What we have learned from Formula E Season Six
The series evolution ahead of the problems of a challenging year
Weeks after the end of the 2019/20 season, Formula E remains on vacation. So, we still have time to focus on everything that happened during the year and analyze the pros and cons, the good and the bad. Finally, all the lessons we learned from Formula E season six.
We’ve talked a lot about Antonio Félix da Costa’s title, about the Berlin Season Finale, and about the various changes that have happened since last year.
At the end of season five, we made an analysis that included the performance of drivers and teams. We made it again after this season, but I think it is important to evaluate also how the category evolved during the 11 races disputed in its sixth year of existence.
Punishments applied more quickly
One of the biggest ghosts of Formula E season five was the delay in the application of punishments. Several times, changes in the final result of the race were announced hours after the final flag, even affecting the winner of the race.
The series committed itself to solve these problems and delivered it. Since Diriyah, the commissioners worked faster and even the post-race punishments were still out in the first half-hour after the end of the race and they, almost in their totality, did not affect podiums or point zones.
Certainly one of the greatest evolutions of the category as a whole.
New Attack Mode and Safety Car rules
One of the great news of the championship last year was improved in 2019/20.
Unlike season five, now it was no longer allowed to go through the activation zone during the Safety Car or Full Course Yellow, the goal was to increase the importance and strategic level of the resource. Thus, activating the Attack Mode became riskier.
In Diriyah, it was still possible to “bypass” the system. The activation zone was located before the Post-Safety Car limit line, but in the other tracks, the rule had to be strictly followed. That was until Antonio Félix da Costa discovered the alternative entry of the activation zone in Berlin.
Another change in the rules of these two components was the deduction in the battery power level during Safety Car and Full Course Yellow. For each minute of interruption, 1kW was taken from each car.
The measure provided real drama at the end of some races. Cars crossing the finish line with almost zeroed battery became a common scene during the season. Good for the fans, but bad for some drivers and teams, like Antonio Felix da Costa who gave up his victory in Santiago for needing to manage the energy of his battery, and Felipe Massa in Berlin who did not even complete the second race on Thursday.
An innovation that allowed us to see the race through the racers’ eyes. The name “Driver’s Eye” is not for nothing, a camera placed inside the helmets gave us an idea of what it would be like to be inside a Formula E car and see up close the main disputes during the races.
The debut of the device happened in Santiago and was present in all stages of the season as a great attraction. Simply sensational! A great hit of the category, without the least doubt.
There’s not much to say here, better to enjoy it.
Dealing with the pandemic
When the world was still trying to understand the size of the threat the coronavirus could be, Formula E was one of the first racing series to stop its activities.
Five races had already been held, almost half of the initially planned season. But there was a pandemic midway through. Rounds began to be canceled as the disease progressed.
Rome, China, Jakarta… suddenly the season was suspended.
Practically the whole world was locked in their houses and Formula E also had to adapt to the new routine, more than that, it had to look for ways to ensure that the teams survived this time and be able to return to the tracks when the championship restarted.
Among the measures adopted to contain the costs and ensure the financial health of the teams and the category itself, there were the postponement of the launch of Gen2 EVO (which is already said to no longer be launched for the same reason) and postponement of the approval of the new power unit.
Formula E position while facing the pandemic was praised throughout the racing universe. The concern with drivers, fans, and their own team was prioritized, even with the whole financial issue and all the contracts involved, was the right thing to do.
In quarantine and with plenty of time at home, the category and its teams had to innovate to continue “racing” and the one who got into the “quarantine mood” was Envision Virgin Racing that partnered with Jelle’s Marble Runs and organized a marbles championship, with quali and official narration.
Race At Home Challenge
The virtual championship organized by the series lasted just over two months and was as exciting as the real races.
Despite a somewhat messy start with some drivers not being able to participate due to lack of equipment, it quickly became clear what Formula E brought with the project.
A junior category that allowed anyone to enter gave Kevin Siggy (the champion) the opportunity to drive a real Formula E car next season.
In addition, the unprecedented partnership with UNICEF has raised funds to help children affected by the pandemic.
The negative point of the Challenge was Daniel Abt’s “prank” that put one of the junior drivers to race in his place. Abt was fined by Formula E and fired from Audi shortly after. A stain on the event that had such an important meaning.
Even so, the virtual championship continued and it was Stoffel Vandoorne who took the trophy home!
And We Go Green
Yet during the season break, Formula E decided to launch ‘And We Go Green’ for everyone, a documentary that tells the story of the 4th season, held between 2017/18.
The protagonists are Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi, and Nelson Piquet Jr. The film, produced by Leonardo Dicaprio, also portrays Alejandro Agag’s vision of Formula E and his efforts to expand electric mobility around the world.
We, Boletim do Paddock, made a special BPCast (podcast) and a review text about the documentary. In addition, the film is available entirely on the Formula E channel on Youtube — worth watching, it’s great!
Berlin Season Finale
You may have followed all the coverage of the “Berlin Festival” here in the Boletim do Paddock, but if not, here is a series of texts about everything that happened in the six-day marathon in the German capital.
The decision on how Formula E season six would be concluded was announced on June 17. Drivers, teams and all the personnel involved in the event had just under 50 days to get prepared.
The event was one of the category’s biggest hits of the year. With all security measures taken, Formula E found the perfect place to end its atypical year at the old Tempelhof airport.
The creation of three distinct track layouts (or two if you consider that one was used in the opposite direction) gave the drama that the season needed to end its cycle. Despite the tragedy of having an employee losing his life during the track construction, the super final in Berlin brought elements that were contradictory and complementary at the same time.
The conquest of the championship by Antonio Félix da Costa, the unprecedented victories of Oliver Rowland and Stoffel Vandoorne, the fight for second place, and the announcement of Felipe Massa’s departure were some of the highlights of a bold and very well executed plan for the series.
Now we have to wait for Formula E seventh season which is scheduled to start on January 16, 2021, in Chile, until then we will still have a lot of movement of drivers and teams, the pre-season in November and exclusive content in the Boletim do Paddock social media.
Do you already want to make some predictions? Tell us!
Article originally published on 07/09/2020 at BoletimdoPaddock.com