Formula E’s Gen2 EVO car update could be scrapped altogether as the championship continues to assess its future technical road map amid the coronavirus pandemic fallout.
The new bodywork was set to be introduced for the 2020/21 season but was delayed by one year amid initial cost-saving measures introduced in April.
At the most recent meetings between the FIA, Formula E and manufacturers, the possibility of the new look not being seen at all was discussed.
“It’s also possible that Gen2 EVO doesn’t see the light of day but it’s difficult to say right now” :: Jamie Reigle
That suggestion met with a favourable opinion from most manufacturers.
They are keen to cut costs immediately in their future budget projections to ensure these are signed off, particularly when considering committing for programmes in Formula E’s Gen3 era. This all-new car is currently due to arrive for the 2022/23 season but that is under review.
Gen2 EVO was intended to bridge the gap from this year to Gen3’s arrival so the current EVO postponement plan would mean the upgraded car had just a single-season life before being superseded.
Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle said that there were multiple scenarios that could unfold around Gen2 EVO.
“I think that people came to the conclusion when we parked it that there was this linear relationship: if you delay it a year, therefore it had to live for two years, therefore Gen3 gets delayed,” Reigle told The Race.
“That could be an alternative, and it is just one of the options.”
And he confirmed that one of those options that was Gen2 EVO never races at all and the current Gen2 cars – which were brought in for the 2017/18 season – continue until Gen3’s arrival.
“There are alternatives which say that Gen2 EVO comes, and it lasts longer and Gen3 is pushed back too,” said Reigle.
“Then there’s a scenario where we try to maintain the path toward Gen3 and Gen2 EVO, which effectively was a cosmetic [update], is not used.
“If that development just gets shelved there’s cost saving there as we focus our minds on Gen3.
“So it’s also possible that Gen2 EVO doesn’t see the light of day but it’s difficult to say right now where that’s going to end up.”
“We appreciate and welcome these decisions, but there are discussions about further cost-cutting measures going on – which is necessary in our opinion” :: Jens Marquardt
Many of the manufacturers have notified Formula E and the FIA at recent Sporting Working Group and Technical Working Group meetings that they face increasing pressure from their board members to reduce costs in all areas.
Scrapping Gen2 EVO altogether would help that cause, with the update kits believed to be around the €38,000 mark and manufacturers likely to need between eight and 10 sets of them for race and show cars.
Alongside the current Gen2 EVO delay, Formula E has also adjusted its homologation rules so powertrains can be used across two seasons.
BMW motorsport chief Jens Marquardt backed the measures taken so far but hinted more needed to be done to appease manufacturers.
“Introducing the Gen2 EVO car in season eight [2021/22] instead of season seven [2020/21] as well as the double homologation are good decisions to support the teams’ efforts to navigate through these difficult times,” Marquardt told The Race.
“We appreciate and welcome these decisions, but there are discussions about further cost-cutting measures going on – which is necessary in our opinion.”
Marquardt didn’t specifically address the possibility of Gen2 EVO being scrapped outright but did lay down BMW’s support for a delay in introducing the Gen3 design by one year to the 2023/24 season.
“Postponing the introduction of the Gen3 car to season 10 [2023/24] is one of the options that we support,” he said.