and know how to design and build the best possible chassis in terms of performance, reliability, ease of use and safety. The safety aspect is particularly important for us and we are working hard with Spark and the FIA to set new safety standards for such an innovative championship.”

    Pascal Couasnon, Director of Michelin Motorsport, added: “Michelin is the official tyre supplier to the FIA Formula E Championship for the next three years [2013 to 2015]. This new discipline is of special interest to Michelin because it is a means to work on the design of efficient tyres to optimise the range of the formula’s single-seater cars. These solutions need to be extremely versatile in order to adapt to different weather conditions without losing any of their pedigree as genuine racing tyres. For Michelin, it is an additional opportunity to carry over the innovations developed for motorsport from the race track to the street.”

    As well as Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, the launch event was also attended by representatives from all the Championship’s partners, sponsors and teams together with development driver Lucas di Grassi and newly-announced Racing Ambassador Gil de Ferran.

    The SRT_01E will now remain at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the duration of the event, with a duplicate car also on display at the FIA Mobility Conference in The Hague on Tuesday, 11th September. After that it will undergo a stringent FIA crash test followed by an extensive testing programme.

    Lucas Wilson


    I love this series! Is it possible I could become a mod for this group?


    Note the car will have the same tyres for wet and dry weather:


    @full-throttle-f1 There’s not much to moderate here yet! But sure, drop me a line here:

    Lucas Wilson

    Cheers Keith, sent you the mail :-)


    An IndyCar/Formula Renault 3.5 mix of a car. I quite like it but the big the front wing. Can’t wait September 2014!


    I’m slightly confused by the tyres…I thought Michelin had created a slick tyre that could be run in the wet, why aren’t they using it here? Is it just a replacement for dry and inters but they still need separate full wets? (and how the hell do they make slicks that work in the wet anyway?)


    A Dallara chassis that doesn’t have a shark fin or stepped nose! Rejoice!

    @jodrell Those slicks you are talking about are more an intermediate tyre than a full wet. They’re porous and somehow soak the water into them, but they’re only useful on a damp or drying track as the water still needs to evaporate out of them at some point.


    Interesting ideas with the tyres. Its clear that they used that to push Pirelli in the F1 negotiations, but I would be quite curious to see how such tyres would go in F1. Not sure they wouldn’t still need monsoon rain tyres at some places though.


    Everytime I see a car with a nice wide and low rear wing, I am reminded of what we have in F1 nowadays :-(

    I do hope the formula takes off and we can see it in some of the cities not too far off and for a reasonable price. Seeing how much success the City Racing events have, I would think this could also make for a great event (we might even have a Williams or McLaren being showcasted as part of the program. Or an Indycar etc.) I think the race in Berlin is closest to where I live. But I would love to see Prague included!


    The car’s monocoque chassis has been constructed by leading Italian firm Dallara and has been aerodynamically designed to aid overtaking.

    Wait, someone with knowledge of aerodynamics built this car? Because it looks like it was designed by someone who vaguely knows what a single seater ‘should’ look like.

    But anyway, the idea of Formula E is extremely clever: if FE (let’s abbreviate it like that) manages to gain an audience, for instance by broadcasting their races live on Y0utube, the sponsors will be waiting in line. What company doesn’t want to be associated with a series that is supposedly “sparking a revolution in the development of new electromobility systems, not just for motorsport but also for everyday use” – which is nominated for hyperbole of the year, but the audience doesn’t have to know that!

    Which brings me to my main concern: I’m afraid that this is going to be more of a showcase thing than an actual championship. The racing is part of the whole spectacle, but the main thing that people will remember from such a championship is the fact that the cars are electric. That doesn’t imply that the racing can’t be good, but it means that the concept behind the series is not purely to complete a certain distance as fast as possible (which is historically what ‘racing’ should be all about).


    Maybe the colors and the Michelin tyres and rims have something to do with it, but it really reminds me of the Audi R8 LMP, but open wheeled. If F1 were to move to this rim-size, that would take a lot of getting used to, I think. I like Michelin’s approach to this series, too, but can’t help but feel it’s better suited here than in F1. At least for now.

    And I must say; in this picture the wheels look a little better on the car than in those studio shots;

    I hope this unveil will also spark some more team announcements. It’s been kinda quiet on that front..

    To be fair, a lot of series these days are basically more about ‘let’s see how fast a certain car/engine can go around a track’ with the main focus on the manufacturers or models than pure racing. I enjoy the World Series by Renault, but that’s basically Renault showing off their racing pedigree as well. Personally, I’m not too concerned people will think of this as ‘those electric cars’ a lot more than ‘those mini F1 cars’ about F3, F2, FR 2.0, FR 3.5 etc.

    Lucas Wilson

    FE is a great idea and I can’t wait to see it prosper, I’ve been a fan since day 1

    Iestyn Davies

    I still think they should try and get the Tesla battery swap system involved in the racing action. It would basically be the equivalent of a tyre pit stop – and be the same amount of time too. Really is cutting edge technology. The wireless charging is good, and recharging strips of track is also cutting edge. So far, car swaps remind me of driver swaps in endurance racing!

    The Abbinator

    A brilliant idea, possibly poorly executed… I would forego the batteries in favour of an on board generator running on ethanol, thus eliminating the need to use two cars in a race. The sprint to your second car seems a bit clumsy and ill-conceived. It is in the embryonic stage, so things like the power train and lack of different manufactures are to be forgiven, but if it is to advance technology, then they will need to let the teams be the manufacturers. The thing I most like is the acceleration curve and the aero design to minimise dirty air and encourage overtakes. Given equal kit, the driver skill will be more of a factor, as will reliability, than we see in F1 today. Still, the idea of having to swap cars in the middle of a race seems artificial. They should just hold two races with the starting grid for he second race being the same as the finish of the 1st – also give points for qualy. I can see why an all-weather tyre was the idea – to avoid probs with live electrics in the wet while changing out the tyres, but a bit of a shame hat they are not going to have the same levels of mech grip as on slicks. Overall, I will watch and hope they think of improvements, open up the design and attract good drivers who otherwise can no longer find an F1 seat – Kovalainen, Davidson, etc.

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