While many motorsport series wind down for the winter, Formula E is charging ahead with its preparations for the 2021-22 season. Prior to the opening Ad-Diriyah ePrix in January, eleven teams and 22 drivers descended on the Ricardo Tormo de Cheste circuit in Valencia last week for a pre-season test.
While many may dismiss testing as not of much importance, there are plenty of emerging stories that will be intriguing to see how they play out over the course of the season.
The pre-season test was a perfect opportunity to explore the increase in power on the Gen 2 cars in different operating modes – said to be the fastest Formula E cars yet, as well as a new qualifying format for the ePrixs. Featuring Groups and knockout Duels, qualifying in 2022 will allow the best teams and drivers to showcase their speed – while ensuring that any driver could start in pole position. It should provide plenty of drama and competition throughout the season.
The work of the teams was incredibly complex. As the layout is different from the street circuits Formula E traditionally races on, the Valencia test allowed things to be tested that have so far only been evaluated on simulators or dynamometers. The engineers had the opportunity to test certain things on the cars which could open up new avenues of development ahead of the first race.
It was also a chance to see new liveries unveiled – with many teams boasting a refreshed look as a result of innovative new partnerships. After stealing the show at COP26, Envision Racing Formula E Team hit the track with its Gen 2 car adorned with the Algorand Foundation logo. The team had announced a multi-year partnership with the ‘greenest’ blockchain company in October 2021, and debuted its 2021/22 car too much fanfare at the gathering of global leaders and climate change experts a week later.
Algorand Foundation is not the only blockchain company to turn to Formula E as a promotional platform. Avalanche is now the title sponsor of the Andretti Formula E team, with Andretti receiving the sponsorship fee in Avalanche’s native token, AVAX.
Teams also elected to champion causes in the eye-catching designs of their cars. Venturi’s bold new look features the Progress Pride flag at the base of the car’s halo – truly standing out against the all-black livery. The team hails this as a sign of its continued championing of the need for greater diversity and inclusion in motorsport.
At SQN, we understand the potency of visibility in motorsport. Formula E is determined to accelerate change – with that mission for sustainable technology and solutions moving into new industries and tackling societal issues. It goes to show that the series remains a viable platform for brand awareness and a useful testbed of mobility technologies. Could this be the greatest season yet? We can’t wait to find out!
Photo by Lou Johnson