From the 2018-2019 season, the full electric series uses a group qualifying system that penalizes the best placed drivers in the championship. Participants are divided into groups of six according to the ranking: this means that the leaders have to deal with the track in worse conditions and that often find themselves at the back of the grid.
A format that has always allowed us to arrive at the end of the season with the championship very open, but which has been heavily criticized by the drivers, since it tends to unfairly penalize the main protagonists.
Formula E now proposes to introduce a sort of single-elimination tournament, which according to series co-founder Alberto Longo was designed to be easier for spectators to understand as well.
The drivers will be split into two groups, with the four fastest drivers from each group advancing to the quarter-finals. The winners of these one-on-one duels will qualify for the semifinals, with the two finalists then competing for pole.
Speaking during a press conference in Mexico, Longo confirmed the new format, explaining that it was the result of the desire to try to simplify the formula.
“We’re back to basics, but we also like to be innovative,” he said. “This format is very understandable, because everyone understands how the final stages of a tennis tournament work. It is very attractive and I think we will offer something spectacular on television.”
“The key is in the first two groups of 11 drivers each: the drivers will have the opportunity to do several fastest laps during the 12 minutes they have available. And the four fastest in each group will pass the round.”
Nyck de Vries, Mercedes-Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
“In the quarter-finals, the fastest of the first group will face the fourth of the other, and so on. From there, we will move on to the semifinal and the two finalists. Whoever wins the last duel will start from pole.”
Longo also explained that the suggestion of this new format was given by Sam Bird and that it should be ratified by the World Council on October 15th.
The 2022 season will kick off January 28-29 in Saudi Arabia with a double appointment, then move on February 12 to Mexico, to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which will return regularly to the calendar after this year’s one-off event in Puebla.