ABB FIA Formula E Championship: 2018/19 Season

HWA AG preparations for Formula E entry are in full swing

  • Race car build continues until mid-September
  • First tests with the Gen2 vehicle in Valencia (16 - 19 October)
  • Debut in the season opener hosted by Ad Diriyah on 15 December

Affalterbach: Exactly 100 days from now, the much-anticipated moment will arrive when HWA AG sends two all-electric racing cars into action in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

The capital of Saudi Arabia will host the race debut for the team on 15 December when Season 5 of the electric racing series gets underway. The first all-electric race in the region marks the beginning of a new era in the Formula E. The first race of the 2018/19 campaign, running through the streets of the scenic Ad-Diriyah district in Riyadh, will be contested by the new Gen2 cars in their first race.

Until then, the team has an intensive period of preparation ahead, which will keep it busy for the remaining 100 days. Let’s take a look behind the scenes of the Formula E project ...

How have preparations gone so far?
The challenge can be described in just a few words but is far more complicated to deliver: within just a few months, the team has laid the groundwork for entry into a highly competitive racing series. A major job for everyone involved.

At the beginning of the project, it was all about the vision, the business plan and the contractual arrangements. As soon as these were agreed with the Formula E officials and the team’s partner and manufacturer Venturi GP, the team proceeded to the implementation stage.

A completely new set of equipment has been procured for the team, ranging from pit equipment and team clothing to the actual vehicle parts. Here, the project has benefited from the team’s existing resources and the expertise it has acquired over many years in other high-end racing series such as the DTM.

What about the car?
The team is entering Season 5 of Formula E as a customer team of Venturi. This Monaco-based team has been contesting the series since the inaugural 2014/15 season and has accumulated extensive experience in the field. For the upcoming campaign, Venturi will provide the team with two Gen2 cars.

With a usable battery capacity of 54 kilowatts per hour (kWh), the new generation of vehicles is almost twice as powerful as its predecessor. Thanks to the additional energy, the maximum power has increased to 250 kilowatts (kW), a huge difference to the previous car. This equates to 335 horsepower which can be deployed in practice and qualifying. In the race itself, 200 kW (i.e. 272 horsepower) are available. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in about 2.8 seconds and reaches a theoretical top speed of 280 km/h. The more efficient battery means that, with effect from the new season, drivers will no longer need to switch to a second car halfway through the race.

What have been the biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge for the entire team has undoubtedly been time pressure. Before the outcome of the first race in Riyadh is decided by tenths or even hundredths of a second, the team has had to devise a completely new racing programme within just a few months. In such a scenario, any delay or hitch is a major setback. Fortunately, the team has encountered very few along the way. The many years of experience in professional motorsport brought by all the team members to the project has made a decisive contribution here.

Another challenge is the specifications laid down by Formula E, which are very different from conventional racing series. These concern both the organisational processes at the race weekends, which normally consist of one-day events, and procedures with the innovative electrical engineering. For example, the engineers and mechanics have had to be retrained and/or receive further training in safety regulations as they apply to electromobility.

In this regard, the team greatly benefits from having put together a high-quality pool of engineers and mechanics over recent years, all of whom can look back on many years of racing experience and are confident about tackling a new project of this kind.

How much does the team benefit from working with Venturi?
Since the start of Season 4, HWA AG has been supporting Venturi with a technical partnership. On this basis, the team has been able to gain valuable experience in preparation for eventual entry in its own right and to train its own employees in the racing series over a longer period of time. This has given them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the specific characteristics of Formula E.

The existing partnership with Venturi has helped the team to ensure that the team members are optimally prepared for the start of the season in Ad Diriyah. At the same time, however, the team still has a lot of work to do before it can send the new car out onto racetrack for the first time during the test week.

Another way of bringing expertise and experience to the team is to recruit new staff. An example of this is Technical Director Franco Chiocchetti who has joined the team from our competitors at Audi and brings added strength to the Formula E outfit.

What further steps need to be taken in the run-up to the race debut?
The countdown to the race debut on 15 December has begun. The closer we get to the official test week in October, the busier the factory will become. By mid- September, the team will have all the hardware on site, and construction of the two racing cars will be nearing completion.

Between 16 and 19 October, the two new cars will turn a wheel for the first time at the official pre-season tests in Valencia. At the same time, freight containers and equipment will be prepared for transportation to the season opener in Saudi Arabia.

No later than the first race weekend in mid-December, the team should be able to concentrate fully on track performance. This includes work in the simulator, the development of which is currently proceeding apace. Just like in any other race series, simulations in Formula E are an absolute key element in preparation and optimisation. Fortunately, the team can draw on a wealth of experience from its drivers and engineers in this area.

There is still a lot to be done ahead of the first Formula E race in team history. The team certainly won’t have time to get bored over the next 100 days.


Oliver Kapffenstein, Motorsport Communications, DTM and Formula E Tel: +49 (0) 160 8 67 47 97,

Marlene Wieland, Motorsport Communications, DTM and Formula E Tel: +49 (0) 160 8 62 80 80,