Renault E.Dams FIA Formula E Season 4 By: Renault
•Renault e.dams is the most successful team in the short history of the FIA Formula E championship
•Renault e.dams has won three constructors championships in three seasons
•Renault e.dams returns this weekend where it will aim to defend its world titles at the opening ePrix in Hong Kong
•Sébastien Buemi and Nico Prost return to the team for their fourth season
Renault e.dams is the most successful team in the short history of the FIA Formula E Championship. With three Teams' titles, a Drivers' title and 15 wins, Renault e.dams has been the benchmark since the series inception in 2014.
Led by four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost and DAMS team founder Jean-Paul Driot, the team enjoys strong technical support from Renault Sport Racing, the hugely successful manufacturer-backed motorsport operation that encompasses racing disciplines from Formula One to endurance racing.
A world leader in electric mobility with its ground-breaking Z.E. range, Renault has embraced the innovative series' potential and seized the opportunity to demonstrate its expertise on an international platform. Using its motorsport engine hub at Viry-Châtillon, it has developed one of the most powerful and technically advanced powertrains in the field.
With Season 2 Formula E Champion Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost behind the wheel, the team now enters the fourth season of the championship with the same ambition to win races and just one goal: to be champions!
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director:
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'For 40 years, engine activity has been Renault's watchword in motorsports, in Formula 1 and since 2014 in Formula E. As the only constructor currently involved in both disciplines, Renault has developed numerous synergies between the two programmes. It is first and foremost the case on the technical side, with shared engineering. I believe that our supremacy in Formula E can be explained in large part by the expertise developed for Formula 1 since the introduction of hybrid systems in 2009. For Season 4, Renault's challenge will be to balance the resources between defending its three Teams' titles by providing a service that should be particularly exemplary in this season of technical stability. These synergies are also reflected visually, thus the new Renault e.dams livery already foreshadows the evolution of our identity in Formula 1 for the 2018 season.'
1.Team Management •Alain Prost
2.Season 3 in numbers
4.Our Drivers •Sébastien Buemi
6.From track to road: the ZOE eSport Concept
7.About Formula E
9.Nissan to replace Renault e.dams in Season 5
Senior Team Manager
Alain Prost is one of motorsport's genuine legends. A four-time Formula One World Champion with 51 victories to his name, his racing duels are among the most memorable in motorsport history.
Born in 1955 near Saint-Chamond (Loire, France), Alain Prost took an interest in many sports and considered a professional career in football before trying his hand in karting during a family vacation. In 1974, the Frenchman left school to concentrate on racing. A year later, he won his first title in the French Karting Championship, his prize for which was a season in Formula Renault. He would win two titles in the category before moving to Formula Three. In 1978 and 1979 he won both the French and European F3 championships. On the radar of the F1 teams, he carefully studied his options before signing with McLaren in1980.
During his first season in F1 – during one of the most competitive eras in the sport – Alain Prost scored points four times. He then joined Renault in 1981 and his first win came shortly after. He won the French Grand Prix in 1981 at Dijon. More victories came with Renault with nine in three seasons, at tracks such as Monza, Silverstone and the Österreichring.
In 1984, Alain returned to McLaren to be a part of what was a fantastic period. In six years, Alain won 30 races, three World Championships and twice finished runner-up. He became the first French World Champion in 1985 and also became the first to win back-to-back titles since Jack Brabham. In scoring his 28th victory in 1987, he broke Jackie Stewart's record, which had stood for 14 years.
In 1988, Alain won seven of the McLaren-Honda team's 15 victories (from 16 races!). All eyes, however, were focused on the emerging rivalry with his new team-mate Ayrton Senna, who won eight races and the World Championship. Both on and off the track, the rivalry pushed both men to reach new levels. The two continued McLaren's domination throughout 1989, with Alain proving victorious that year.
Alain joined Ferrari in 1990 where he added another five victories to his total. Once again, the championship battle came down to the final race of the season with Senna getting the nod. A difficult season in 1991 led to Alain taking a year sabbatical before returning with Williams-Renault in 1993. This collaboration resulted in seven victories to take his career total to 51 and a fourth Drivers' title at the end of the year, Alain retired in style. He then got involved in different ventures both related to and not to F1, including Renault e.dams, one of the most ambitious and equally most successful endeavours.
1. Renault e.dams starts its fourth and final season in the Formula E championship. What are your impressions?
My impressions are very positive but also somewhat easy to draw because we have won the three Teams' Championships and one Drivers' Championship from three. Even though we didn't win the Drivers' title in Season 1 and 3, it was very close. We know that Renault will no longer be with us after Season 4 so we really want to win the Teams' Championship for them this year.
2. Formula E is now a successful championship. What is your opinion about this bold venture?
After three years in existence, even the constructors that have been involved since day one have had a hard time imagining the success of Formula E today. Its fame is notably due to the involvement of the constructors already involved (Renault, Audi, Jaguar) and those will join in the future (Porsche, Mercedes, BMW…). This shows that the category has a bright future. However, we must still be prudent. It is a category that needs to continue to consolidate. Many challenges await with for example the opening of the technical regulations and the business model of the events.
3. What are the team's goals for this season?
The goal has been the same since the first season and there is no reason for that to change this year. We want to win the Teams' and Drivers' titles. Nevertheless, this objective will be harder to reach due to the increased level of competition this season. We were challenged and caught at the end of Season 3 by some other teams but we have the assets to try to win these two titles again.
4. The noose is tightening this year. What will be your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge will be to remain as consistent as possible throughout the season and of course at all the races. It is clear that there are a number of potential winners in the field this year. One of the challenges will be to avoid errors and non-points scoring races. The champion at the end of the season will be the one who keeps his nerves in check and wins races while ensuring maximum points when he doesn't have the means to race for the victory. Efficiency and consistency will be the keys to success this season.
5. What are your impressions about the new destinations on the calendar?
It is always important that we have new destinations. This proves how interested the cities and countries are in hosting Formula E. I am delighted to see Rome and Zurich added to the calendar because this allows us to consolidate our market in Europe.
6. Your partners have been the same since Season 1. Does that provide stability to the team?
Absolutely. It is not only great stability but more importantly proof of loyalty. It shows us that we have reliable partners that are convinced and motivated by their involvement over the long term. We are very happy to continue our project with our partners.
Senior Team Manager
Jean-Paul Driot has had a tremendously successful racing career for nearly 30 years.
Leading DAMS since its formation, Jean-Paul Driot has steered it to a host of international championships, most notably in Formula One's official feeder category, the GP2 series (which today has become the FIA Formula 2 Championship), and its forerunner, International F3000, as well as in Formula Renault 3.5. But perhaps his greatest achievement has been uncovering and nurturing young talent. Jean-Paul has been instrumental in the career development of several racing stars, placing his faith and the DAMS team's support behind talents like Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly on their ascent to F1.
