2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Season

While Formula 1 and MotoGP are finishing their seasons in November, FIA Formula E will be starting their sixth with a double header in Saudi Arabia this week.

Teams

There are two very notable additions to this season’s grid when it comes to the team’s, those being Porsche and Mercedes who will be making their debut in the sport.

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This also means that the series will be expanding to twelve teams thanks to Porsche entering as a new entrant. Mercedes on the other hand will be taking over HWA’s entry from the previous season.

The other ten teams to have competed last season will contest this season as well, although it is worth noting that the NIO 333 FE Team is under new ownership.

Rookies and previous champions

There will be four rookies in the series this season with Nyck de Vries coming off the back of his 2019 FIA Formula 2 championship triumph to take one of the seats at the Mercedes team. He will be racing alongside Stoffel Vandoorne who will contest his second season in the series.

The GEOX Dragon team will be fielding two of the four rookies with Swiss driver Nico Muller racing alongside Brendon Hartley at the American team. Muller has tested Formula E machinery before, during last season, while Hartley is new to the series having raced most recently in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and in Formula 1 in 2018.

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The final rookie in the series is Briton James Calado who will be driving for the Jaguar team alongside Mitch Evans, who will contest his fourth season with the British team.

Reigning, two time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne will be joined by past champions Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi on the grid. The three have remained in their respective teams with Vergne at Techeetah, di Grassi at Audi and Buemi at Nissan.

The only absent Formula E champion is Nelson Piquet Jr. who separated with Jaguar mid-way through season five.

ePrix

The season will begin in Saudi Arabia, as it did last season. It will be the only race contested in 2019 with all others taking place in 2020. It will also be one of two venues to host a double header, with the first race taking place on 22 November and the second being held the following day.

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DOUBLE POINTS FINISH FOR PANASONIC JAGUAR RACING TO START FORMULA E SEASON FIVE” by Jaguar MENA is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The second round of the season will take place in Chile before Mexico City and Marrakesh will host ePrix in February.

The first European race of the season will be in Rome in early April, coming off the back of March’s Sanya ePrix in China.

The Paris ePrix will also take place in April before the series visits two new venues from May to early June with the inaugural Seoul ePrix in South Korea in early May followed by the Jakarta ePrix in Indonesia in early June.

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The sport will see out the season by going to Germany in late June before heading to New York in July.

The season will conclude with the second double header in London which returns to the calendar having last featured in the second season of Formula E.

Rule changes

There are a few tweaks to the technical and sporting regulations for the upcoming season.

The Attack Mode that was introduced in season five has seen its power increased to 235 kW. To add to this is another Attack Mode tweak which is that drivers are now no longer allowed to activate it during Full Course Yellow and Safety Car periods.

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Speaking of Full Course Yellow and Safety Cars, a new rule has been introduced where every minute spent under either condition will see 1 kWh subtracted from the total available energy from the cars, this will be measured from the point at which the race was neutralised. This is to ensure that energy management remains key throughout a race, rather than them becoming sprints after prolonged Full Course Yellow or Safety Car periods.

The final regulation changes involve the procedure when a race is suspended where the countdown clock will stop, unless announced by the Race Director, in the hope of completing the full race time.

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The last change of note is that in addition to three points awarded to the driver starting on pole position, an additional point will be given to the driver who sets the fastest lap during qualifying. This could therefore effectively see the pole position driver get three points but the driver in fifth for example get a point as they set the fastest lap across the whole of the qualifying session, which will consist of five segments.

The season ahead

Season six has quite a lot to live up to with plenty of attention going to be on Mercedes and Porsche considering the success the two have had in other motorsport series such as Formula 1 and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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There is also the wonder as to whether the upcoming season can live up to season five where eight different drivers won the first eight races. To expand on this, nine different drivers won across the thirteen races contested during the season, with Vergne taking command of the championship late on.

As always, there are other stories that will develop throughout 2019-20, including how the four new rookies will perform and exactly which drivers and teams will emerge as the season six title challengers.

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