Sébastien Buemi (CHE), Nissan e.Dam, Nissan IMO1

Formula E tech war is all about software, says Buemi

Former Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi says that the biggest technical battle for teams in the 2018/19 season will be that of software updates.

The Nissan e.dams driver, who won the title in 2015/16, told Autosport that the battle in Formula-E will be akin to Formula One’s ongoing aerodynamic battle.

Naturally, one may expect the biggest battle in the all-electric series to be that of engine upgrades. But the regulations stipulate that such powertrain hardware updates are not permitted once teams homologate (have approved for racing) their technology for the new season, although changes may be allowed on reliability grounds -subject to the approval of the FIA and other manufacturers. Software updates, however, are permitted.

“[With] the hardware everything is more or less frozen when you go in the new season but there are so many things that you can do on the software,” Buemi told leading motorsport magazine Autosport.  “[This] helps with either the management of the energy or on a performance lap – there are many things we can try to make the car quicker.

“At some point of course it remains a compromise between having the best possible set-up, mechanically on the car. But the systems and the software are nearly the biggest performance tool you have today.

“We work a lot on that and we keep improving the car by adding new systems throughout the season, so yeah you can compare it to that [F1 updates] clearly.”

Buemi also highlighted the importance for teams to get things right straight off the bat with software changes rather rush through upgrades that could be detrimental to a team’s efforts.

“It’s at some point quite important to stop and just make sure that everything you have is working well and you don’t try to bring new updates constantly,” added Buemi. “[This is because] it is very easy to do a small mistake in the software world or the coding world and then the car stops on the track.”

Top image: Sébastien Buemi, Nissan e.Dam, Nissan. © Formula-E.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.

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