When the time came to get involved with the ground-breaking FIA Formula E Championship, Jean-Paul Driot immediately seized the opportunity. A firm believer in the concept of racing fully-electric single-seater cars, the famed team owner joined forces with F1 legend Alain Prost to launch e.dams, now competing as Renault e.dams in partnership with the French car maker.
As well as single-seater racing, Jean-Paul has also led the team in successful racing programmes in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the Porsche Supercup. Additionally, Jean-Paul is heavily involved with the French motor racing industry and has held several notable positions, including President of the FFSA circuit commission in the late 1990s and within the ACF (Automobile Club de France). His contribution has seen him awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite and Gold Medal from the French Ministry of Sports.
1. What are your thoughts as Renault e.dams enters Season 4 as the three-time defending Teams' champion?
First of all, it is very satisfying to have written the beginning of the electric era history, by winning the first three Championships with Renault e.dams. Then the satisfaction of not having erred in joining Formula E and Alejandro Agag when he asked me to take part.
2. After a third year full of success – even if not straightforward because of date conflicts and disqualifications – how will the team tackle this season?
We are entering this season with a little more apprehension than previous seasons because it is always very difficult to stay on top in business in general, but even more so in motorsport. We are still very motivated and ideally prepared, in order to face an increasingly more competitive opposition.
3. Have you made any changes to the team during the off-season?
The only change we made is the additional grey matter in the team to increase skill levels. The technology for electric race cars is changing day by day, so we must follow it closely and even anticipate its future.
4. You have had the same drivers since the beginning of the championship. Do you think this is a strength?
Stability in a race team is an essential element to being successful when it comes to engineers, mechanics, and of course, drivers. Our duo is very competitive and very complementary. Both know each other very well, respect each other and therefore form a common front in the face of adversity.
5. We will be going to three new circuits this year (Santiago, Sao Paulo and Rome). What are your impressions about the calendar?
The 2018 calendar is a lot more consistent than in the past. This is very important for the public, because the races will be much closer now. The new capitals we will go to are also a big asset for our Championship because everyone knows them: Rome, Zurich, Buenos Aires and Santiago complete an already very prestigious schedule with New-York, Paris, Berlin and Hong Kong.
6. What are the team's goals this season?
As always, to win!
2.Season 3 in numbers
9 countries visited
2 pole positions
2 fastest race laps
268 points (157 for Sébastien Buemi – 93 for Nicolas Prost)
From Hong Kong to Montréal, the FIA Formula E Championship Season 3 featured 12 races and 5 continents. Thanks to Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost, Renault e.dams captured its third consecutive Teams' title and remains undefeated in the category. While the team got off to strong start to the season with three wins for Sébastien Buemi and three fourth places for Nicolas Prost in the first three races, Mexico City proved to be more difficult. Due to his commitment to Toyota in WEC, Sébastien couldn't get to the circuit until the Saturday morning. Despite a fine effort (and after having posted the fastest lap in the race) Sébastien finished 13th in the race. Thanks to a strong drive through the field, Nicolas scored important points for the team in finishing fifth. Monaco and Paris saw Sébastien score his two pole positions of the season and return to the top step of the podium.
After Monaco, Renault e.dams wanted to finish the European swing in style with the two rounds in Berlin. Two races with mixed results: while Nicolas finished fifth in race 1, Sébastien was disqualified due to a non-conforming tyre pressure. In race 2, Sébastien was back at the sharp end of the order with a win, while Nicolas finished eighth.
Attention then turned towards New York, when Sébastien once again was committed to racing in the WEC. France's Pierre Gasly, who had recently been signed by Toro Rosso in Formula One, replaced the Swiss driver. Thanks to the hard work of both drivers, Renault e.dams left the United States with a 65-point lead in the Teams' Championship, and Sébastien still had a 10-point lead. The season finale in Montreal sounded the end of a season full of success and some disappointment. The goal for this weekend was simple but ambitious: to retain both Teams' and Drivers' Titles. While Sébastien had to give up the crown to his sworn enemy, Lucas Di Grassi, after two complicated races, Renault e.dams won its third consecutive title and remains undefeated since the inception of the category.
Formula E is revolutionary championship because it is the first 100% electric category in the world of motorsport. Therefore, it stipulates that all cars must be driven solely by electric power. The powertrain consists of an electric motor, an inverter, a gearbox, a cooling system, an electronic control system and a battery. While the constructors are free to choose the first five elements, the battery is common. The carbon-fibre chassis and aerodynamic package are strictly identical among all the constructors compared to Season 3, and Michelin is the sole tyre manufacture chosen to put the accent on the exploitation of the electric powertrain while keeping costs contained.
The car accelerates from 0 to 100kph in three seconds and has a top speed of 225kph. The battery energy is limited to 28kWh with a maximum power of 200kWh in qualifying (versus 180kWh in race mode). That equates to nearly 270hp, the power of a Renault Mégane R.S, proving that Formula E is at the forefront of EV technology.
Inside the Formula E car
Built by SPARK, a French business specially created for Formula E, the chassis consist of a carbon fibre-aluminium honeycomb composite. They are subjected to the same crash tests as Formula One. Each of the ten teams has four cars. The bodywork, wings and suspension are also built by SPARK. The team could develop their own rear suspension in Season 2. The set-ups must be identical on both sides of the car and the wheelbase must remain the same as in Season 1.
The motor takes the energy produced by the battery and uses it to drive the wheels. In Season 1, McLaren produced the motor before the constructors could take over from Season 2.
This component converts the charge of electricity generated by the battery of a direct current (DC) to an alternating current (AC) so that the motor can drive the wheels. Since Season 2, the teams have been free to use their own solution to find the most effective package.
The driver uses the gearbox to optimize the use of the power delivered by the battery via the motor. All teams must use the same powertrain for the entire season while having a wild card for each element. Torque vectoring – using a motor on each wheel to effectively create traction control – is outlawed and a common differential is used on all cars.
The specificity of Formula E lies in its 100% electric propulsion generated by a lithium-ion battery powering the motor. All teams use the same standard battery, chosen before the launch of the championship to control costs and to avoid an arms race at the commencement of the category. A battery must be used for a full season. Its energy is limited to 28kWh. A battery cannot power a car for an entire race, the drivers must change cars. In Season 5, a new standard battery and a new regulation will allow for doubling autonomy and drivers will have just one car per race.
For each event, a driver cannot use more than five new front tyres, as well as five new rear tyres. These treaded tyres can be used for all track conditions. Michelin is the sole manufacturer and will supply modified tyres in Season 4 to give greater economy of energy and better efficiency.
Technical history of Formula E
In the inaugural 2014/15 season, all the teams had strictly identical SPARK-Renault powertrains, gearboxes, chassis' and aerodynamic packages. The objective was to contain the budgets so that the category could establish is competitiveness in a stable framework. As a championship consultant for powertrain queries, Renault Sport also had its own partner: e.dams.
The championship was opened to constructors developing their own powertrains. The teams still had to use identical chassis', batteries and tyres, but they had new freedoms on motors, gearboxes, transmissions and control systems to promote electric drivetrains technologies.
