Formula E: Split Power Modes and New Racing Format for Season Five

The FIA has worked hard to make sure the upcoming Formula E season is even more exciting than before.

Nico Rosberg, Formula 1 World Champion and Formula E investor, drives the Formula E track car.
Zak Mauger

The FIA and Formula E racing series have laid out their plans for the upcoming season five of the all-electric racing series, which will see the deployment of brand-new cars, the addition of new teams, and an influx of new drivers and racing venues.

The biggest change from the previous seasons will be the Gen-2 race car, of course, but with it comes a myriad of new rules and regulations that are tailored for the new car and its unique characteristics. The first major change will be the racing format during race day and during the racing weekend. The new car's ability to store more energy means that drivers will no longer have to come into the pits and swap cars, which meant that some of the "gambling" or "risky" aspects of Formula E are coming to an end.

Formula E

In response to that, the FIA is making it mandatory for drivers to use two different power modes in a race distance, which will no longer be tied to a number of laps, but will be timed to 45 minutes plus one lap. According to the statement from the FIA, drivers will be able to access 225 kilowatts of power in a higher mode once they’ve passed through a single activation zone, as opposed to the standard 200 kilowatts available during the race. The activation zone will be clearly visible and marked on the circuit for fans trackside and watching on TV, much like fans are aware of DRS zones in Formula 1.

The two power modes on each car will be indicated using different colors on the nifty LEDs located on the cars' Halo. Again, much like track officials do in Formula 1, the exact number of individual uses and relative duration of the higher power mode will vary at each event and will be determined by the FIA. That being said, teams and drivers will be able to use it at their discretion, if available. The interactive voting system called Fanboost will remain for season five.

Formula E

“The ABB FIA Formula E Championship has always produced highly-competitive and unpredictable racing," said Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E. "Formula E is synonymous with innovation and pioneering technology - that’s exactly what we’ll be seeing again next season with the step-up in performance and efficiency of the futuristic next-generation car, as well as trialling unique and radical concepts to usher in a new era of Formula E."

Lastly, the qualifying format will be tweaked to accommodate 22 cars total. The new format will see the top-six fastest drivers battle it out to secure the pole position following their group stages, which remain intact. Season five of the FIA Formula E will kick off in the Middle East Dec. 15.