Technology: electric car racing

Parse the concept of the most advanced world racing series. We wonder what the recent legalized technical inequality will ultimately lead to? When all the environmentally uncleфan racing series finished, the second season of the electric Formula E started. According to the new rules, from now on, all teams are free to design electric motors and gearboxes on their own. This way went eight out of ten teams. Ninth did not have time to introduce a new engine, the tenth left last year’s standard unit. That is, technical inequality is legalized – in contrast to the first season, where all the cars were identical.

What will lead such an innovation? This clearly showed Sebastien Buemi at stages in China, Malaysia and Uruguay. On account of the Swiss two pole positions, the three best laps in the race and two wins. He stands for the team Renault e.DAMS – the only factory at the moment. Next, it is logical to assume the separation of teams into rich and poor, factory and private, large and small – call it what you want. Technical inequality in any car race always leads to this result.

Innovation of electric car racing

The original concept was, if not brilliant, then very uncommon. Without inventing anything particularly new, inspire the public that this is not just “another formula championship” – but the cutting edge of world engineering, literally on the verge of technological breakthroughs! And besides, for the first time in history – silently, environmentally friendly, through the streets of big cities. “An impressive platform for exchanging ideas”, “a platform for innovation with high potential in the consumer market”, “our fuel is so clean that it can be drunk” – with such phrases the championship organizers lured hundreds of thousands of spectators to the stands. Although not only phrases: the composition of the participants, saturated with former Formula 1 pilots, is strong and attractive. Plus Leonardo DiCaprio is in the unexpected role of the leader of one of the teams. Actually, not in the movies!

In fact there is nothing innovative in the car is not. The chassis, built by Dallara, is pretty, but absolutely typical of medium-sized racing formulas. And the main design decisions in terms of batteries and power units were borrowed from serial cars and electric vehicles. This is probably the very exchange of ideas. The largest technological achievement is still the so-called FanBoost. From the description: “innovation system.” Its essence is that the fans hold a vote in social networks, the results of which determine which of the riders will receive the right to short-term activation of the mode of increased power which, of course, will give him an advantage over rivals. Not sports, but fun!

Formula E technology: first self-driving racing car: is this the future of racing?

Taking into account the continuous improvement of automotive technology, the organizers of the Formula E Championship announced in November last year their plans to arrange a full-fledged race dedicated to self-driving cars. This competition is called Roborace. A few months after this announcement, the representatives of Formula E demonstrated the first self-driving race car to take part in the Roborace race. Apparently, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) made every effort so that the designer Daniel Simon could create this stunning model based on the concept of the films “Tron: Legacy” and “Oblivion”.

Compact, low (and green) combat machine

The first unmanned racing car in history is a brilliant black and light green model, which is a great toy for adult boys and girls. Simon noted that his only goal in creating projects for Roborace was to develop a vehicle that would become self-managing and at the same time retain its beauty. Aerodynamic specialists and race car engineers worked with him from the very beginning of the project in order to achieve this balance, he said. Simon, who is the project design director, stressed that we are living in an era where the once separated world of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars will face an “irresistible force”.

According to him, the agenda was the creation of a magnificent world-famous and flawless image, as well as strong downforce without using the extra parts that would pile up the car. How did they do it? Simon said they used the floor as the main aerodynamic device. They actually made manually acting body parts that are more solid and systematic than the existing ones.

Future electric cars ride

Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov said that Simon’s competence and passion is undeniable, and therefore this model will cause a stir throughout the world. Roborace, which Sverdlov called the “world championship in intelligence”, will be held during the Formula E 2016/2017 season. Despite the fact that other car makers, such as Ford and Toyota, are also developing their unmanned vehicles, it is still unknown whether they will participate in the competition. Moreover, advanced technologies are gradually becoming ubiquitous.