Following the major changes of Season 2 allowing constructors to develop their own powertrains, the developments for Season3 were more nuanced.
Like in Season 3, very few changes have been introduced for this new season however the amount of available race power has been increased from 170kW to 180kW. Everyone is preparing for Season 5, which will emerge as a revolution in the championship: in addition to an aesthetic change, the drivers will have only one car at their disposal. Battery autonomy will also be revised upwards.
The Renault Z.E.17
The Renault e.dams Z.E.17 consists of a SPARK SR_01E chassis and the Z.E.17 powertrain developed by Renault Sport Racing at its Viry-Châtillon engine operations base in the suburbs of Paris.
Renault Sport specification
Single motor with high grade permanent magnet
Single inverter integrated with the motor
Maximum power: 200kW (270hp), regulated by FIA
In race mode: 180kW (240hp), regulated by FIA
Braking regeneration power: 150kW, regulated by FIA
High efficiency geartrain
ECU: MAT (McLaren Applied Technology) Tag 400l
Control software developed by Renault
SPARK bespoke for all manufacturers
Front and rear wing including spoiler: carbon
Bodywork: carbon and Kevlar
Front suspension: steel wishbone and pushrod
Bespoke for all manufacturers
Capacity: 28kWh, regulated by FIA
Range: 25 minutes (approx.) in race conditions
Michelin bespoke 18-inch treaded tyres
Two separate hydraulic systems operated by the same pedal
Calliper made from aluminium alloy
Acceleration : 0-100kph in 3s
Maximum speed: 225kph
Dimensions and Weight
880kg, including driver
Q&A with Vincent Gaillardot, Director of Formula E Programme
Vincent joined Renault Sport in 1989. He initially worked in the dyno testing department before joining the Williams test team. He left Renault in 1996 for various positions within chassis teams, particularly with Arrows and Prost, before returning to Renault in 2004 where he was responsible for the electrical department before taking up his new post as the Renault Sport Project Leader for Formula E in 2015. In 2017, he became the Director of Formula E Programme.
1) What optimisations have been made to the Z.E.17 compared to last year's car?
For Season 4, we are arriving at the end of the FIA regulation cycle. In fact, we will have used this car for the past four years. Starting next season, the regulations will be completely different. We have improved all the small details concerning the electric motor to optimize performance. But also on the mechanical side to optimize the handling of the car in regards to the vehicle's suspension and differential. Finally, we have enhanced the control systems.
2) After three years and as many Teams' titles, what is your technical assessment of Renault e.dams?
We can congratulate ourselves for having made the right technical choices for this all- electric series in Season 2 and to having improved from year to year to keep the advantage. When there is stability in the regulations, all the constructors move towards a common solution so let's see what we will be able to do this year, but so far the assessment is really positive.
3) Have you adapted specific areas of your competition preparation for this season?
We are aware of the level of competition this season. So we have had to improve our approach in all areas to extract the best possible performance. We have done everything we could to improve for Season 4. We just have to start the season to see if we will get the expected results.
4) How do you prepare for the four new circuits on the calendar? (Santiago, Sao Paulo, Zurich and Rome)
The approach is always the same no matter the circuits. When they are new, we have to wait for the layout to make a CAD layout in order to do all our simulations, define the best set-ups and race energy strategies. So the work remains similar for all the races, except for waiting for the layout to develop this preparation process in simulation.
5) How did you use the Renault Sport Racing and Groupe Renault facilities in the design of the Renault Z.E.17?
The development of the Z.E.17 is integrated in the Renault Sport Racing process because we use the same experts for F1 and FE. We use the same facilities and processes. The development is fully integrated, allowing us to create synergies between Formula One and Formula E.
6) What is your assessment of the tests the team conducted at Valencia? What is your approach for this new season?
The goal at Valencia was to make sure there were no reliability issues with the car but also to be sure that our improvements and specifications for Season 4 worked once the cars were on track. The objective was met and we can congratulate ourselves. I think that it will be the closest season in terms of performance. We have already seen this in comparing the time sheets during the tests. This year there will be several contenders for the win but we are always competitive and ready to improve each detail to be able to win.
Date of birth: 31 October 1988
Place of birth: Aigle, Switzerland
Marital status: Married to Jennifer, one son (Jules)
FIA Formula E Championship record to date:
Pole Positions : 8
Fastest laps: 8
Sébastien Buemi has always raced and enjoyed success at the pinnacle of single-seater and sports car competition. In 2014 he clinched the LMP1 Drivers' title in the FIA World Endurance Championship and followed up with a heartbreakingly near-miss for outright victory in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours. 2016 FIA Formula E drivers' champion, Sébastien came up just a bit short of taking the title last season due to a date conflict with the WEC. He remains the man to beat.
The Swiss driver started racing competitively in karting in 1993 and steadily climbed the European motorsport ladder. In 2004 he was picked up by Red Bull after graduating to single-seaters and finished second in Formula BMW, behind a certain Sebastian Vettel.
In 2005, Sébastien was German Formula BMW series' vice-champion. He maintained that momentum in Formula Renault Eurocup, A1 GP and F3 (runner-up in 2007) en route to the GP2 Series, Formula One's feeder category. He took two wins in the series, one of which came having started 21st on the grid on a damp track. His talent ensured he was picked by Scuderia Toro Rosso to make his Formula One debut in 2009. He drove for them from 2009 to 2011, taking part in 55 Grands Prix and scoring 29 points. He even finished his first-ever Grand Prix in Melbourne in the points. Since 2012, he's been the Red Bull Racing reserve driver.
Sébastien is also part of the Toyota driver line-up in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He has competed in the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing third in 2014 before seeing the victory closely in 2016, when his car then leading the race, abandoned in the last lap. Sébastien demonstrated his versatility entering the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship with Renault e.dams. Claiming three wins, three pole positions, two further podiums and one fastest lap, the Swiss ended his season second in the drivers' standings, just one point behind Nelson Piquet Jr.
He went one better in 2015/16 and secured the title at the last race in London. Three wins and three further podiums gave him his first Formula E crown. Last season, Sébastien dominated the first three rounds, and then was back to his winning ways at Monaco, Paris and Berlin. With six victories and two pole positions, he was the man to beat. Nevertheless, a date conflict between the WEC and Formula E forced Sébastien to miss the two rounds in New York City and his title chance disappeared at the season finale in Montreal. For the final season of Renault e.dams, Sébastien is laser focused on winning a second driver's title!
1) You are heading into your fourth season with Renault e.dams. How are you approaching this year?
Like every season that we begin, I am very hopeful and I want to do a good job. I think that we are better prepared than in previous years, and we've had a very stable team for the past few years. The level of competition has risen, so stability is an asset for us. We have analysed the positives and negatives over the off-season following Season 3 in order to show up in Hong Kong as prepared as possible.
2) What did you learn last year?
That you should not miss a race (laughs). No, more seriously, to be as regular as possible. This season, consistency will be the key to success. Being far ahead will not be possible anymore so it will have to be regular and get maximum points when the win isn't possible (fastest lap, pole position).
