Anticipation is running high ahead of Season 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship – a 14-race campaign contested in a dozen major cities around the world – which opens with a return to the ancient setting of Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, over November 22–23. Building on the momentum of a rapidly expanding Formula E audience and the surging global embrace of electric mobility, the new season arrives on a wave of headline-making developments.
Among the leading talking points are the addition of races in Seoul, South Korea, and Jakarta, Indonesia. The new season also brings the return of London to the 2019-2020 schedule, where the championship chase will wrap up with a double-race weekend on July 25-26. Those rounds will use an unprecedented indoor-outdoor course routed along the Thames waterfront at the Royal Docks and through the ExCeL London exhibition center.
The growing fan base for ABB Formula E, which drew more than 400,000 spectators attending the city-street races in Season 5 and a cumulative television audience of 411 million (an increase of 24 per cent over Season 4), is a clear indicator of the interest in renewable energy and electric mobility. At race after race, thrilling track action demonstrated the potential of EV performance to a youthful, social-media savvy audience.
Both motorsport fans and tech-heads eagerly await this season’s arrival of first-time factory entries from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, both renowned motorsports competitors, to create a 24-car grid. These two premium German entrants arrive in conjunction with their companies’ release of fully electric road cars, delivering a cross-pollination of motor, battery and charging technologies that will help drive global EV adoption.
Since the conclusion of Season 5 in New York last July, teams re-convened last month for three days of pre-season testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain. There, they were able to track-test new components and introduce new drivers. Among those beginning a new relationship is Swiss ABB Ambassador Simona De Silvestro, who this season will be test and reserve driver for Porsche.
The addition of acclaimed racing teams and several top-level drivers, such as highly rated 2019 Formula 2 champion Nick de Vries at Mercedes, are not all that magnify the intensity of competition in Season 6. Rule changes intended both to boost speeds and reward energy management are in place. The available power level when Attack Mode is operational has been kicked up to 235 kilowatts (320 horsepower), and it can now be activated only under green-flag racing conditions (eliminating access during caution periods).
The rule changes are engineered to keep the competition close and to showcase the special advantages of the powertrains in the second-generation Formula E cars. Championship points can now be earned by the fastest driver in each of the qualifying group stages, adding an incentive to perform at peak even before the race begins. A battle to the final moments of each 45-minute race is assured by a new policy of subtracting onboard energy reserves from the batteries when a mishap causes the cars to run at lower speeds, as they do during a safety-car condition or full-course caution flag.
Racing gets underway with Jean-Éric Vergne as the driver with the target on his back, after back-to-back victories in the drivers’ championship across Season 4 and Season 5. This year he is joined on the DS Techeetah team by Antonio Felix da Costa, a series veteran.
Last season’s strong competition – eight different winners in the first eight races – can be expected to intensify with the arrival of several big-name competitors, such sportscar champions Brendon Hartley (to Geox Dragon) and Neel Jani (Tag Heuer Porsche).
ABB Formula E events will feature a second season of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, a support series for racing versions of the Jaguar I-PACE electric SUV. Contested over the course of 10 rounds in eight cities, the I-PACE eTROPHY series showcases the performance and durability of Jaguar’s battery-powered production EV. ABB, as the series’ official charging partner, will again supply specially modified Terra 53 DC chargers to the teams throughout Season 6.
ABB is the title partner in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, an international racing series for fully electric single-seat racecars. Its technology supports the events at temporary city-street courses around the globe. ABB is a world leader in fast-charger installations, with more than 11,500 units sold across 77 countries worldwide.
The race calendar of season 6
|1||Diriyah||Saudi Arabia||November 22, 2019|
|2||Diriyah||Saudi Arabia||November 23, 2019|
|3||Santiago||Chile||January 18, 2020|
|4||Mexico City||Mexico||February 15, 2020|
|5||Marrakesh||Morocco||February 29, 2020|
|6||Sanya||China||March 21, 2020|
|7||Rome||Italy||April 4, 2020|
|8||Paris||France||April 18, 2020|
|9||Seoul||South Korea||May 3, 2020|
||June 6, 2020|
|11||Berlin||Germany||June 21, 2020|
|12||New York||USA||July 11, 2020|
|13||London||UK||July 25, 2020|
|14||London||UK||July 26, 2020|