Secret files

Initially, a five-year plan for the technical development of Formula E was presented as a guarantee for partners, so that they know what to expect. But now they have deviated from this plan – some points have been rejected, others have been added. Among the expected “innovations” is the “aerodynamic improvement” DRS system. By golly it is written that way! This is about the bar by which the pilot opens a “slot” in the rear wing (introduced many years ago in Formula 1 to simplify overtaking). But the promised wireless recharge batteries postponed indefinitely. By the way, this technology also exists, but it is extremely unprofitable for one-time actions in the form of races through the streets of cities, because it involves the laying of communications under a layer of asphalt.

To maintain the mysterious reputation of the technical parameters of the machines are presented in an indigestible form. Instead of the usual horsepower appear exclusively kilowatts. So, in the second season, it is allowed to squeeze 170 motors out of the motors, not 150 kW. And by the third season, a division of the Williams F1 team will build new batteries. However, contrary to the plan of the five-year plan, they decided not to raise their output power from the current 28 to 32 kW, and the maximum – from 200 to 250 kW.

How are the batteries arranged? Oh, this is still a secret. Just keep in mind that calling a battery a battery is not quite right. Because it is something much more complicated. Namely – rechargeable energy storage system (RESS). An important explanation: it supplies electricity through a power circuit to a traction motor. How is the engine? This is a motor-generator (MHU), which, when slowed down, converts the mechanical energy of a rotating shaft into electricity and sends it to the battery. The principle is quite banal, but all the same, only general descriptions of the units are available – now that everyone builds their own motors. Secrets of the Madrid court, no comment. Mercy, good people, motor-generators have long been equipped with serial hybrids!

This genuine technological breakthrough is planned for the season 2018/2019. Here is no cheating! By this date, designers expect to create a machine that will withstand all 45 minutes of the distance. And the pilots will finally stop in the middle of the race to change to the second car, standing ready with a charged battery. In an amicable way, such a transplant is simply ridiculous for races, which position themselves as advanced. Just need to think hard before deciding on such a great bargain. After all, you have to order tires that are guaranteed not to last 45 minutes, especially for a pit stop in the race.

War of people and cars

The commercial acumen of the creators of Formula E is openly noted by prominent Formula One experts. Bernie Ecclestone, however, is skeptical and considers the electric championship to be ridiculous. But let’s see what he will say when Formula E has a support race. She has already come up with a name – Roborace, and the debut is expected next season. This is the arrival of unmanned vehicles that will lead the fight with each other without the participation of people. I would venture to make a prediction: the first starts of the Robokars may turn out to be super cool and, by entertainment, surpass everything seen before. After all, machines will probably be strange at first – due to the imperfection of the control programs.

Critics of this project, and among them the head of the Mercedes Motorsport team Toto Wolf, speak correctly and do not use words like “insanity”. Their opinion boils down to the fact that at all times, starting from the ancient Olympics, the audience was attracted to the competitions of people. Wolf admits that technology is moving in the direction of autonomous machines, which will go on sale in the foreseeable future. In essence, drone rides can entertain someone. But the demonstration of technology is not a sport. Formula-E promoter Alejandro Agag evasively objects: this is supposedly a competition of a different kind “a unique platform for manufacturers.” Directly begs for decoding: this is a competition of competing racing series for the money of large investors. Is not it? And at the same time for the youth audience, who likes everything cool.

Formula E drivers

Formula E drivers: team Amlin Aguri, pilots Antonio Felix da Costa, Catherine Legg, Takuma Sato

The brainchild of the former owner of the F1 team Aguri Suzuki and the British insurance company Amlin. The long-awaited and welcomed by all the return of a cool little team Super Aguri in the higher areas of racing. The main hope of the team among the pilots is the star of the Red Bull youth program, Antonio Felix da Costa. The Portuguese racer, in parallel with Formula E acting in DTM, at some stages gives way to the famous Japanese Takume Sato.

