Formula E to consider circuit changes to accommodate Gen3 cars

Formula E to consider circuit changes to accommodate Gen3 cars

The incoming ruleset, which will feature a 350kW drive motor at the rear of the car, is expected to cut laptimes down by around five to seven seconds thanks to the increased power on offer.

This means that some of the smaller, tighter circuits will now be largely unsuitable to accommodate the more powerful cars – or to showcase the higher power limits that the teams now have access to.

Reigle explained that the series was conducting ongoing discussions with circuit promoters – including Paris, which hosted races between 2016 and 2019 on a layout 1.2 miles in length – to increase the size of the circuits to allow the drivers to reach higher overall speeds.

“All things being equal, [the Gen3 cars are] going to go faster and there’s going to be much more opportunity for overtaking,” Reigle said, when asked by Motorsport.com about the impact of Gen3 cars on circuit design.

“Clearly there are some circuits within Formula E that there’s going to be challenges with acceleration and [showing the] improvement in the quality of the cars.

“So the one that people talk about a lot actually is Paris, with lots of 90 degree turns. It’s very much a city circuit, but that’s going to be a challenge.

“We’re having a conversation with Paris around ‘can we change the configuration of the track’ as we’d still love to race there, and we plan to do so in ’23 onwards.”

Alberto Longo, Deputy CEO, Chief Championship Officer of Formula E with Jamie Reigle, CEO of Formula E

Alberto Longo, Deputy CEO, Chief Championship Officer of Formula E with Jamie Reigle, CEO of Formula E

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Reigle pointed to the example of Formula E’s transition to the full-size Monaco circuit for the 2020-21 season, having used a shortened version previously, and its ability to create a thrilling race despite the natural comparisons in speeds to Formula 1.

“If I look at Monaco, there was an interesting discussion last year when we raced on the full track for the first time, a lot of debate about laptimes: will the Formula E car be slow?

“Relative to a Formula 1 car, I think everyone accepts that F1 cars are, are quicker.

“But what we saw [in Formula E] was 65 overtakes, six lead changes, and an incredible car race. And so what we think will happen with the Gen3 is more of the same, except we’ll go five, six, seven seconds a lap quicker.

“So I think there’s plenty of room for us to be able to expand in the current footprint, some of the circuits we’re going to have to evaluate and we do that with the FIA to make sure that things are safe and can lead to good, exciting racing.”

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When asked if Saudi Arabia would consider extending the size of the Diriyah E-Prix circuit, currently 2.495km (1.55mi) in length, Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation president Prince Khalid bin Sultan al-Faisal explained that he would consider any options to help ensure the race created more excitement under the new formula.

“With the plans and the [new] cars, whatever we can do to make it more challenging and more thrilling, we’d love to do that,” he said.

“Whatever we can offer, and if we can do something new, we would love to – even if it had to be to change the length of the track. Our goal is our race needs to be special.

“It’s very important to make our races, more exciting, more thrilling, and this is our aim – we want to offer the best race.”