Among the most important changes in the Formula E Season 9 regulation, one cannot fail to mention the new regen system mounted on the front axle, which has made it possible to increase the regenerative capacity up to 600 kW, double that of Gen 2.
Although it is a standard element produced by the American company Lucid, the basic idea of the series and the FIA was to provide a traveling laboratory to test the new technology directly on the track, to then introduce it in the future also on road production cars . For this reason it was decided to also intervene on the braking system, focusing on a regeneration system that is more complex, but also more efficient from an energy point of view than the classic mechanical brakes.
The introduction of a second motor generator had initially prompted Formula E to completely remove the hydraulic braking system at the rear, making the work done in the regen phase even more crucial.
In reality, for the drivers it would not have been a real novelty, given that even with last year’s single-seaters they often tended to make greater use of the regeneration system to recharge the battery, letting the mechanical brakes intervene only in qualifying or in situations duel where it was important to have the best possible performance in braking.
However, the development of new technologies takes time to be tested and refined and, even in this case, the concept has not been denied. Due to some accidents that occurred both during the 2022 private tests and the pre-championship tests in Valencia, teams and drivers had not hesitated to express their doubts about the validity of the new configuration, not so much for a question of feasibility, but for reasons safety.
In fact, in the event of particular sudden stops of the Powertrain or software anomalies, there was the possibility that the driver would not have been able to slow down the car sufficiently, risking a bad impact against the barriers.
For this reason, in the last months of 2022, the FIA had tried to quickly take measures by testing a secondary hydraulic braking system that would activate in the event of an emergency, in order to slow down the single-seater. Given the complexity of the matter and the numerous tests necessary to ensure a reliable solution, the Federation had not been able to implement the new system in time for the first round of the season in Mexico City, therefore having to intervene on the layout of the track by adding a another chicane to reduce the speed of the cars.
DS and Jaguar had already tested the system of arriving in Saudi Arabia in a test organized by Spark and Formula E. The other teams tried it in the shakedown.
Photo by: Andreas Beil
But after intense weeks of work, the new rig finally made its official debut at the second ePrix of the season in Saudi Arabia. This was confirmed by the stewards themselves in an official press release before the start of the race weekend, underlining how the system can only be used in an emergency, on pain of a harsh penalty that could lead to exclusion from the session.
“The secondary braking system can only be used in an emergency and its use under normal racing conditions is prohibited. With the exception of when expressly authorized by the FIA to carry out a system check, any activation of the secondary braking system will be reported to the stewards and the driver will be penalized up to disqualification from the session. all effects in the sporting regulations in the next update.
Taking advantage of the two-week break between the Mexico City and Diriyah races, DS and Jaguar had already had the opportunity to test the new configuration in a test organized by the Federation and by Spark, the company that designs some components of single-seaters.
This created much more than a little discontent within the paddock, prompting the stewards to lengthen Thursday’s shakedown to give each team the opportunity to test the system, but no more than three times and only at speeds below the 50 km/h to preserve its integrity.
The system will only come into operation if the ECU detects a malfunction in the regenerative system located on the rear axle or a software anomaly, opening the circuit which leads to the activation of the hydraulic brakes. In any case, the Federation will keep the values under strict surveillance to ensure that they are used in accordance with the provisions of the regulation.
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