3) In your opinion, what are the team's strengths?
Stability is one of the team's strongest points. It has also been a very competitive team since the beginning of the championship. We have people who were with the team before Season 1, so when we take on Season 4 with the same team members, this allows for a real understanding and a calm stability. We manage to extract the best from ourselves through this.
4) You have had the same team mate since the beginning. How important is this for you?
We have known each other for a long time. This friendship allows us to trust each other and help the team go forward. We have our routine and we work hand in hand to improve the car.
5) What are the main challenges this season?
There will be several challenges: we will have to adapt to the new rules since we will be racing at 180kW. But we will also have to adapt to new tracks (Zurich, Santiago, Sao Paulo). Sharing our resources will also be a challenge: there will be a kind of sharing of power because we'll need to work on the development of the Season 5 car while continuing to perform in Season 4.
6) In your opinion, who will be your toughest adversary?
Again, I think I will have several rivals this season. If we rely on the history of the championship, Di Grassi will be one of the main challengers. Audi has invested a lot in the championship with a bigger infrastructure and a consequent budget. I will also keep an eye on Mahindra, Techeetah, etc.
7) What do you think about the new circuits on the calendar? And specifically your home ePrix in Switzerland?
The Zurich ePrix will be an incredible time for me as a Swiss driver. Despite the pressure, I will try to enjoy this weekend as much as I can and to give the fans the best possible result I can. This year, the calendar is a good mix; we will return to tracks that we know with Paris, Berlin, Mexico, Hong-Kong and Montreal. And we also have some new ones. I am delighted to discover these new destinations.
8) What will be your biggest challenge this year?
The biggest challenge will be to be competitive, consistent and score as many points as possible. I have never been better prepared and look forward to starting!
Date of birth: 18 August 1981
Place of birth: Saint-Chamond, France
Marital status: Married to Delphine, one son (Kimi).
FIA Formula E Championship record to date:
Pole Positions : 2
Fastest laps: 3
Born in Saint-Chamond, France, Nicolas Prost continues his prolific career in motor racing, having competed in some of the world's top single-seater and endurance categories. Nico was however a relative latecomer to the sport, concentrating instead on a university education in business management and a passion for golf.
Graduating from Columbia College in New York, he began his racing career in 2003 aged 22 in Formula Campus. He continued in the series in 2004 before entering the French Formula Renault 2.0 Championship with Graff Racing. Nico then joined Racing Engineering for their 2006 Spanish Formula Three Championship campaign where he won a race and scored six additional podiums, earning him the rookie title. In 2007 he remained in Formula 3 where he won races and scored six podiums on his way to third overall.
In 2008, he stepped up to the Euroseries F3000 category and won the title after displaying a remarkable level of consistency throughout the 16-race season. Nico also made his ice-racing debut in 2009, winning the Electrical Andros Trophy series title that year and winning the title again the following season. In 2011 and 2012, he joined father Alain in the works Dacia team and claimed the rookie title in the main series. His smooth driving style and flexibility would prove vital to his successful transition to endurance racing where fast, mistake-free driving is essential.
Nico made his endurance debut in 2007 and has competed in various series in Europe and the USA. Competing for the Anglo-Swiss Rebellion Racing team, Nico has contested the world- famous Le Mans 24 Hours on several occasions, recording a best finish of fourth overall in 2012 and 2014 and winning the LMP1 Privateer class in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016. Nico also won back to back Petit Le Mans in 2012 and 2013. Furthermore, he has also enjoyed success in the Le Mans Series, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and the LMP1 Privateer class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which he won with Rebellion in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In 2017, he contributed a lot to the title win with Rebellion in LMP2 and would have won the drivers' title if there had not a clash of dates between the New York ePrix and the 6 hours of Nüburgring.
Between 2012 and 2013, Nico dovetailed his endurance racing commitments with a test driver role at the Renault-powered Lotus F1 where he carried out significant levels of development work aboard the squad's grand prix-winning cars.
Nico joined Renault e.dams to take part in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship in 2014/15. He secured the first-ever pole position at the series debut event in Beijing and he went on to claim a second consecutive pole at Putrajaya, his first Formula E podium in Argentina and his maiden win at the Miami ePrix. After a difficult start to Season 2, Nico went from strength to strength, securing his first podium of the year in Mexico and ending the season with a double win in London to clinch third in the drivers' championship. Season 3 was more complicated for Nicolas who was nevertheless the only driver in the field to score points at each round, finishing sixth in the championship.
1. What is your mindset just a few days before the start of FIA Formula E Championship's Season 4?
I am focused on the opening weekend. The end of Season 3 was a bit complicated, especially in qualifying. We have worked a lot to start the new season in style. The pressure is slowly building, but I am ready.
2. Renault e.dams won the Team's title for the third consecutive time. How is the atmosphere in the team?
As far as we are concerned, the three titles are a thing of the past and we are now concentrating on the future. I would say that the atmosphere is almost 'vengeful', because we want to win both the team's and driver titles.
3. What are your goals for this season?
Of course we want to win a fourth Teams' title in order to remain undefeated in the series. Personally, I want to finish at least on the podium in the drivers' championship.
4. After the conclusive Valencia test, how do you find the Renault Z.E.17?
I find the new Z.E17 to be a lot more adapted to my driving style. I feel more comfortable with it than the Season 3 car. I am looking forward to seeing how it does in race conditions.
5. What are your impressions about the new destinations on the calendar?
There are some terrific destinations and it is always a bonus to see new countries take an interest in the Formula E Championship. This perfectly showcases the category. I am looking forward to racing in Rome, which should be a fantastic event.
6. What do you like about the FIA Formula E Championship?
I think that all the drivers like the close battles and the competition level is very high and close in the championship. It is also a discipline focused on the future and I like being involved in such an adventure!
Renault's history in motorsport, its successes, its return to Formula One and its participation in Formula E.
Renault has long understood the value of motorsport to its brand.
Renault's first major motorsport victory came in the 1902 Paris-Vienna race at the hands of Marcel Renault. Three Type K lightweight cars were entered alongside four smaller voiturettes to do battle against the likes of Count Zborowski's Mercedes and Henry Farman's Panhard. The event took place on steep, twisting roads, including a tough Alpine crossing. Marcel Renault's victory was at an average speed of 62.5kph and from that point on, Renault would be a very serious contender in motorsport at all levels. In 1906 Renault entered the first-ever Grand Prix, held over two days on public roads outside Le Mans. Renault participated with its Type AK, a lightweight chassis fitted with a 12.9-litre four-cylinder engine. In spite of searing temperatures, a track that almost melted and more than 12 hours of racing, Hungarian Ferenç Szisz won the race for Renault. Victory contributed to an increase in sales for the French manufacturer in the years following the race.
