Formula E teams push back against F1-style rule

Formula 1 introduced a new regulation in 2022 which saw each team have to use a rookie for two FP1 sessions,

As the new era of Formula E approaches, the teams are pushing back against a new rule introduced from Season Nine onwards, one that controversially mirrors a Formula 1 rule.

In Formula 1, 2022 saw the introduction of a new rookie rule, where all the teams had to field a rookie during two FP1 sessions.

This rule has been introduced now for the upcoming season of the all-electric series; however, it isn’t what the teams and the drivers wanted.

Formula E weekends are incredibly more compact than that of Formula 1, with an entire race weekend regularly crammed into a single day.

READ: Adrian Newey dismisses Christian Horner’s penalty claim

Because of this, practice sessions are traditionally shorter than F1’s, with the teams and drivers having less time to gather data.

Season Nine will, of course, be the start of Gen3, something that has caused a further issue with the new rule.

Spare parts are currently non-existent, something that has already been raised as an issue ahead of the January season opener in Mexico City.

With this in mind, a number of the sport’s higher profile drivers have argued that a bespoke test for rookies is a better option, given that testing a new car on a street circuit is no easy feat.

Article continues below

Reportedly, the teams are pushing against the FIA to stop the introduction of the rule; however, it currently looks set to be introduced.

NEOM McLaren boss Ian James is actually all for introducing rookies into the championship in order for the series to have a “successful future” but warned that the new cars are “complicated”.

“If we’re going to have a successful future for this series we need a talent pool which is as good as it can be, and that means we need to give drivers – rookies – who are yet to have a chance, a genuine shot at proving their abilities,” James told The Race.

“We need ultimately to make sure this is as attractive as it could be, and the way we run the rookie test is going to be of paramount importance to that.

“There are two elements to it. Giving any driver the most track time you can give is better, because these cars are complicated, they are very different from what rookies may have driven before, so I think that in combination with the work on the simulator and so on and so forth, to give them as much real track time as possible is going to be a benefit.

“On the flip side there is also the commercial element to take into account, and ultimately the spotlight is only really on the championship when we’re at the events, so it’s also great to bring these young drivers to the main event as well.”

Envision Racing team principal Sylvain Filippi is also in support of rookies being introduced to the sport; however, he is concerned by the fact that the teams don’t currently have “free time” to use a rookie, with the “risk” element also being something that concerns him.

“We don’t have free time before or after free practice and we are super restricted because of where we race,” Filippi told The Race.

“On one hand, we want to put some spotlights on exciting rookie drivers during a race weekend because that’s the right thing to do.

“On the other hand, we can’t have them risk the cars before a critical session. That’s just common sense.

“What we did in Marrakesh when we tested Nick is a perfect example of it working well. A full day of strong running.

READ: Australia will let Saudi Arabia host 2024 season opener ‘out of respect for Ramadan’

“Formula E is complex and specific – you put a rookie driver in and you give them a half an hour, there’s no way they’ll be quick. So, you need several hours before you even start to explore the potential of the car.

“If we’re really serious about testing rookie drivers, we need to give them a day or so.

“But having said that, it’s not easy because we don’t have many places and many times where we can do it.”