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Formula E

Drivers giving FIA 'feedback' on race distance concerns – Wehrlein

Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein revealed at the recent Diriyah E-Prix that the drivers are giving the FIA "feedback", in regard to the questionable race distances so far this season.

Wehrlein – Diriyah – 2024
To news overview © Sam Bagnall / Formula E

Hundreds of overtakes in almost every race is what Formula E was famous for in 2023, although the same can't be said yet in 2024. Three races in Season 10 have already been completed, with minimal overtaking in all of them.

Part of this is down to the cities themselves, with Mexico City in particular being a venue where completing an overtake has always been an immense challenge. It's the same for F1 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, due to the high altitude.

The recent double-header in Diriyah – situated on the outskirts of the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh – also saw very few overtakes. Whilst the races in the Middle East were better than the season-opener in Mexico, they still failed to reach the heights of last season.

There are two key reasons for this: Firstly, the teams have a much better understanding of the Gen3 machinery. Very little was known about how to extract the maximum performance from each powertrain 12 months ago, resulting in eventful races.

The second reason is that there appears to have been a miscalculation by the FIA in all three races this year, with the race distance in each E-Prix having been lower than expected.

Minimal energy management has been required so far this season, resulting in the drivers being able to drive almost flat-out from start-to-finish. Unsurprisingly, this makes overtaking virtually impossible.

Races becoming 'energy unlimited'

"You can never have too much energy," joked Wehrlein to RacingNews365 in Diriyah, following the first race of the double-header. "But the problem is, for me, I'm not sure how they came up with the laps that we are doing.

"The race is just so fast, energy unlimited. Yeah, that takes away all the chances for us to overtake when there are no sailing zones anymore, and everyone is basically flat-out. It's just impossible to overtake."

Another issue, particularly in Diriyah, is that the slipstream had a huge effect, resulting in the drivers being able to go flat-out down the main straight but still under consume on energy.

"You can just abuse it, like your flat out in the straights and you under consume," said Wehrlein. "The effect of slipstream is so big that with the energy we have, it's just too much."

Wehrlein's view on the current race distance issues is shared amongst the vast majority of the drivers, who the German noted would be giving the governing body feedback ahead of Sao Paulo next month.

"It's not up to us to decide that," Wehrlein said, when asked if the drivers can speak to the FIA about the race distances.

"We would give them feedback and I mean, I think they see how the first two races, how they were. I don't think there will be any changes made [for the second race in Diriyah] but I think for the coming races it would be good to have some changes."

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