This weekend the fifth season of the FIA ABB Formula E Championship will kick off and, this time, more
big names from the car industry than ever will be lining up at the starting grid. With Audi being the title
holders, having won the last championship, the fight is on to keep hold of the coveted cup, with age-old
rivals BMW and even Jaguar coming in to make things even more interesting. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team will be lining up drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi once again, with the newly developed Audi e-tron FE05 car making its debut. The opener in Ad Diriyah marks the beginning of a new set of rules in Formula E, the most important being that the previously required mid-race car swap is no longer needed.
Even so, the format should be even more exciting with the new “Attack Mode”: When a driver passes
through the “activation zone” on the race track, the power output of the car will receive a short-term
boost to 225 kW (306 hp). There’s a trick though, as the FIA determines the number of activations and
their duration individually for each race and announces them only just before the race starts, forcing
teams to adopt intelligent strategies to make sure they win. Fans will play a bigger part in the season this year too, as the rules say that they can vote for their favorite drivers on the Formula E website and the winner will get an extra ‘FanBoost’ which can be activated in the second half of the race, giving the driver a short-term power boost to 250 kW. This could very well be a winning boost in a race.
Lucas di Grassi will start this fifth championship as one of the most seasoned drivers in the competition,
even though he’s only 26. Even so, he’s competed in all 45 Formula E races held to date, has 27 trophies
to his name and 611 points so far, being the most successful driver in the competition’s history. Saudi
Arabia will be hosting the season opener on Saturday in Ad Diriyah, on the outskirts of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. The 2.494-kilometer circuit with its long straight and 90-degree turns in front of a historic backdrop promises a thrilling race day.