The tenth season of the FIA-sanctioned all-electric Formula E racing series will go green this weekend with the opening round in Mexico City on January 13. This will be the second year the series has used ultra-efficient racing. Gen3 car, and aside from a number of teams changing one or both drivers, there aren’t any major changes from last year. However, Formula E’s new TV deal should make watching races in the US easier and less frustrating.
Formula E is now streaming on Roku and Paramount+
Formula E announced after it aired on CBS Sports in the US a new TV deal Last June to expand the availability of live events for Roku and Paramount+. 11 races will be streamed live for free exclusively on the Roku Channel. Also race previews, replays and Formula E version Drive to survive (Unplugged) is available to stream on Roku. All race replays will be immediately available on Roku, except for the Mexico City E-Prix, which will be delayed so CBS can air it after the NFL playoffs.
There’s also a new post-race show Refill, to bring you any action you may have missed. All Formula E content on The Roku will be free. The other E-Prix will be televised on CBS and live on Paramount+, including any overnight events that may be shown on a tape delay basis. Additional replays will be shown on CBS Sports Network.
Although the Roku Channel is an ad-supported network, Roku Media’s head of sports Joe Franzetta said there will be no commercials interrupting the races. Instead, the company works with Formula E to show them during pre-race and post-race programs. As this is the first season of the partnership, he has not ruled out changes in the future.
“For our first season with Formula E, we will run the races themselves as an ad-free experience,” he said. “As our partnership progresses, we will continue to explore ad formats such as picture-in-picture advertising.”
According to Aarti Dabas, Formula E’s chief media officer, races shown on CBS and Paramount+ may still have commercials during the live broadcast. This was a major headache for viewers in the US last season, as several E-Prix’s had great racing action while the broadcast was commercial-free. During the Portland race, the network went to commercials for the final four laps. Spectators in Rome missed a major accident. Formula E knows this can be frustrating, Dabas says, and is working to improve the experience, including the expanded use of picture-in-picture, or “double box,” so that live action can still be seen.
“We understand that it can be frustrating for fans when they miss out on key acts,” Dabas said. “We learn with every broadcast and ensure steps are taken to provide fans with a better viewing experience.”
Formula E will make archived races available to stream for free seven days after the E-Prix. These will be available from the series’ website library of past races It launched last November in addition to racing replays on Roku. There are currently no plans to make this available for streaming on other platforms, but doing so on the Formula E website only requires signing up for a free account.
Attack Charge pit stops are still not race ready
This was reported by The Race Attack Charge stands are not expected to be used at the first race in Mexico City earlier this month. This is another delay in the return of pit stops to the all-electric series. Previously, drivers had to change cars to pass the race. Technology has finally advanced to the point where a combination of preload and regen during races gives teams enough power to make it to the end. By the way, drivers only pit when they have an injury or problem, which almost certainly condemns them to finish at the back of the pack.
Formula E was supposed to trial Attack Charge suspensions at select races last season, but the infrastructure wasn’t ready in time. according to Competition, there are still issues with having enough equipment for each team, a problem that limits the use of installations during preseason testing in Spain last November. The earliest pitstops could debut is the E-Prix in Diriyah at the end of the month. There are concerns about how the 30-35 second stops will affect the quality of the race, as the street circuit nature of Formula E usually means tightly packed cars. Autoweek reports This Attach Charge will be available at the Misano double-header (rounds six and seven of the season) in April.
“Right now we’re not quite sure about all the systems, we’re trying to get everything working flawlessly,” champion Jake Dennis told the publication. “Every training session, every run we do between now and Misano will practice that and improve the software for every team.”
Update, January 12, 2024, 3:10 PM ET: This story has been updated with additional information from Roku and Formula E, including the planned debut for Attack Charge in April.