Attack Mode, stylised as ATTACK MODE, is a power boost system implemented by the ABB FIA Formula E Championship ahead of the 2018/19 season. The idea of Attack Mode would see drivers drive through a specific section of the circuit to gain access to the temporary boost, which was limited to a certain amount of use per-E-Prix.
Attack Mode is a concept intended to introduce an element of strategy and non-conservation into each E-Prix, following the de facto removal of pitstops as a result of the new-for-2018/19 Spark SRT05e. The Mode will see drivers gain access to an extra 25kW of power, boosting each car's output in race conditions to 225kW (c.301 bhp) for eight minutes of racing, either in a single period or in short bursts. Use of the Mode has also been made compulsory, meaning all 22 cars will have to use it during the 45 minute E-Prix.
The FIA and FE intend for Attack Mode to both increase overtaking, both prior to and during its activation, as well as introduce an element of strategy to each race through energy management. Indeed, drivers and teams will have to compensate for the additional energy use when in Attack Mode by running more conservatively at other times during the race, which will likely create some chaotic scenarios during an E-Prix.
The use of Attack Mode is to be carefully controlled and monitored during each Formula E E-Prix, with the exact details of its use in each race only given to teams in the hour before each E-Prix.
In order to gain access to Attack Mode, a drive will have to active the system on their steering wheel, before driving off-line through a particular section of circuit. This section of circuit will have three timing loops to ensure that a driver has actively attempted to enter Attack Mode, which will be deployed when the driver passes through the final timing loop. The driver will then remain in Attack Mode until they have either de-armed the system from their steering wheel, or hit the maximum time limit for its use.
The amount of time that Attack Mode can be used is set to be vary between each E-Prix, although its use will be compulsory at every round. Furthermore, there are plans to vary the number of activations per-race, meaning drivers may have to drive through the activation zone multiple times. Additionally, the exact details of the use of Attack Mode at each E-Prix is to be withheld from the teams and drivers until the hour before each race to prevent teams running an excessive number of simulations to perfect their strategies.
It has also been confirmed that Attack Mode will be unavailable during the first two laps of the E-Prix.
Attack Mode will temporarily raise the power output of a Formula E car to 225 kW (c.301 bhp), up from the standard race mode of 200 kW (c.270 bhp). Furthermore, a car that has deployed Attack Mode will be indicated by a set of blue LED lights around the Halo device situated above the cockpit.
The implementation of the second generation of Formula E cars which could complete a full race distance without a pitstop, saw the FIA and Formula E examine a variety of methods to try and add an element of strategy to the series. The system ultimately chosen, which FE initially dubbed as "HyperBoost", would effectively introduce a compulsory power-boost system, which would raise the power to both increase overtaking, and force teams to constantly adapt their strategies on the fly. The system was full tested during a full race simulation staged during the 2018 Valencia Test, with a few minor tweaks made prior to the publication of the rules, and the name Attack Mode, in the build-up to the 2018 Ad Diriyah E-Prix.
Images and Videos:
- Sam Smith, 'Attack Mode Activation Details Revealed', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media LLC., 14/11/2018), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/attack-mode-activation-details-revealed/, (Accessed 06/12/2018)
- Sam Smith, 'Formula E Confirms Attack Mode Details', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media LLC., 03/12/2018), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/formula-e-confirms-attack-mode-details/, (Accessed 06/12/2018)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Formula E's 'Mario Kart' plan formalised for 2018/19 season by FIA', autosport.com, (Motorsport Network, 07/06/2018), https://www.autosport.com/fe/news/136580/fia-formalises-fe-mario-kart-race-format, (Accessed 06/12/2018)
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