The Jazz Age and Land Speed Records
In the 1920s and 30s, Renault focused on rallying and the Land Speed record and developed the 9.0 litre Renault 40CV Type NM des records in 1926. Complete with a single seat, streamlined coupe bodywork and exposed wheels, it went on to achieve a 24-hour average of 173kph – an impressive record for a production-based car of the day. In the 30s Renault developed the Nerva Series and continued with numerous speed record attempts on the roads of Europe and Africa. Powered by Renault's second 8-cylinder in-line unit and inspired by aviation engineering developments, the Nervasport finished second in the 1932 Monte-Carlo Rally, just two tenths of a second behind the winner. Victory came in the 1935 Monte-Carlo Rally, the 1935 Liège-Rome-Liège race and second place, behind Bugatti, was achieved in the Morocco Rally too. But the car turned in its most spectacular performance at the speed ring in Montlhéry. In April 1934, a specially prepared Nervasport won several endurance records in all categories. It covered more than 8,000km in 48 hours, at an average of over 160kph with a top speed over 200kph. The highly dynamic single-seater body would influence the design of future Renault vehicles.
Shooting Stars in the 1950s
Renault recaptured the pioneering spirit of its early days in the 1950s with further attempts on the Land Speed record. After two years of wind-tunnel testing, in September 1956 Renault took the striking blue Étoile Filante (Shooting Star) to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA. The outstanding vehicle featured a tubular, polyester-clad body and two large aircraft-like fins. It was propelled by an innovative turbine engine developing 270 hp at 28,000rpm and was equipped with the Transfluide transmission. In a nod to the aeronautics sector, it ran on kerosene and was practically vibration-free thanks to the rotation speed of the turbines. On its first run on solid ground, its developer Jean Hébert set a new land speed record, peaking at 308.85kph. A still unbeaten exploit! Renault followed this remarkable speed achievement with further rallying success. It entered the petite and innovative rear-engined Dauphine in numerous events, including the Mille Miglia. It took the first four places in the 1956 event and won the Tour de Corse the same year. Two years later a Dauphine won the epic Monte-Carlo Rally.
The start of the Gordini partnership
At the end of the 50's, a sportier, high-performance version of the Dauphine was produced by Amédée Gordini, who had also created Grand Prix cars under his own name. The Renault-Gordini partnership proved to be highly successful, with the classic R8 Gordini, R12 and R17 appearing in subsequent years. The R8 Gordini in particular excelled in rallies, hill-climb and racetrack meetings and proved so immensely popular that the Renault 8 Gordini Cup, a programme widely considered to be the forerunner of brand-specific championships, was created in 1966. The Renault 12 Gordini engine also powered the first Formula Renault cars, with the first Formula Renault French championship held in 1971. Many eminent drivers and champions have since cut their teeth in the formula, including Jacques Laffite; Jean Ragnotti, Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Gordini's facilities in Paris quickly proved to be too small for the ambitious activities, so a new building outside the city was sought. The ideal location was found at Viry-Châtillon. The facility was inaugurated on 6 February 1969, and it was to be the launch pad for significant and lasting motor sporting success over the following decades. The initial focus was on a new 2-litre V6 engine, which was officially launched in January 1973. The engine soon proved to be competitive in the prestigious European 2-litre sportscar series. That was followed by a move into the FIA World Sportscar Championship with a turbocharged version of the engine. Renault Sport was founded in 1976, and that year saw the birth of a parallel single-seater programme with the V6 engine in European F2.
Le Mans success and F1 debut
In the FIA World Sportscar Championship the turbocharged Renaults proved to be incredibly fast, securing a string of poles and fastest laps. Everything came together in 1978 when Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud scored a historic victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans while another Renault came home fourth. With Le Mans success finally secured, Renault could now focus on its next goal – Formula One. The option to run a turbocharged engine had been in the rules for many years, but nobody had dared to pursue it until Renault. It had quietly begun track testing with a 1.5-litre version of the turbo engine in 1976, and a short programme of races was scheduled for the following year.
The V6 turbocharged RS01 made its debut in the 1977 British GP in the hands of Jean-Pierre Jabouille. Nicknamed the 'Yellow Teapot,' the car retired from its first race, but not before it had made a big impression. Four further outings at the end of the year provided more valuable experience. The education process continued through 1978 until Jabouille earned the first points for Renault – and for any turbo engine – with fourth place in the US GP. A move to a twin-turbo set-up for the 1979 Monaco GP was one of the big breakthroughs. The team had finally begun to conquer the critical problem of turbo lag, and Jabouille duly scored the marque's historical first win on home ground in Dijon, having started from pole.
Rallying to victory
In parallel, Renault remained committed to rallying. It won the manufacturer's title in the 1973 World Rally Championship, before Guy Fréquelin claimed the 1977 French Rally Championship with the Alpine A310 Group 5. The Renault 5 Alpine garnered further fame with Jean Ragnotti, who finished second in the 1978 Monte-Carlo Rally. Ragnotti then piloted the Renault 5 Turbo to victory in the 1981 Monte-Carlo Rally and the 1985 Tour de Corse. Renault also ventured into rallye raids with the Paris-Dakar Rally and a privately-entered Renault 20 driven by the Marreau brothers won the 1982 edition through the deserts of Africa. Renault's F1 involvement also began to pay dividends as it finished second in the 1983 World Championship with Alain Prost. The Frenchman had taken four wins to champion Piquet's three, but missed the title by just two points. The same year Renault became an engine supplier for the first time, joining forces with Lotus. Supply deals were also extended to the Ligier and Tyrrell teams in subsequent seasons. In Portugal 1985 Ayrton Senna scored his first-ever GP victory with Renault power, and the Brazilian proved to be one of the stars of the season.
F1 success beckons
Renault officially returned to Formula One in the late eighties, but this time as an engine partner to the Williams team. In its first year of competition the new partnership won two Grands Prix, and two further wins followed in 1990. Nigel Mansell – who had used Renault power at Lotus – joined the team. It was the start of an incredible era. By the end of 1991 the combination was the one to beat, and in 1992 Mansell proved so dominant that he secured Renault's first World Championship by August. Former works Renault driver Alain Prost joined Williams in 1993, and he too won the title before retiring. Further championships followed for Damon Hill in 1996 and for Jacques Villeneuve in 1997. Williams-Renault also won the Constructors' title in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997.
In 1995 Renault expanded its involvement with a new collaboration with the Benetton team. Michael Schumacher won the Drivers' championship in 1995, while Benetton won the Constructors' title – ensuring that with its two partners Renault scored six straight title successes between 1992 and 1997. Between 1995 and 1997 Renault engines won 74% of Grands Prix. Renault officially departed Formula One at the end of 1997. Williams, Benetton and later the new BAR team used Renault-based engines under the Supertec, Mecachrome and Playlife names, and work continued in a small F1 development project at Viry. Renault simultaneously continued its rally involvement throughout the nineties and the Maxi Mégane was driven to victory in the Tour de Corse in 1997.