Dario Franchitti about Aguri team:

“As is the case with most of the other teams in Formula E, on the one hand, they are beginners. Yes, there are many experienced professional engineers and mechanics in their ranks. Thanks to Antonio da Costa, they have so much to hope for – this is a cool pilot. Catherine traveled a lot in various championships, but her main plus is the experience of racing behind the wheel of a Nissan Delta Wing monstrous machine. Probably the most difficult is to adapt racing car in the world. And she coped well with her management. There are talented guys in the Aguri team, but there’s enough of the unknown here. However, in such cases, time quickly puts everything in its place. And little-known teams have a good chance to show themselves. In any case, they would have to adapt even to the standard technique. But here all the rivals learn from scratch, and therefore Aguri has, if not an advantage, but some equality”.

Team Andretti Autosport, riders Frank Montagny and Charles Peak

At the head is Roger Griffiths, the most experienced technical director of Honda Performance. This is a very experienced team.

Dario Franchitti about the Andretti team in Formula E:

“In Andretti I spoke 10 years. I think that their strongest side is first-class knowledge for settings. In action, Dave Seyffert works – and this is racing engineer Allan MacDonald at the time of victories in Indy 500 and championship titles. The team of Formula E has several guys from Indianapolis, and these are strong professionals. While Andretti’s headquarters keeps an eye on Formula E, they will be in good shape. If they decide how to work with racing electric cars, they will decide it quickly, and then they will smash their rivals. As for the pilots – first of all, Frank. I find it incredibly fast. There is no doubt about it. His star in Indikara can fade away, so here he will make every effort to shine again. I am not very clear about their second car. I hardly know Charles Peak and the team too. Perhaps it would be worth from time to time to attract well-known riders – Matt Brabham, Ryan Hunter-Ray or Marco Andretti”.

Audi Sport Abt. Riders: Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt

One of the most famous teams – but in another championship, body DTM. They have long wanted to recreate an international team in “formulas”, and this opportunity presented itself. In the 90s, they already worked in the younger series of open-wills. Of course, Daniel Abt is the obvious choice for his father, the team leader. He performs well in GP2. Another Audi Sport Abt racer is Lucas di Grassi. He has a lot of experience thanks to his work as a test-pilot of the championship – it’s even strange how he was allowed to become a prize racer. This is a protege of Audi – a partner of the Abtov family. In Le Mans di Grassi, it is in this team that enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a fast and stable rider. If the team is able to impose the fight to more experienced rivals from the world of “formulas”, it will be great.

Dario Franchitti about Audi ABT:

“Lucas worked in Formula E with electric vehicles from day one. He has already given a lot for the development of the championship. He knows the technique better than anyone else, and he is very good at managing it. But Daniel Abt is a man from the opposite side in the table of ranks. This is a very young pilot who has a long way to go. In GP2 it turns out well, but no more. The team itself can handle the new job. Yes, outside the DTM they are not so well known, but in this championship they are a pro”.

DS Virgin Racing drivers: China racing – Nelson Piquet-ml, Ho-Pin Toon

The owners are from China, but the Campos guys are serving this team. Thanks to their experience, the start was quite good otherwise they would have to start from scratch. The company behind China Racing wants to produce its own electric cars, and sees Formula E as the main advertising platform. Despite the scandal linking F1 with the name of Piquet, Nelson always had enough speed and talent. If the team would be more experienced, then he could seriously claim the title. Thun is a Dutchman of Chinese descent. His name and image are great for the team for their marketing purposes. However, his level is frankly lower than that of most other Formula E riders.

Dario Franchitti about China Racing:

“Thanks to Adrian Campos, we can say that China Racing has the necessary experience in youth formulas. The team has a solid budget, and together with the experience of the Campos team in GP2 and other championships, everything can work out. But they should not claim high places – at least for now. Like a couple of other pilots of Formula E, Nelson was looking for the championship, which can be called his “home”. He drove the Nazcar pickups, performed in rallycross and similar races even chasing a kart in Miami. He generally likes racing. I think this is a good addition to the championship. Do not forget that in the youth formulas, he was successful, and in F1 he performed. As for Ho-Pin Tuna when I first spoke to him, I heard a distinct Dutch accent. But in Beijing he was a star and favorite. In Formula E, there are pilots of different levels, judging by their career. Ho-Pin Toon – racer is “second category” if I may say so”.

