Formula E car, tyre shown at Frankfurt
In March 2013, Michelin was confirmed as tyre supplier for the first two seasons of the new FIA Formula E Championship. Race fans attending the IAA show in Frankfurt this week have been amongst the first to see this new tyre up close; the unnamed, new generation 18-inch tyre was displayed fitted to the Spark-Renault SRT_01 car that will be used by all teams during the first year of this city-centre electric racing championship.
“The tyres were designed to deliver energy efficiency and to be as close as possible to street tyres,” shared Pascal Couasnon, head of Michelin’s Motorsport division. “In this way, the new FIA Formula E Championship is serving as a full-fledged laboratory for the development of the Michelin tyres of the future.”
The affinity between the tyres Michelin will supply to Formula E and road tyres can be seen in the tread; this is designed to allow use on both dry and wet tracks, and therefore racing can be held on all championship circuits in all weather conditions without the need for different specification tyres. “When driving on the open road in traffic, nobody uses slick tyres on his car, even if it is very sporty,” commented Nicolas Goubert, Michelin Motorsport technical director. “That’s why we wanted to use treaded tyres for the FIA Formula E Championship, which is held on circuits created in downtown areas. By staying close to reality, the transfer of racing tyre technology to street tyres is more relevant and can be made faster.”
Despite the tread, Nicolas Goubert stresses that the tyres Michelin will supply are true race tyres. “No treaded tyre today can deliver the same level of performance as the Michelin tyres designed for the FIA Formula E Championship. We designed them in accordance with the Michelin Total Performance strategy to offer speed, versatility of use and longevity on a level worthy of a single-seat car world championship.
Tyre tests on the SRT_01 will begin in December. Final details of the 2014 race calendar will be ratified this month, however it has already been decided that when the series gets underway in September 2014, drivers will receive one set of tyres per car for each meeting – these will need to cover free practice, qualifying and the race. Twenty cars from ten teams will participate.
“Michelin is delighted with the global scope that this new FIA World Championship is acquiring,” stated Serge Grisin, head of Michelin’s automobile racing operations. “Since the beginning, we have supported this project both for the technological interest provided by the group and because the events are to be held in downtown areas. This new type of competition is in tune with the times. It creates an exciting event for the public, while also demonstrating that automobile racing can provide real-life solutions to mobility issues. We’re convinced that the FIA Formula E Championship is the urban mobility laboratory of the future.”