An F1 return
Again, Renault's official absence from F 1 was to be a short one. In early 2001 it was announced that the company had bought the Benetton team, and was to return in a full works capacity. The Renault name returned as Benetton's engine supplier that season, and then in 2002 the team was reborn as Renault F1 Team, with the chassis department still based at Enstone, UK, while working closely with the engine division in Viry.
In 2003 Fernando Alonso gave the new team its first pole in Malaysia, and then the young Spaniard followed up with his and the team's first win in Hungary. The following year Jarno Trulli gave Renault victory in the most prestigious race of the year in Monaco. In 2005 Alonso was the man to beat as he won the Drivers' title and Renault took the Constructors' version with eight wins between Alonso and team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.
Despite the huge change from V10 to V8 technology for 2006, the Renault F1 Team was able to sustain its momentum. A further eight wins over the season saw Renault fighting with Ferrari for both titles, but Renault's innovation again proved victorious as it again captured both the Drivers' and Constructors' titles. Supplying other teams had long been a Renault policy, and in 2007 a new partnership was formed with Red Bull Racing. The dark blue cars soon moved up the grid, and in 2010 Vettel emerged triumphant as the youngest champion in the history of the sport, while Red Bull-Renault earned the Constructors' championship.
As Renault refocused its activities around engine supply, Vettel proved unstoppable in the World Championship, breaking all the records as he secured four consecutive titles from 2010 to 2013. Alongside Red Bull Racing, Renault supplied Lotus F1 Team, Caterham F1 Team and Williams F1 Team. Throughout the era, the V8 engine developed by 250 engineers at Viry-Châtillon dominated, taking over 40% of the available wins and a record number of pole positions.
Away from F1, Renault Sport Technologies continued to develop its range of single-make championships with Formula Renault 2000 and the Clio Cup. And the Clio Super 1600 enjoyed strong success on the rally circuit, winning several international titles between 2003 and 2005. The 2005 season brought the creation of the World Series by Renault, following a merger between Eurocup Formula Renault V6 and the World Series by Nissan. Free to the public World Series by Renault meetings combined top-class competition with on-track F1 shows and family entertainment for 11 years. The series was also a springboard for most of the stars in the current F1 field.
The start of a new adventure
In 2014, Formula One welcomed a radical new wave of technology with the introduction of avant-garde powertrain technology. The new Renault F1 power unit revisited a previous engine generation's turbocharged architecture but combined it with powerful electric motors and an array of advanced energy-recovering devices that cut fuel consumption by 40% year on year while delivering comparable levels of performance and acceleration.
Renault continued to supply Red Bull Racing, sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso as well as Lotus F1 Team, but the era proved hard fought. A rethink of the corporate strategy was required, and at the end of 2015 Renault announced it would return to team ownership. For 2016, the Renault name once again raced in F1 as a full manufacturer entry, under the Renault Sport Formula One Team banner. While honouring past successes, the goal is to revitalize Groupe Renault's multiple platforms. At the same time, Renault set off on a new adventure with DAMS, in the FIA Formula E Championship, the first all- electric category. While Renault e.dams met the challenge in winning the Teams title in the inaugural 2014/15 season, the team just barely missed taking the Driver title before returning stronger with both titles in 2015/16. In 2017, Renault e.dams won its third consecutive Teams title.
While continuing its pioneering role, Renault is now using this global showcase to showcase its know-how in electric technologies.
DAMS, between success and motorsport passion
Building on its record of achievements during its 29 years in motorsport, the team, located not far from the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit, is now one of the most prestigious teams in the sport.
In 1990, DAMS quickly achieved success by winning the F3000 title with Erik Comas, a future Formula One driver.
The expertise of DAMS was called upon again in 2014 when Jean-Paul Driot and Alain Prost teamed up and founded the e.dams team to enter the inaugural season along with Renault of the all- electric and ground-breaking category: the FIA Formula E Championship. Renault e.dams has taken the teams' championship in all of the past three campaigns and led Sébastien Buemi to the 2015/16 drivers' title.
Renault and electric mobility: the right impetus
As the first European constructor to believe in the 100% electric vehicle, Renault is leading the way. On the Formula E tracks and on the road, the vehicles sporting the Z.E. badge are the benchmark.
In designing its electric vehicles, Groupe Renault has developed breakthrough technological innovations in the automobile sector, while also adopting a frugal conception to benefit everyone. Renault engineers have developed new 100% electric automotive technology, in parallel with the continuous progress made to improve the energy efficiency of combustion vehicles. This high-level technology integrates the economic constraints of selling to the general public.
For Renault, an innovation is only worth it if it can be shared by all… Especially since the electric vehicle must be rolled out on a large scale to provide a real answer to environmental and public health challenges.
But you have to be a bit of an historian to find traces of the first electric powered Renault. At the end of the 1960s, the Henney Kilowatt was based on a Dauphine in the United States, with a speed of 60kph and a range of 60km. The few dozen copies produced thus paves the way for a new form of mobility.
Electric power was brought to the forefront during the 1973 oil crisis, especially in France where nuclear power allowed for controlling energy production cost. The 4L and R5 prototypes carried heavy lead batteries, illustrating this alternative means.
In the 1990s, the development of portable electronic devices democratized lighter NiCad batteries that suffered however from significant memory effect. With - already - its battery rental system, the Clio Electrique won over communities and large companies. On the Isle of Wight, Ellen McArthur drove a zero emissions Kangoo, which used solar panels to recharge!
In 2009, these relatively confidential experiments gave way to a visionary and ambitious strategy. Since 2012, Renault has offered a complete range of all-electric vehicles available to everyone. 'Electric vehicles embody the only existing convenient and affordable transport solution to address the environmental challenges facing the world, especially as they are available now,' says Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault Group.
This approach is proven in the latest innovation of Groupe Renault: today, the Renault ZOE has a record range of 400km NEDC (approximately 300km in normal use), thanks to its new 'Z.E.40' battery. ZOE is equipped with a R75/90 motor and 15 or 16-inch PZE wheels.
The ZOE's new autonomy wides the electric vehicle's usage possibilities and lifts the final psychological barriers linked to range. Why not head off for the weekend in a ZOE? In addition, its autonomy/price ratio remains at the best level. Another step towards large-scale electric mobility! Renault remains the sales leader in a constantly growing electric vehicle market.
More than 145,000 electric vehicles by Groupe Renault are already on the road. In 2016, more than 1 electric vehicle in 4 sold in Europe was a Renault. On a world scale, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is the leader, accounting for half of electric vehicles sales.
The ZOE is the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe, dominating the market with over 23% market share among privately owned electric vehicles. The Kangoo Z.E. is the leading electric utility vehicle sold in Europe since 2015 and is a reference among professionals. It has won several tenders with the likes of the French Postal Service, in Norway or ERDF (Électricité Réseau Distribution France). With 20,000 units sold, the Twizy spearheads new mobility worldwide and has a widespread reputation in car sharing operations in Europe and North America. The Renault Samsung Motors SM3 Z.E. notchback is the best-selling electric vehicle in Korea.