Dragon Racing. Riders: Jerome d’Ambrosio and Oriol Servia

The second American team in electric vehicle racing has undergone too much change before the first race. It was planned that there will be four-time champion Champ Car Sebastian Bourde and the star of IndyCara city racing Mike Conway. But at first Bourdais decided to focus on the main schedule – some races are taking place simultaneously with IndyCar. Then he joined and Conway, leaving Formula E in favor of sports cars and endurance races. Jay Penske suddenly hired the not-so-famous Belgian Jerome d’Ambrosio, and co-pilot invited Oriol Servius – an excellent choice.

Dario Franchitti about the Dragon-Penske team:

“Oriol Servia is a great choice. He will help the team to figure out what’s what in Formula E. Yes, and for him this is a good start for a future career. The guys from Dragon know how to handle racing cars. It is possible that at first they will not shine, because the race for them is new. But on the pre-season tests, I saw that every time this team almost spent the night in the pits, trying to get to the heart of the matter. It seems they understood in which direction to work. But the loss of Mike Conway is a huge failure. I think on some tracks he would be unbeatable on any vehicle. No, Jerome is a good racer, but he only has to show his strength. Mike is a top level pilot”.

Team e.Dams-Renault. Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi

“Dams” is team through which in Europe young riders pass by whole crowds. It makes them champions; it sends them to F1 and to other top series of the planet. From the very beginning they are considered leaders in the fight for the title of Formula E, as well as their pilot Buemi. On tests, Sebastien was ahead of everyone in tatters, but the races last longer than a couple or three laps.

Dario Franchitti about the e.Dams team:

“Judging by what I have already seen, the guys from e.dams prepared for the championship better than anyone else. I do not even doubt it. Nicolas Prost is a great pilot with racing genes. When he drove the Rebellion at Le Mans, I was impressed. As for Buemi, this is probably my favorite. He is one of the most aggressive riders that I have seen. And in the youth series, he won. I think it will be difficult to defeat him”.

Mahindra Racing. Riders – Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna

Pleasant participants from India who have already gained racing experience in two-wheeled races. Now the Mahindra team has snuck into motor sport. Their experience in the Moto3 category on motorcycles of their own production will not be able to help in Formula E. But this championship participant has another advantage – they produce serial electric vehicles in India. Formula E Series is a smart marketing platform for Mahindra. The invitation to the role of the pilot Karuna Chandhok is another positive element of the team. In the case of China Racing, the Chinese pilot is not so fast, but the level of Karuna is clearly higher. Mahindra’s other racer, Bruno Senna, is the darling of millions of viewers. In addition, it is really fast and promising.

Dario Franchitti about Mahindra team:

“At first glance, it seems that the guys from Mahindra are far from such pros as, for example, e.dams. But on tests, the difference between them was measured in percent, and not in millions of kilometers. Karun and Bruno probably are two such riders with whom I know better than the others. I would definitely trust the information received from these two professionals. I would follow their advice, and would refuse those directions of development of the machine that they are not good at. As for Mahindra herself, they already produce electric cars. Moreover, not expensive exhibition toys, but mass-produced cars for everyday life. Formula E managed to attract the automaker in the first year of its existence. So, we can already talk about some return from this championship in the direction of ordinary transport”.

Team Trulli. Pilots: Jarno Trulli and Michela Cherruti

The former Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli returns to the sport. And as a top-class racer, and as the owner of his own team in Formula E. Behind his team is the famous European “stable” Super Nova, which went to the F3000 and GP2, and now it performs in AutoGP. Technological support is provided by the Drayson Racing team experienced in electrical engineering – it was planned that they would come to Formula E, but their application was bought out by Trulli. Super Nova star, girl racer Michela Cherruti is perhaps the only participant in the electro-mobile series, who, thanks to Formula E, can make a name for herself if she can cope with the task.

