The Valencia E-Prix drew a lot of criticism when five cars were disqualified, and three others stopped on the last lap of the race. Now the FIA has announced a rule change.
When there was a deduction of 1kWh after the fifth safety car phase in the race, the fate of many cars was sealed. A quarter of the field was either disqualified or didn’t even reach the finish line. That’s because at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in June 2019, it was decided that race control would be allowed to take away 1kWh of the cars’ total 52kWh of available energy per lap behind the safety car.
However, according to Article 37.9 of the Formula E Sport Regulations, race control can also overrule this rule if necessary. This was the huge mistake at the Spain E-Prix, because strong braking zones were missing on the track, which normally means a return of energy. But this was not possible and therefore many cars finished without residual energy.
Now the FIA has changed this regulation. From now on, after the 40-minute mark (in a 45-minute +1 lap race), there will no longer be an energy deduction so that the cars can still make it to the finish.
The statement from the FIA states: “Following what happened in race one in Valencia, the FIA and the promoter do not wish to see a similar scenario happen again.”
“With that in mind, and to prevent any further risk of miscalculation in regard to the energy consumption, it has been decided to no longer apply energy reduction if a safety car period ends beyond the 40th minute of a race.”
“This will grant teams an additional margin for error, without detracting in any way from the spirit of Formula E, in which energy management is a key element.”
This update comes despite the fact that the FIA Director of Formula E, Frederic Bertrand, had told the leader of the race (Antonio Felix da Costa) to delay the restart so that the race lasts only one lap (the 45 minutes had already expired).
This new rule will apply from the next race this weekend in Monaco.