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Formula E Malaysia: (Almost) Everything You Need To Know

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So, the much-touted, ecologically-friendly version of the most technologically-advanced race in the world will be coming to Malaysia. 2014 will see the inaugural season of Formula E come to life, at our seat of government, for the second leg of the race. As such, like the patriotic beings we all are, we’d like to share some of the more intricate details of the race with you. Hopefully, you’ll become more intrigued by it, make the effort to go see it live, and maybe help some polar bears reproduce via proxy.

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The Formula E cars in the UK for a demo, with the London Parliament Building in the background

First off, Formula E is an official race sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the same blokes who sanction almost all global, high-octane automotive sports on God’s green earth. Formula E is envisioned to be the highest form of one-make, single-seater, electrically-powered automotive racing class. First conceived in 2012, Formula E is meant to be the pinnacle of environmentally-friendly, sustainable and most importantly, exciting race series of the future.

Secondly, unlike conventional race classes, Formula E is made specifically to be a city-based, street racing event. As such, all of the venues for Formula E will be centred around iconic landmarks in each host country, forsaking structured tracks. This is in line with one of Formula E’s mission: to advance and advocate environmental awareness and sustainability to the masses. There is an encouraging support from world-renowned personalities for Formula E, who have personally sponsored teams in Formula E: Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Racing), Michael Andretti (son of F1 champion Mario Andretti; President, Chairman, CEO, Andretti Formula E), and Leonardo DiCaprio (Co-founder, Venturi Formula E Team). Of note is Jarno Trulli, who is also the co-founder of the eponymous team (Trulli).

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Brand consistency for Formula E means that a BMW i8 will be used as the safety car. Doh!

Thirdly, there will 10 teams consisting of 20 drivers who will be competing at the race (20 cars in race). Officially dubbed the Formula E Putrajaya ePrix, the race will run its course through the conventional practice, qualifying, race format. All three sessions will run on the same day to reduce clutter, waste and disruption to the city. The main corporate sponsors for Formula E are Michelin, Williams, McLaren, Renault, Audi, Virgin and Tag Heuer, while Qualcomm and DHL are auxilliary sponsors (we’re mentioning this so that you know the race should be in good hands).

Fourthly, for the inaugural season, the Formula E car (the Spark-Renault SRT_01E) is built by Spark Racing Technology, with glorious input by industry giants Dallara, McLaren, Renault, Williams and Michelin. At full power, the car makes around 200kW (≈268.20 horsepower). Full power will be available during practice and qualifying, but during the race, the cars will be limited to 133kW (≈178.36hp). A duration-limited boost of full power will be available when the driver presses the Push-to-Pass button. This will make overtaking maneouvres more interesting and exciting to watch. Local promoter Formula E Malaysia claims that the Formula E cars will complete the century sprint in less than 3 seconds, on to a limited top speed of 225km/h. On average, the cars will last between 20 to 30 minutes, but the driver will be forced to make 2 compulsory pit stops to change cars (safety concerns restrict changing of batteries during race).

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We anticipate Formula E will be something like Formula 1, without blood oozing from your earlobes

The Formula E car’s entire powertrain, including the Motor Generator Unit (MGU) is made by McLaren. The MGU is currently the most powerful motor in the world, producing a power density of 8kW/kg (normal hybrid car motors produce about 2-3kW/kg). A maximum of two MGUs can be fitted to the rear axle, and they will power the rear wheels via a Hewland paddle-shift five-speed sequential gearbox. The cars are forbidden to have any form of traction control, but may have power steering installed (to the detriment of battery charge life). The battery, called a Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) is specified by the FIA, and all cars will use the same unit. The minimum weight for a car including the driver is 888kg (320kg for batteries). Its aerodynamics will be different from a F1 car, in that it is speed- and overtaking-biased. Its 18-inch wet-and-dry threaded tyres are specifically made by Michelin to last an entire race, thus only 3 sets are to be used for each race weekend (for practice, qualifying and race).

AUTO - FORMULA E TESTS 2013

So, Koni makes their suspension assembly. Must make mental note to buy their shares.

The debut race for Formula E is won by Brazilian Lucas di Grassi (from team Audi Sport ABT) at a temporary track near China’s iconic Olympic “Bird’s Nest” Stadium (called the Beijing Evergrande ePrix) on the 13th of September, 2014. The one you will be going to, should you so choose, will be the second race of this new racing class.

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A Formula E car from team Dragon Racing passes the Olympic Stadium in Beijing

Some Formula E drivers any F1 fan would recognise would be: Bruno Senna (nephew of 3-time F1 champion Ayrton Senna), Jarno Trulli, Nelson Piquet (son of Nelson Piquet, Sr.), Nick Heidfeld, Sébastien Buemi, and Nicolas Prost (son of 4-time F1 champion Alain Prost).

The entire driver roster

The entire driver roster

Track – Malaysia

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The Malaysian leg of the Formula E series will be held next Saturday, the 22nd of November, 2014 in Putrajaya. The track will have 12 corners, covering a total of 2.56km (1.59 miles). The main high street (Persiaran Perdana) will be used as the flying straights, down to a chicane halfway, and a right onto Jalan Pembangunan (past the National Registration Department, JPN). The cars will then swing back towards the starting line through medium- and low-speed corners along Lebuh Bestari, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, onto Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, and making a u-turn right before Seri Wawasan bridge along Lebuh Wawasan. The first corner will see the cars pulling a 1.9G braking manoeuvre from 200km/h before the 2nd corner chicane.

