The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has announced that ten teams will compete in the second year of Formula E racing, while eight manufacturers will supply powertrains. The competition is set to heat up during the 2015/2016 race calendar, with teams being allowed to develop the vehicles for the first time.
While Formula E racers might not compete at quite the same dizzying speeds seen in flagship Formula One racing, the all-electric cars are capable of speeds in excess of 225 km/h (140 mph). The first season included 11 races, with varying locations from Beijing to London, where the final two races will take place on June 27 and 28.
All teams will use the same Spark-assembled chassis in the second season, with eight manufacturers – ABT Sportsline, Andretti, Mahindra, Renault Sports, Ventauri Automobiles, Virgin Racing Engineering, NEXTEV TCR and Motomatica – providing powertrains to 10 teams.
"One of the key elements of Formula E is the rule that we have implemented that all of the teams can raise their hand and say 'I would like to have your powertrain' and the manufacturers are obliged to sell to any given team at a maximum capped price," said Formula E CEO Aljandro Agag of the relationship between manufacturers and championship entrants. "With this rule small teams will be able to buy big teams technology and we can achieve a bigger level of competition."
Up until now, teams have been using the exact same Spark-Renault SRT_01E car. That's set to change for the 2015/2016 season, with the series becoming an open championship, allowing teams to start making modifications to their vehicles. Those modifications will be limited to the powertrain for the time being – specifically the gearbox, inverter, e-motor and cooling system – but will extend to batteries from the third season onwards.
"The gradual opening up of the regulations will promote innovation, while at the same time keeping costs under control," said FIA President Jean Todt. "The solutions chosen by the manufacturers will hopefully lead to rapid development of the future-focused technologies at the heart of Formula E."
Update February 27: This article has been amended to correct some errors in the original text, namely that eight teams were to compete when in fact 10 teams will take part, while eight manufacturers have been accepted to provide powertrain technology. An additional source has been added to the links below.