2015/2016 Formula E - The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire rises successfully to Formula E’s fresh challenges
The second season of electric single-seater racing has presented the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire with a whole new set of challenges following the introduction of new, more powerful cars and, in China, a faster track, yet Michelin’s Formula Etyretirewas more than a match for the changes.
Following a switch from a mid-September to late-October slot for this year’s Beijing ePrix, the weather was sunny but chillier than it was in 2014. However, that didn’t prevent spectators from turning out in numbers to watch the opening clash of the 2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship, of which Michelin is a founding partner.
All the teams used the same chassis as last season, but the latest technical regulations of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) now allow them to run their own motor, transmission and electronic management system. The rear suspension may also be modified, but the rest of the cars, including the battery, are identical across the grid.
Meanwhile, the FIA has authorised a power increase from 150kW to 170kW for the races, and from 170kW to 200kW in qualifying, and that has resulted in both enhanced acceleration performance and higher top speeds.
Although these modifications clearly make higher demands on the tyretires, no issues were reported at the opening round of the 2015/2016 championship. “The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV was developed especially for Formula E and the result is a consistent, high-performance tyretire,” says Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “Last season, it delivered more than the teams had been expecting, an all types of conditions, ranging from dry, to wet, from very hot to cold and from smooth to highly abrasive track surfaces. It is partly for this reason that the FIA asked us to freeze ourtyretire’s specification for Season 2 because of the big changes that have been made to the cars. We saw today in China that the Pilot Sport EV is still very much up to the task despite the upgraded performance of the cars, and that there is even sufficient margin to take on-board further changes.”
Technology contributing to spectator value
In order to provide the Chinese spectators with an even more exciting show, the championship’s organisers added an extra lap to the Beijing ePrix compared with 2014. They also revised Turns 3, 4 and 5 to remove one of chicanes, thereby making the start faster and providing the drivers with an additional overtaking opportunity. Achieving these goals was helped by the performance of Michelin’styretires and the confidence the drivers have in them.
“We have always been aware that the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV’s potential exceeded expectations,” notes Michelin Motorsport director Pascal Couasnon. “Despite the harsher context as far astyretires are concerned, the fastest race lap was posted two laps from the end! That shows that the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV is capable of giving its best even after being used for free practice and qualifying. Given the wear our technicians noted after the race, I would even go as far as to say that, from the technical point of view, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV is capable of covering two Formula E rounds.”
The Beijing ePrix was won by Sébastien Buemi (Renault-e.Dams), ahead of Lucas Di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport) and Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra Racing Formula E Team).
The next round will take teams to Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 7 (see complete calendar below).