ABB Formula E have announced the introduction of a new ‘duel’ style qualifying for Season 8. Meanwhile Indonesia, Canada and South Korea are expected to make their debut as part of the 16-race world championship.
The season will get underway at the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia on January 28th, concluding with a trio of double headers in New York City, London and Seoul through July and August 2022.
Rounds 3 and 4 are yet to have their venues confirmed, with the fourth race provisionally listed for China. However, given the Chinese Grand Prix‘s absence from F1’s 2022 calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this may be amended.
“With more races in more global iconic cities than ever before the season ahead is set to be our largest to date as we rebound from the impacts of Covid-19 over the last two seasons,” said Jamie Reigle, Formula E’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Combined, the revised calendar and new regulations will mean that Season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is expected to be the best yet for our teams, drivers and fans.”
Additionally, critics may welcome the decision to overhaul the qualifying format. Under the old system, drivers were divided into four groups of six in championship order, with the championship leaders heading out in Group 1.
As a result, the improving track conditions saw many of them forced to start towards the back of the grid, as the six fastest drivers took to track one by one in the Super Pole shootout.
From 2022, the drivers will be split into two groups of 11 according to their championship positions (excluding the opening round) and will have 10 minutes to set their fastest laps at 220kW.
The four quickest drivers in each group will then face off in a series of duels at 250kW. This will see Group A’s fastest driver go head-to-head with the fourth-fastest driver in Group B and so on and so forth over quarter-finals and semi-finals to decide the top eight on the grid.
A final head-to-head will determine pole position, with the remaining drivers lining up in their group ranking.
Alberto Longo, Chief Championship Officer and Co-Founder of Formula E, said: “The changes being made to qualifying and race time reflect our and the FIA’s focus on sporting integrity and maximising the racing spectacle.
“Our new qualifying format will showcase the teams and drivers head-to-head throughout the season while still allowing any driver on their day to take pole position. For our fans, the new qualifying format was designed to be intuitive, unpredictable, and entertaining.
“The ability to increase race time when we have incidents during the regular 45-minute race is a product of the rapid evolution of electric vehicle technology and the continual improvements in energy efficiency by ABB Formula E teams.”
Lastly, following the controversial ending to Round 5 at the Valencia E-Prix, the FIA have also approved the decision to no longer reduce useable energy after a Safety Car or Full-Course Yellow. Instead, an additional 10 minutes can be added to the 45-minute + 1 Lap race.