Dario Franchitti about the Jarno Trulli team:

“On tests, they were digging somewhere behind due to mechanical problems. The same thing happened in Beijing during the first race. There are problems with both cars by the way. I hope that now they have already solved them. We all know the deadly speed of Jarno in qualifications. I think that due to their name and past achievements, the Trulli team will bring many fans to Formula E. If they understand the machines, everything will be fine. After all they now even a few laps can’t really pass. No other team piled on as many problems as Trulli. Let’s talk about Mikel Cherruti. This is an unknown compared to other championship pilots. No, she already has some name and achievements – a victory in AutoGP, for example. This is not a top series, but victory is a victory. And she progresses well. Let’s see how it will manifest itself in Formula E. At least from Jarno, she will learn a lot.


Formula E news: electro Formula in Hellhole

Well, what else to call this place called Ad-Diriya? Welcome to Saudi Arabia – one of the craziest places on our poor planet. Now there are also crazy electric car races. So, the first stage of the new season 2018-2019 Formula E took place in Saudi Arabia. The contrast of opposites: Arabia is known as the “global gas station” for its unlimited oil reserves – and these people quite seriously decided to support the electric racing championship! However, there are good reasons for this:

Who else in their right mind will bring their sport here? World Championships are almost impossible here: it’s generally difficult for non-Muslims to visit Saudi Arabia; for women, the burqa is strictly obligatory, and it is easier for Jews to go to the moon than to their sworn friends. Even Formula 1 could hardly have come here, and Comrade Ecclestone would not even be allowed on the threshold. And the Saudis have their opinion – and by hook or by crook they are trying to declare themselves and their country, to create a positive image for it, in addition to the capital of all Muslims and the global oil tower. So the proud Bedouins agreed with enterprising Europeans. The latter bring here a show and in return they get paid (and quite a lot!) petrodollars. And it will take place already ten years.

Motorsport in Saudi Arabia

Drift – the king of the local public and youth. Drift without special rule is formally prohibited by law and tradition, but popular to the point of madness. It’s forbidden due to constant death, injury and racing without rules at all. Is it security? No, not heard. A lot of money, the best cars, and breakdowns: do not repair, but change the car entirely. The main thing is beautiful, with smoke, sparkles and more expensive than the neighbors. The helmet was invented by cowards; the barriers for the spectators are an insidious Jewish idea, and Allah will decide how long to live. More about motor sport in Arabia really have nothing to say. In 2016, there as the most popular racing – “Race of Champions”, where he won the unforgettable Juan-Pablo Montoya. Champagne is prohibited under the threat of death.

However, there is progress. In the summer of this year, a girl from Saudi Arabia sat behind the wheel of a Formula 1 (Renault) car in France. And no, dear pranksters, the burqa did not prevent her – surprisingly, the pretty Asel Al-Hamad did without traditional attire. And her face is quite. Moreover, just six months ago, driving a car for women was punished with serious sanctions, and now it has even been elected to the local federation. The fact is that sharia and obscurantism are so strong in those parts that they sometimes allow themselves one-time image actions in support of dissent. Look, they say, we also have democracy and equality, yeah.

Ad-Diriya town and its race track

This is a suburb of the capital of Riyadh, in fact. The population is about 35 thousand people. Once, it was from here that the ruling dynasty came to the fore, and indeed this town was the capital of Arabia. The historical part of the city is destroyed, and the modern one looks like a collection of mosques. However, in this strange state, everything literally looks like a mosque.

In Formula E, thinking about increasing the power of the “attack mode”

The adjustment of the “attack mode” is one of the small changes that the leadership of the electric system is considering after the first race on new cars. “Attack Mode” appeared in Formula E this season. At the first stage in Saudi Arabia, the regime could be activated by riders twice during the race – for four minutes it provided an increased power of 225 kW (instead of the standard 200 kW). The mode activation zone was located on a narrow part of the track outside the racing track at the very beginning of the circle. The initial location of this zone was criticized by the riders, so it was moved just before the race.