And of course… only the Groupe Renault offers a complete range of electric vehicles that responds to a variety of uses. Each model has its own needs: from the ZOE super-mini, the Kangoo Z.E. van, the urban Twizy quadricycle, the Fluence/SM3 Z.E. saloon and soon the Master Z.E.
While all being different, the group's electric vehicles have a common denominator in representing today's mobility: environmentally friendly, ultra-connected, offering exceptional driving sensations…
An unequalled electric expertise
Renault benefits from a genuine expertise in electric mobility, enhanced by its long tradition and leadership in the electric vehicle market. Renault has acquired know-how, both in the design and marketing of electric vehicles and the services that accompany them, as well as in the manufacturing and maintenance of vehicles. Renault's technical expertise is primarily located in France, the group's homeland for the design and manufacturing of the Groupe Renault's high value-added vehicles and components. These electric vehicles were designed and conceived by the designers and engineers of the Renault Technocentre, located in Guyancourt, near Paris. The Kangoo and Z.E models are built at the Renault factory in Maubeuge (Northern France); the Zoe is built by the Renault factory in Flins (near Paris), that also assembles its battery. Its electric motor is produced by the Renault factory in Cléon (Normandy), the housing ensuring the integration of its battery in the car, and the ZOE's front and rear axles come from Le Mans Renault factory (Western France), etc.
Renault tests electric technologies in Formula E with a view to constantly improve the performance of production electric vehicles. The advanced technologies developed by Renault for an implementation in Formula E can, directly or indirectly, contribute to the optimization of production standard Renault electric vehicles.
A key player in motorsports and an electric vehicle pioneer, Renault is entered in the Formula E championship, where 100% electric race cars compete in the city centres around the world. During the first season of competition in 2014/15, the Renault Group directly contributed to the emergence of this discipline of the future through a two-pronged involvement: technical – as the architect of all the cars in the field – and sporting – as the partner of the Renault e.dams team founded by Jean-Paul Driot and Alain Prost. During the summer of 2015, the Renault e.dams team won the first Team title in the history of Formula E.
Renault then developed its own powertrain to equip the Renault e.dams team for the 2015/16 season. In early July, 2016, Renault e.dams defended its title in the team championship, and also won the drivers' title.
Exceptional driving sensations
Behind the wheel of Renault electric vehicles, the driving is above else a surprising alliance of calm and tonicity. Calm thanks to the absence of engine noise, vibration and tonicity thanks to frank acceleration and reacceleration in the low revs.
With the ZOE super-mini, electric driving finds its quintessence. The 100% electric super-mini is a lively, easy to use and amusing-vehicle thanks to a chassis adapted to electric characteristics and the work done focusing on the steering, tyres and shock absorbers. Within a fraction of a second the electric motor delivers a maximum of 220Nm of torque, generating strong acceleration and pick-up in low revs. Acceleration from 0 to 50kph, the most frequent rev range in urban usage, is 4 seconds. The acceleration is fluid, perfectly linear and smooth. It is as it has the best automatic transmission on the market.
In parallel, the electric nature of the ZOE induces a calmer and relaxing driving style, notably thanks to the absence of engine noise and vibrations. The noise level inside the ZOE between 40 and 75kph is between 60 to 65dB, which is two to three times less than a combustion vehicle of equal power. The ZOE also comes with a long list of equipment dedicated to well-being: the pre-conditioning ensures the passenger compartment is at the right temperature (22°C) when the driver gets into their ZOE; the active scent dispenser, toxicity sensor and air ioniser are all incentives for easy going driving.
The ZOE is also a reassuring vehicle. Its safety equipment is world-class with a score of 5 stars at the conclusion of passive safety test conducted by the independent Euro NCAP organism. With the Twizy, Renault has invented a playful urban mobility concept.
The Twizy can accommodate 1 or 2 people, and there is a 'Twizy 45' version available to 14-year-old drivers without licenses. The 'Twizy Cargo' version has a boot instead of a rear seat. With its ultra-compact dimensions (2.34m long, 1.24m wide) and a 3.4m turning radius, the Twizy can pass through the smallest gaps. On a classic city commute, it can save up to 25% of time, including parking. As for driving pleasure, barely 6 seconds is all that is needed to accelerate from 0 to 45kph, which is equal to the acceleration of a 125cc scooter over 50 meters.
Comfort and safety are the Twizy's other strong attributes. The interior protects the driver from bad weather. The centre of gravity is very low and the chassis with 4-disc brakes sticks to the road. In the event of impact, the driver is held in place frontally and laterally by a 4-point seat belt and is protected by the Twizy's innovative tubular structure and the standard frontal airbag.
The Kangoo Z.E. offers the same utility as the combustion version. At 4.21m long, it has a cargo volume of 3 to 3.5m3 thanks to the central location of the battery under the floorboard and a payload of 650kg. Its asymmetric rear swing doors and side loading door make it easier to access the loading space. The Kangoo Z.E is versatile and there is a 'Maxi' version with 2 or 5 places. Professionals who spend a lot of time in their vehicle are the first to appreciate the electric driving advantages, like frank acceleration and reacceleration in the low revs, perfectly linear driving and the absence of vibration.
The Renault Samsung Motors SM3 Z.E. is the variation of the combustion Fluence/SM3 sedan. Sold in South Korea, it is earmarked for individual or fleet customers in search of a statutory vehicle with an attractive line, doted with a comfortable interior and panoply of technology tools. And of course ... exceptional driving sensations behind the wheel of the Formula E open-wheel cars!
100% Electric Vehicle: Renault stimulates your senses
Wellbeing, driving enjoyment, simplicity, silent, odour free, our senses are never wrong: electric vehicles are the future of the automobile! On the racetracks of Formula E as well as on the road, Renault is writing this future with its range of 100% electric vehicles.
With Formula E racing, the public has never been so close to the drivers. By voting online, spectators can give a speed boost during the race to the three drivers who've earned the most votes. This digital, connected approach can also be found in the on-board systems of the Renault ZOE. Thanks to My ZE Online, a simple tap on your smartphone lets you monitor the charge status of your car and even lets you activate the cabin's pre-conditioning system. Ideal for winter mornings, you can slip into a vehicle that's already warm without affecting the vehicle's range!
What's motor racing without the revving of the engines? Far from being totally silent, the Renault e.dams racing car produces a futuristic noise, mixing electric whistling and the screech of tyres on asphalt, that's still however far quieter than the noise of a Formula One car. This makes it all the more attractive for big cities like Paris, London and Moscow which are keen to welcome Formula E racing to the heart of downtown. As for ZOE, the silent workings and lack of vibrations are relaxing for the driver and also help to reduce noise pollution. Accordingly, the sound level measured in the ZOE's cabin at speeds between 40 and 75kph is two to three times quieter than in a combustion powered vehicle of equivalent power. For stress-free driving in built-up areas, ZOE is equipped with a sound device to alert pedestrians of the vehicle's arrival. This system, when activated by the driver, works between 1 to 30kph and offers three different sounds to choose from: 'Pure', 'Glam' and 'Sport'.
