Racing lines: Formula E needs less contact for more impact

Racing lines: Formula E needs less contact for more impact

“You’re representing a big brand, and it’s a bad show. Even in karting, the kids are racing more fairly than us in Formula E. In karting, if you hit somebody and you break something, you get disqualified. They don’t care why it happened; if it has happened, that’s the rule. Why can’t we do the same thing in Formula E? I don’t understand.”

The tight nature of the Formula E circuits is an obvious contributor, but so too is the strength of the front wings and wheel arches. Drivers know they can biff without too much consequence. That should change with Gen3 in 2023, because from what we’ve seen from teaser images, the wheel coverings will soon be gone, leaving wheels and suspension more vulnerable.

Winning on merit

Before Gen3, a new and less convoluted knockout qualifying format for 2022 has improved the mood among drivers. It promises to make Formula E more of a meritocracy than a lottery without reducing the racing spectacle. Anything that simplifies the series is also a good thing, because this is complicated motorsport to follow for fans and competitors alike. 

So do these drivers actually enjoy racing in Formula E? “100%,” said Félix da Costa, who agreed with Vergne on the amount of contact. “It’s probably the series where I have the most fun.”

Vergne was less sanguine (as usual). “Not really for me,” he grumbled. “The way qualifying was working, you did the best job with your team and then found yourself qualifying 15th with idiots who crash into you. I really didn’t enjoy that. If it had continued like that, I’m not sure I would be racing in this championship. I’m here to win races, not to gamble. If I want to gamble, I will go to a casino. 

“It’s not normal that you come to the last race in the championship with 18 drivers being able to win the title. [Yes, that really was the case in 2021.] There’s something wrong, and for me this wasn’t enjoyable. I want to enjoy good days because I’ve worked hard to be the best. That’s it. So I’m very happy to see the changes that Formula E has made.”