Longer races a challenge for Formula E teams

Energy management could be crucial to clinching the Formula E crown this season, as longer races and increased useable energy push the second generation of cars to their limits.

With just five days until the start of the 2015/16 Formula E season, Amlin Andretti Autosport team boss Roger Griffiths has warned that efficiency and race management could be the crucial difference between victory and being an also-ran in Beijing.

The length of the season opener has been extended to 26 laps, from 25 laps last year, and Autosport has reported that it expects other races to follow this trend. Furthermore, with an additional 20kW of power available from the same-size battery, drivers will need to show intelligence to ensure they are able to push at the right time.

Speaking to Autosport, Griffiths commented: “It will influence how the races are going to be run because they will be pushing us harder to get to the end. We have a higher output but the same amount of energy – so it’s going to be a challenge.”

“Yes you’ll want to make use of that 170kW but you’ll have to be careful otherwise you’ll run out of energy. There’ll be a great emphasis on energy management. Extending the races makes the challenge even harder.”

“That will be pretty challenging. It was not possible last season to run at 150kW continuously, you had to coast, to regen – either you were using energy at too great a rate or it was overheating.”

Amlin Andretti Autosport has joined Team Aguri in utilising the season-one Spark SRT_01E powertrain, although the American squad did test its own solution at the pre-season session in Donington, which proved to be highly unreliable.

While Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have produced the batteries for the first two Formula E seasons, it is believed that the tender to manufacturer the batteries for the third season will be launched later this year. WAE face stiff competition from Rimac Automobili, while it has been mooted that teams will collaborate and pool their knowledge to develop the technology behind the batteries.

WAE have previously stated that increasing the maximum available power during the 2015/16 Formula E championship is “worth the risk”. The additional power available to FanBoost winners will also be a factor for teams to consider in order to maintain optimum pace without placing excessive strain on the cars’ hardware.

The 2015/16 Formula E season commences in Beijing on 24th October.

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