Qualifying is a part of the Formula E day, in which drivers attempt to set the fastest lap they can achieve in order to determine their grid position in the following ePrix. The fastest driver starts from pole position and also receives three championship points for their efforts.
The first Formula E qualifying session was held at the 2014 Beijing ePrix on the 13th of September 2014. Pole position went to Nicolas Prost of e. dams-Renault, whose time of 1:42.200s was enough to beat the rest of the field. He, team mate Sébastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne were the only three drivers to set pole position times in the first five ePrix, before Daniel Abt became the first non-French speaking driver to take pole, doing so at the 2015 Long Beach ePrix. Buemi, meanwhile, was the first driver to win an ePrix from pole position, achieving the feat at the 2015 Monaco ePrix, an achievement as yet unequalled. He would repeat the feat in London at the season finale, with Vergne the other driver to take a third pole position in the season.
The original format of five cars in one of four groups (with each group given a ten minute window to set two quick times) was retained for season two, albeit with a few tweaks. Each group would now only have a six minute window to set their fastest time (enough for just one flying lap), with the fastest five overall going through to the "Super Pole" session. The fifteen minute "Super Pole" session sees the top five cars go out one at a time to set a lap good enough for pole.
The qualifying session is held after the two practice sessions at around midday on each Formula E day. The session lasts for 55 minutes, but each car is permitted only 6 minutes of track time to set their fastest lap. The cars are split into four groups of five drivers, with each group given ten minutes to set a time. The grid is determined from the fastest times of each driver, before the top five overall are placed into a "Super Pole" session at the end of the group phase. The rest of the fifteen drivers start in the order that they originally qualified, unless penalties are applied.
The "Super Pole Shootout", as it is officially known, sees the top five from the groups enter a new fifteen minute session to determine the order of the top five. The slowest of the quintet leaves the pits first, and has a whole lap to set their car up for one flying lap before the second slowest car enters the circuit, and so on. In essence, each of the top five will have a clear circuit to drive on, with the fastest driver receiving three points for pole as well.
From 2018/19 onward the rules regarding the groups and Super Pole were changed to incorporate the increased number of cars. The groups were to be set based on Championship position, with two groups of five and two of six, designed to keep those in title contention together throughout the season. Furthermore, the number of drivers allowed to compete in Super Pole was increased to six, although all other rules remained unchanged.
In a qualifying session, a driver is limited to a single car, which cannot be charged during the session. The car may run at the full power of 200 kw (270 bhp) for one lap in their 6 minute run, with the fastest overall driver given three points. Penalties such as driving infringements that affect the order of the grid (such as demotions) are applied after qualifying. The same rules and power limits apply for the "Super Pole" session, with all cars running at the race power limit of 170 kw (228 bhp) when not on a flying lap.
So far, thirteen different drivers have started from pole, with only ten ePrix won by the driver starting with a clear track ahead. Sébastien Buemi would be the first man to set pole position, fastest lap and claim victory during the same weekend, doing so at the 2015 Beijing ePrix en-route to the 2015/16 crown. In contrast, several drivers have failed to score any points in the ePrix itself, while most have failed to claim the fastest lap of the ePrix, despite being the fastest driver over a single lap.
The list below shows all of the drivers whom have taken pole position in Formula E history.
|ePrix Pole Sitters*|
|Sébastien Buemi||11||First driver to win an ePrix from pole position|
|Jean-Éric Vergne||4||Claimed first pole position on debut.|
|Nicolas Prost||3||First driver to take pole position.|
|Lucas di Grassi||3|
|Nelson Piquet Jr.||1|
|Alex Lynn||1||Claimed first pole position on debut.|
* Correct as of the 2018 New York City E-Prix II.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 'Rules & Regulations: Qualifying', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/guide/rules-and-regs.aspx, (Accessed 19/07/2015)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 'Nicolas Prost claims pole position for the Beijing ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/09/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/september/nicolas-prost-claims-pole-position-for-the-formula-e-beijing-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 30/04/2015)
- ↑ 'Buemi’s stroll in the park', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 27/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/buemi-wins-as-edams-renault-clinch-team-title.aspx, (Accessed 30/06/2015)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 'Formula E launches Super Pole shoot-out', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 18/09/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/september/formula-e-launches-super-pole-shoot-out.aspx, (Accessed 09/10/2015)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sam Smith, 'Qualifying Lottery System Scrapped', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 03/07/2018), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/qualifying-lottery-system-scrapped/, (Accessed 04/07/2018)
- ↑ 'Next generation Formula E Car breaks cover in Geneva', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/03/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/march/next-generation-formula-e-car-breaks-cover-in-geneva/, (Accessed 06/03/2018)
- ↑ 'Buemi to the max in Beijing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/10/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/buemi-wins-swusp-beijing-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 25/10/2015)
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