Formula E, FIA and all teams to lower development costs

by Sricharan R 15 Apr 2020


Electric is the way forward in the automotive world. Many companies believe so, and Formula E is a perfect example of this. It is not just a race on the track but is also a proving ground and platform with a higher purpose to test new technologies, drive development to the production line and put more electric cars on the road. But, even that has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, the Formula E and the FIA announced that the 2019-2020 season will be temporarily suspended. Also, they recently confirmed that the championship will lower development costs to reduce the financial burden on its teams. Keeping this in mind, the teams and manufacturers have agreed to postpone the launch of Gen2 EVO car until the 2021-2022 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, to reduce costs. 

Founder and chairman of Formula E, Alejandro Agag, stated, "During these challenging times, we have taken a flexible approach. Not only with the quick and sensible decision to temporarily suspend the season, but now by implementing cost measures to lower development costs for the teams. We listened to feedback from the teams and manufacturers and worked closely with the FIA to push back the launch of the Gen2 EVO and limit teams to a single homologation over the next two years. By doing so we have cut the projected car development costs in half. This was a necessary action to take to contain costs, given the health crisis and economic environment."

Formula E and the FIA have taken a flexible and collaborative approach to decrease spending. This will see the car development costs cut by half over the next two seasons. After an e-voting, FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) have decided to extend the homologation period, with manufacturers only able to alter powertrain components once over the next two seasons. Teams can either introduce a new car in season seven, for a two-year cycle or continue to use existing technology for the next season before homologating a new car the year after for a single season. Changes to technical regulations have been made keeping the long-term financial stability of the tournament in mind.

FIA President, Jean Todt added that, "In these difficult times, adapting the cost structures in motorsport is a priority to ensure its sustainability. I encouraged the decisions regarding the FIA Formula E Championship approved by the World Motor Sport Council in this regard, which is in line with the discussions currently underway for the other FIA disciplines."

Mahindra & Mahindra leads from the front
India-based Mahindra Racing has been a part of this from the beginning. Mahindra is at the forefront of corporate India’s fight against the pandemic. Repurposing engineering capabilities to manufacture PPEs - ventilators, respirators, face shields and masks for health care workers are among the key initiatives taken by the company. It is making its network of resorts available as temporary care facilities to government. The company’s logistics arm isensuring transportation continuity of essential goods and people. It is also providing masks and sanitisers to Police and Mumbai Municapility staff along with repurposing its crop care production towards disinfectants and sanitisers.
The company on thits website said, as the world collectively navigates the Covid-19 pandemic, Mahindra Racing’s partners are working hard to contribute where they can, using their particular skills and specialities. Some of their major partners like Shell, Umicore, ZF, Banbutsu, Voxdale and Mahindra & Mahindra are working on various measures to help the respective governments control the pandemic.

Shell facilitating easy movement of caregivers
Shell is in the midst of the collaborative global effort to assist in the pandemic. The natural gas is helping to power hospitals. Shell’s chemical plants are diverting resources to producing isopropyl alcohol as fast as they can; this makes up about half the content of the hand-sanitising liquid being used to keep the virus down around the world. And the fuel Shell is producing are powering the trucks bringing food from warehouses to shop and powering the ships getting goods from around the globe to restock the warehouses. They have 70,000 people logged in around the world doing their work from home, wherever they can find space.

Umicore enables thermal imaging
What is not widely known is that one of the screening methods used at places of significant public gatherings, such as airports and train stations, utilises infra-red (IR) thermal imaging optical components manufactured by Umicore. Their range of IR optical products are at the very forefront of thermal imaging capability, and are already being utilised around the world in a myriad of different ways for the early detection and control of the Covid-19 virus.

ZF gets into mask production overdrive
ZF has bought a small, faltering facemask company that was for sale in southern China and moved the production line machinery to its own Zhangjiagang plant near Shanghai. Since installation at the start of March, ZF have been making 100,000 masks a day, with any surplus products being made available to the medical auxiliaries, the needy and the Chinese government for the fight against Cocid-19 in the local communities.

Banbutsu enhances delivery service
Banbutsu is leveraging its technology, by partnering with Mobility Service Providers and brands to respond to the increased demand for home delivery services and engage. The platform will tap into the pool of recently laid-off workers to support the increased demand for delivery service. 

Voxdale designs 3D adaptor
Voxdale has designed a 3D-printable adaptor for the Ocean Reef snorkeling mask so that it can be transformed to an oxygen delivery device. This new setup prevents exhaled particles from contaminating the room or ambulance and the surroundings of the patient.

Formula E partners UNICEF
On April 14, Formula E announced it is teaming up with UNICEF to support the global coronavirus appeal, protecting vulnerable children and families most at risk during the pandemic. The partnership will focus on keeping children around the world healthy and learning in the face of coronavirus, with funds being directed to projects such as those contributing to remote learning programmes and the supply of essential protective equipment for hospital staff and care workers on the frontline. 

Working in partnership with UNICEF, Formula E will launch initiatives to raise funds in support of the global coronavirus appeal. These efforts will build upon an initial donation to UNICEF from Formula E, to make an immediate impact on the charity’s work    

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