The 2014 Malaysian Formula E track layout

The 2014 Malaysian Formula E track layout

Timetable – Malaysia

07:45-09:00 – Non-qualifying practice
10:00-10:10 – Qualifying Session Group 1
10:15-10:25 – Qualifying Session Group 2
10:30-10:40 – Qualifying Session Group 3
10:45-10:55 – Qualifying Session Group 4
14:00-1500 – Race (31 laps)

Format

The event format will be as follows:

  • Teams
    • The inaugural season will see 10 teams, each with two drivers.
  • Drivers
    • Each team will have two drivers giving a total of 20 drivers for the first season of Formula E.
  • Practice
    • All events will open with a one-hour practice session giving drivers their first experience of the circuit. They will have up to two cars available to them giving them the option to change cars should they wish. Full power (200kw / 270bhp) will be available throughout.
  • Qualifying
    • The qualifying session is a straight fight for the fastest laptime and determines the order for the day’s race. Drivers will only be able to use one car and have a maximum of four laps – two timed laps plus and out and an in lap – in order to set their fastest time. Cars will take to the track in stages in order to avoid congestion with the running order being chosen by the driver who sets the quickest time in practice. Full power (200kw / 270bhp) will be available throughout.
  • Race
    • Races will begin by standing start and last for approximately one hour with drivers making two mandatory pit stops in order to change cars. Engines will be restricted to power saving mode (133kw / 180bhp) but can be temporarily increased to maximum power (200kw / 270bhp) by using the ‘Push-to-Pass’ boost system.
  • Points
    • Points will be awarded at every race to the top 10 drivers scoring as per below. The driver who secures pole position will be awarded an additional five points, while the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race will receive an additional two points.
      • 1st – 25 points
      • 2nd – 18 points
      • 3rd – 15 points
      • 4th – 12 points
      • 5th – 10 points
      • 6th – 8 points
      • 7th – 6 points
      • 8th – 4 points
      • 9th – 2 points
      • 10th – 1 point
  • Championship
    • The FIA Formula E Championship will consist of both a drivers and a teams’ championship with all results counting towards the final total.
  • Pit stops/Car changes
    • During races, drivers must make two mandatory pit stops in order to change cars. This must take place in their box and be observed by an FIA steward to ensure all safety equipment is correctly applied. A minimum pit stop time of 30 seconds will also be applied for safety reasons.
  • Push-to-Pass
    • During races only, drivers will be able to use a pre-determined number of power boosts to aid overtaking. This will increase the car’s power output from 133kw (180bhp) to 200Kw (270bhp) for a limited period of time.
  • Tyres
    • The Official Tyre Supplier for the FIA Formula E Championship is Michelin. Michelin has produced a bespoke 18” treaded tyre for the series which is versatile enough to give great performance on both wet and dry surfaces, and helping to reduce costs and promote sustainability. Drivers will receive three sets of tyres for both cars which have to last the entire race weekend (practice, qualifying, and race).
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Being a futuristic race event, all displays on the steering come with Retina screens (allegedly)

2014/2015 Race Calendar

The tentative race calendar for the Formula E Championship are as follows:

  • Round 1: Beijing, China – 13th September, 2014
  • Round 2: Putrajaya, Malaysia – 22nd November, 2014
  • Round 3: Punta Del Este, Uruguay – 13th December, 2014
  • Round 4: Buenos Aires, Argentina – 10th January, 2015
  • Round 5: TBA – 14th February, 2015
  • Round 6: Miami, USA – 14th March, 2015
  • Round 7: Long Beach, USA – 4th April, 2015
  • Round 8: Monte Carlo, Monaco – 9th May, 2015
  • Round 9: Berlin, Germany – 30th May, 2015
  • Round 10: London, United Kingdom – 27th June, 2015

If you’re bringing your whole family there, and the wifey’s not a keen racing fan, dump her at the various planned entertainment zones, cultural village, and E-village while you go catch some action. There will also be a concert after the race. Kids below 3 years of age get to enjoy green racing free of charge.

You will be able to purchase your tickets on the Formula E website: www.fiaformulae.com.my. Prices start from RM50 for general admission and grand stands tickets are available from RM365 (half price for kids aged 3-12). If you want the full shebang, it’ll cost you RM715 per person (VIP Premium Grandstand). For ticket enquiries, you can email the guys running the show at info@fiaformulae.com.my or call +603 2052 7222.

We’ll be there to cover the event, so let’s hope the weather will be kind to us. If you see us there, do come over and say hi. Only Kiron bites, but most women love it.

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Upon reviewing the beautiful scenery, we would like to reiterate our staunch support for Formula E

About Andrew Lee

Andrew is a commercial photographer by day and speed demon by night. Don't let his pleasant, approachable demeanour fool you, as he's an incredible fast driver on the circuit! Andrew is a man of many talents (some hidden). He often baffles many with his uncanny ability to stay awake for an inhuman number of days, then disappears. For hours. TCG labels him “Comatose Man” for his nocturnal endeavours and sleep super powers.

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