Formula E changed the zone of activation of the “attack mode” in Riyadh after criticizing the pilots

On the question of, whether it is planned to change the power level in the following races amid criticism from the pilots, the head of Formula E Alejandro Agag said: “It depends on where it will be located in the following stages. Perhaps a slight increase in the increase would be acceptable; it could potentially make the difference bigger. But now the difference was quite noticeable, it seems to me that it was enough for the drivers for overtaking. So if changes are made, then small ones – everything worked well.” Several riders noted after the race that the “attack mode” was not enough for effective overtaking.

“Attack Mode is not enough,” Audi Abt, an Audi racer said. “It’s more like some time wasting mode because you lose time on it.” By activating the mode, I lost the position, and then I could not recoup, because there is not enough extra 25 kW. We should have about 250 kW of total power during such a regime, so that you quickly accelerate and overtake. Now, if someone is defending, you will not overtake him.” According to Lucas di Grassi, with the “attack mode” riders reduced the number of strategic options during the race. “Perhaps on other routes need to oblige riders to drive through the pit lane to activate,” – he suggested. The proposal that the activation should take more time, expressed the pilot of the Virgin Sam Bird: “We need to lose six, seven, eight seconds, and not one. It must be like this: you probably miss the position, and then you fight with new rivals, you break through to the top. You lose six or eight seconds, but in the next three laps you have more power. Something like that would be interesting.”

Formula E standings: in Formula E already 11 racers

Their “electric racers” Formula E have already 11 people. 9 more vacant places, but for how long will the seats in the electro-cabinet remain free? It is unlikely, because the case is closely approaching the tests – the most important part of the work of the new championship before the start of the season.

When we know the entire pilot of Formula E?

If in the youth championships the main composition of the pilots is announced a few days before the first race of the season, then in the series of a serious level the teams enter into contracts with riders long before the start. The reason is that the youth categories, ranging from Formula 3 and up to GP2 – a big business with millions of investments. Each driver, without exception, is obliged to pay indirectly for his participation in the championship, regardless of his talent and skills. There are no money and no place. Money is rarely paid directly from the pilot to the team. We are talking about the sponsorship of a particular young pilot. The driver, who wants to prove himself in the upcoming season, brings with him considerable sponsorship – up to 2.5-3 million euros in the top team category GP2. And this money is often at the last moment. The pilots are trying to reduce the fee for the performance, the sponsors until the last moment in thought the teams are actively playing to raise prices, inviting other racers to negotiate.

Everything is different in Formula E. The teams need money here, but this is not so critical. More often, Formula E teams do not really need capital inflows from riders. On the contrary, they themselves pay serious money to fast and well-known pilots so that they bring the corresponding results. Therefore, it is vital for teams to start working with their riders as early as possible. It is desirable – even before the tests. Fans of Jarno Trulli will be very pleased. Fans of small but proud teams will be delighted even more.

Heidfeld, Sarrazin and Trulli: new top-class pilots in Formula E

So, to the seven pilots, whose names were already known by the beginning of June, four more were added: Nick Heidfeld and Stefan Sarrazin (Venturi team), Jarno Trulli (Trulli GP), Katerina Legg (Amlin Aguri).

Woman is on board. Katerina Legg in Formula E

But about Katherine Legg (Katherine Legge) and her arrival in the championship of electric vehicles – everything is debatable. She is wonderful racer but only because she is a racer, and not a male pilot. Experienced – but without any special achievements except for the very youth championships. The face of DeltaWing is futuristic prototype for cars in endurance racing. Face and chest, we add. And this girl (she is 33 years old, by the way) will perform at Amlin Aguri. Well, after all, women are needed here. Formula E is a new type of race with all sorts of crazy innovations, ranging from electricity as the sole driver of cars. Now here is the female pilot. We do not mind at all. Only female pilots have a higher level: Danika Patrick, Natasha Gashnan. They are fast and successful racers enough. Why aren’t they? It’s strange and incomprehensible.