The first public glimpse of the next generation ABB FIA Formula E World Championship car may not come until the end of 2021.
The FIA wants the design to feel as fresh as possible when it makes its racing debut in the latter part of next year.
Testing of the initial prototype is targeted to begin in the final quarter of this year, with an initial shakedown believed to be outlined for mid-September.
FIA circuit championships director Frederic Bertrand has told The Race that there is “no hurry there at all” to release the first views of the Gen3 car, which will be shown as “late as possible” for two key reasons.
The first is that the full styling design of the car has not yet been finalised.
This is being configured by design consultants under the direction of the FIA and Formula E this month.
The second reason is that Formula E does not want to confuse people into thinking that the new cars will race next season (2021/22). The current Gen2 machines continue for that campaign, before Gen3 arrives when the 2022/23 championship begins late in 2022.
Asked by the Race what the ideal time to reveal the Gen3 car would be, Bertrand replied: “I would say up to the middle of season eight [2021/22], that would be the ideal.
“But I’m quite realistic that it can be difficult to keep it [secret] up to there.
“Let’s see when we have to reveal the design. We will probably have a first show to the manufacturers so that they can see what they are having to work with.
“The timing exactly is not fixed at all, the first thing we want to do is properly converge and give time to the technical guys to secure something where we don’t have changes which are impacted by technical development so at the end what we show is not what we wanted to have initially.”
Manufacturers have until the end of this month to commit to the new rules.
Although this is a hard deadline, late entries will also be accepted but manufacturer entrants will not receive details of the Gen3 car until they do commit – meaning that any delay is likely to have detrimental effects on 2022/23 programmes.
“We are finalising all the details of the design right now to secure that the styling will make everyone happy between FIA and FEH [Formula E Holdings],” reiterated Bertrand.
“It’s a bit like if you show the next model of a car, people already feel that the one in place gets old very quickly, and it’s not what we want for Gen2.
“So we want to stay attractive and appealing up to the latest moment.”
The FIA wants to release a completely accurate depiction of what the Gen3 car will look like when it’s first unveiled.
That design featured a rear fin section which was introduced to appease teams who felt there needed to be more space on the cars for partners’ logos.
Lucas di Grassi, the 2016/17 champion, was among the Gen2 Evo’s notable critics, saying it “lost the characteristics I liked – especially covered wheels”.
The Audi driver believes that the proposed structure for Gen3 racing, while being largely positive, could be improved.
“I’m very happy with the whole concept which is cheaper, or relatively same cost, and it’s lighter so will be better performing,” di Grassi told The Race.
“I think the only thing we need is probably wider tyres that are more suitable to increase mechanical grip a bit.
“These [Gen2] tyres are OK for the Gen1 but in Gen2 already they are very unbalanced. You have a lot of weight into the rear, the car does not handle well.
“I’d also have the four wheel drive, which will not cost anything.”
Di Grassi also reiterated his desire to see moveable aerodynamics and the use of more lighting and sound effects on the car.
He previously described to The Race last year how he would like Formula E to take a more “avant garde” approach in the future.