Formula E has introduced an energy reduction rule change in order to avoid a repeat of the calamitous end to its first Valencia E-Prix race.
The first Valencia race of the double-header was thrown into chaos as teams were caught out by the time limit fitting in one more lap than many expected, which combined with energy reductions for safety car running meant that most cars were unable to complete the race distance at racing speed – or, indeed, at all.
The striking sequence has proven a source of major tension in Formula E, and though there was no unanimity over who was at fault, there was seemingly a universal interest in avoiding a repeat.
And with teams having sought an immediate change to the rules, one has now been introduced – with the FIA confirming no usable energy will now be taken off after the 40-minute mark of the 45-minute-plus-one-lap races.
The race director already had the discretion to alter or cancel energy reductions, but relying solely on this rule created the concern over such subjective decisions influencing the outcome of races.
“Concerning what happened in Valencia, the FIA and the promoter do not wish to see a similar scenario happen again,” an FIA spokesperson said.
“With that in mind, and to prevent any further risk of miscalculation in regard to the energy consumption, it has been decided to no longer apply energy reduction if a safety car period ends beyond the 40th minute of a race.
“This will grant teams an additional margin for error, without detracting in any way from the spirit of Formula E, in which energy management is a key element.”
The new rule tweak did not have to pass through the FIA World Motor Sport Council as the provisions within article 37.9 of the sporting regulations made it possible to implement it immediately, ahead of this weekend’s Monaco E-Prix.