2023 Hyderabad E-Prix Preview: All you need to know | 2023 Formula E
After what feels like aeons, India is hosting a World Championship again. The 2023 Hyderabad E-Prix will be the first Formula E race to be held in India on February 11, 2023. It will be the first FIA World Championship event to be held in India after the last Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in 2013. Ten years on, Indian motorsport fans have been growing and learning more, and we are here to help you out. New cars, new circuit, new teams, new formats; everything is made easy. Whether you’re at home or attending the race, check out our explainer!
Formula E Gen 3 Cars
The 2023 Formula E season is the first to use the new Gen 3 regulation cars, which are smaller, lighter and more powerful than their predecessors. Producing 350kW (100kW more than Gen 2), the cars are capable of a top speed of 320kmph. The cars use regenerative systems at both the front and rear to regenerate more than 600kW of power during a race, which is almost 40 percent of the total power requirement of the car. The smaller and lighter cars are also made to be more agile and race-able than their predecessors in the street tracks that the championship uses exclusively. For 2023, Hankook replaces Michelin as the sole tyre provider, and has come up with a more hardy tyre that works better in the rain, and lasts longer in races.
Formula E weekend format
Formula E is unique in the world of motorsport in that the entire race weekend takes place over one day, which is usually Saturday. The weekend starts with two Free Practice sessions, followed by qualifying. Here, the championship has one of the most interesting qualifying formats in racing. Called the “Duel Qualifying”, in the first round, the entire grid is separated into two groups, with one group having drivers in the odd places in the championship (1,3,5…) and the second having even-placed drivers (2,4,6…). In this round, power is limited to 300kW. The fastest four drivers from each group qualify for the knockout rounds.
In the knockout stages, drivers are further divided into pairs - one each from the two groups - and they participate in “duels” where the fastest of the two qualifies to the next round. Here they can use the full 350kW power of their cars. The final two decided pole position. The rest of the grid is decided based on qualifying times.
For 2023, the race format has changed from a timed 45-minute race to a set number of laps, similar to most world championships. Although Formula E does not usually have pitstops (One set of tyres is used throughout the weekend), there is an element of strategy called ‘Attack Mode’. In the races, drivers are only allowed to use 300kW of power. But by going off the racing line at designated points in the track, a driver can earn the full 350kW power for a total time that is revealed to the teams just hours before the race. This time can be divided into segments decided by the teams. At some races this year, there will also be the ‘Attack Charge’, where drivers will have to come into the pits for a 30 second power charge, a new fast charging technology that Formula E is trialling in race scenarios.
Formula E teams
India will have a deep connection with the Formula E grid this year. There is obviously the Mahindra Racing team, which has been flying the tricolour high for eight long years, and has worked hard over those years to bring Formula E to India. The team will also bring their reserve driver, India’s Jehan Daruvala, who is also driving in Formula 2 this year. Two other teams can also claim an Indian connection on the grid: TCS Jaguar Racing, which is owned by Tata, and considers the Hyderabad E-Prix to be a “half-home race”, and ABT motorsport, which uses Mahindra powertrains in its cars.
The other teams on the grid include manufacturing giants like Porsche, Mclaren, DS Penske, Nissan, Maserati and Nio, while supplemented by privateer teams such as championship leaders Andretti and Envision Racing. There is a lot of depth in the field, and Formula E has long broken the taboo of being an F1 reject series. It is now thoroughly a world championship which drivers look forward to as a career goal.
Formula E Hyderabad E-Prix
The Hyderabad E-Prix will be held on a slightly modified version of the track we have already seen in the Indian Racing League recently. Elongated with chicanes to help regeneration, the 2.83km long track with 18 corners will host 32 laps of the race on Saturday, with vast views of the Hussainsagar lake while winding through Lumbini Park in one of the most central locations in Hyderabad. The race was brought to reality by the efforts of the former Mahindra Racing team boss Dilbagh Gill, who is now the CEO of official promoters Ace Nxt Gen.
The weekend will also see the Allianz Fan Village, a staple of Formula E races, which will host several activities and exhibit race cars from many manufacturers. Activities include e-sports, kids zone, stage performances and food and drinks.