Founded by Alain Prost and Jean-Paul Driot, Renault e.dams has the benefit of stability this season since it is represented by the same two drivers, namely the reigning champion Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost, winner of the most recent Formula E race. The performance of the Renault Z.E. 16 has been optimised, meanwhile.
Despite increasingly fierce competition from rival outfits, Renault e.dams quite simply wants to win the Teams’ title for the third season in a row and defend the Drivers’ crown it claimed in 2015/2016 thanks to Sebastien Buemi.
Renault was the first carmaker to invest in Formula E. As a technical partner, it assisted the organisers with its experience as a manufacturer of electric vehicles to establish a safety-related brief for the series. It also entered the championship as a team in its own right (Renault e.dams).
Organised for the first time in 2014/2015, Formula E is the first global championship to feature all-electric single-seater racing cars. It stands out as a shop window for electric mobility by taking place in the streets of major city centres. The cars resemble conventional single-seaters but make far less noise on the race track.
You only have to look at the entry list to see that Season 3 has attracted a raft of leading automotive names, with Jaguar, Audi and BMW racing alongside Renault, DS, Mahindra and Venturi. Meanwhile, Mercedes has announced its intention to join the fray in 2018/2019. Formula E is very much the place to be!
Formula E is exploring totally uncharted territory and is in the very early days of its development. The power unit technology employed this season produces 270 horsepower, a figure that is well short of the almost 900hp boasted by today’s Formula 1 racers. Be patient, however!
Formula E tends to take place around relatively short temporary circuits in city centres. To cope with hazards like manhole covers, the cars’ ground clearance is half as much again compared with that of a Formula 1 car!
Formula E meetings are packed into a single day. The races themselves last 40 or so minutes, with drivers swapping cars halfway through. There is no formation lap prior to the start!
The drivers are allocated a given quantity of electricity which they must optimise thanks to the cars’ ability to recover energy that is otherwise wasted under braking. Careful management of this energy is one of the keys to success. Almost 20 percent of the original allowance can be recovered in this way!
The main changes are the involvement of three more manufacturers and the addition of new cities to the calendar: New York, Montreal, Marrakech and Hong Kong. The technical regulations have not changed for 2016/2017, however. The teams are free to use their own motor, gearbox and battery management system.