Don't bother looking for an exhaust pipe on the Renault e.dams racing car or on ZOE, there aren't any! 100% electric, these vehicles don't emit any polluting emissions*. Renault has also equipped ZOE with an air filter to trap bad smells and external pollutants, a scent diffuser that releases relaxing or stimulating scents, as well as an air ioniser to eliminate bacteria found in the cabin.
Could there be anywhere more iconic than Paris, the City of Lights, to go and see a Formula E ePrix? For the sixth round of the 2016/17 championship, 20 cars raced at more than 200kph into the streets of the capital, with the prestigious Hôtel des Invalides as their backdrop. Far from being paradoxical, this Formula E race in such historic surroundings fits perfectly with the image of the electric car: invented over a century ago, this technology is more full of life than ever. In this way, ZOE's sleek design and agile look suggest simplicity and driving enjoyment. More than just a trend, it's a real window into the future.
* Zero atmospheric emissions of CO2 or pollutants while driving as per the NEDC certification cycle, excluding wear and tear to parts.
6.From the track to road: the ZOE eSport Concept
Heirs of our innovations in Formula E, Renault vehicles benefit from technologies developed for the track. A key player in motorsport and a pioneer in electric vehicles, it has been four seasons since the French manufacturer has been involved in Formula E. The state-of-the-art technologies developed for 100% electric cars then contribute to the optimization of standard electric vehicles. As a real laboratory of new technical solutions, motorsport is therefore the engine of our innovations.
Renault Zoe eSport Concept
Renault created quite a stir at the Geneva Motor Show by unveiling a new concept car: the Zoe eSport Concept. With its expressive design, that of a sporty ZOE pushed to the extreme, this styling exercise embodies Renault's passion, combined with the exceptional potential of the electric vehicle in terms of driving pleasure. Its colour is inspired by the livery of the three-time Team's champion winning Renault e.dams, embodying its affiliation with Formula E. With its two electric motors, the ZOE eSport Concept delivers power totalling 340kW, or about 460 horsepower. Thanks to an entirely carbon fibre bodywork, this concept weighs just 1,400kg despite its 450kg of batteries. Its lightweight contributes to its performance because it needs just 3.2 seconds to go from 0 to 100kph. The design and chassis settings have benefited greatly from the know-how of our Renault Sport Cars teams, who are experts when it comes to the most radical sports vehicles of the Renault Groupe. The research of very high performance dynamics helped them with their technical choices. The tubular chassis created by TORK Engineering, the front and rear ''double wishbone'' suspension, the 20-inch wheels and the OHLINS '4 way' adjusted shock absorbers allow for an optimal utilisation of the Renault ZOE eSport Concept on the track.
This year we test drove the Z.E 16 and ZOE eSport Concept in the streets of Paris during a parade organised early in the morning three days prior to the Paris ePrix.
7.About Formula E
The FIA Formula E Championship is the world's first all-electric motor racing series. The concept was initiated by FIA President Jean Todt as a means to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility, whilst also driving interest among the general public in electric cars and promoting sustainability. Three great values are driven by Formula E: energy, environment and entertainment, in a mix of engineering, design and music to bring change to an electric future. Inspired by this ambitious vision, Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag took the idea and created a global entertainment brand with motor racing at its heart. To get this ambitious project off the ground required an enormous amount of effort, but by working with world-leading partners in the motorsport industry such as Renault, Williams, McLaren, Michelin and SPARK, and inspiring global blue chip brands such as DHL, Qualcomm and Qatar Airways to back the project, in under two years Formula E turned from a dream into reality.
When 20 all-electric racing cars lined up on the grid for the inaugural Beijing ePrix in September 2014, the cynics and the sceptics were confounded. With names like Senna, Prost and Piquet Jr behind the wheel and teams such and team owners like Leonardo DiCaprio, the championship attained a level of credibility to rival the best championships in the world. Today, not only does the success of Formula E continue to grow, but the entry of renowned teams such as Mercedes, Porsche, Audi and BMW allows it to reach a level of credibility competing with the largest categories.
With TV partners such as FOX Sports, ITV and TV Asahi, Formula E proved to be a big hit with the fans too. Over 180 million tuned in to watch Season 3 across more than 100 countries around the world. This reach was augmented by the championship's social accounts. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the series aspires to be the world's leading digital sport. Central to this is FanBoost, the unique fan interaction concept that allows fans to vote for their favourite driver to receive an additional power boost in the race. This has inspired Formula E's teams and drivers to reach out to their fans, creating a level of dialogue unrivalled in motorsport.
But there's more than just the racing and social media. The Formula EJ has created a bespoke soundtrack for the series that perfectly complements the action on track and creates a party atmosphere in between sessions. In the eVillage, Formula E fans get to meet the drivers at the autograph session and are witness to the raw emotion of the podium ceremony, breaking down the barrier between drivers and fans that exists in traditional motorsport.
The quality of the at-race experience was enjoyed by 391,000 spectators during Season 1, while there have been an astonishing 4.7 billion mentions on social media thus far. A remarkable achievement for a series only just entering its fourth season.
How do you win the championship?
The FIA Formula E Championship consists of both a drivers' and teams' championship. A driver's end of season total is made up of his/her best results. A team's total is made up by counting both drivers' scores throughout the season.
What is an ePrix?
Races or ePrix begin with a standing start. The race lasts for approximately 50 minutes with drivers making one mandatory pit stop to change cars. In race mode the maximum power is restricted to 180kW but the three winning FanBoost drivers each receive an extra 100kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180kW and 200kW.
How many practice sessions?
There is typically a shakedown of thirty minutes during which each driver can run a maximum of six laps. Then there are two non-qualifying practice sessions that take place on the morning of the day of the race. The first has a maximum duration of 45 minutes. The second starts at least 30 minutes after the end of the first session and has a maximum duration of 30 minutes. Drivers each have two cars at their disposal with 200kW available throughout.
How is the grid decided?
Qualifying is a straight fight to set the fastest time and determines the starting grid for the race. The qualifying session lasts one hour and sees drivers divided into groups, with each group having six minutes to set their best lap. Drivers are divided into the groups via a lottery system – they literally pull their group out of a hat in front of the general public! The five fastest drivers of all sessions then go out one-by-one in the Super Pole shoot-out. Full power of 200kW is available throughout with drivers only able to use one car. The driver who sets the fastest time will start from pole and will be awarded three points.
What is Fanboost?
To engage with the public even more, fans can give their favourite driver an extra speed boost by voting for them via social media prior to and during the opening six minutes of the race. The three winning drivers receive an additional 100kJ of energy in their second car only to be used in a power window of 180kW and 200kW. When deploying FanBoost it can only be used once: a series of short bursts will not be possible.
Why do drivers switch cars during the race?
During races, drivers must make one mandatory pit stop to change cars. This is due to the battery autonomy that cannot last a full ePrix. The stop must take place in their garage and be observed by an FIA steward to ensure all safety equipment is correctly applied. A minimum time period of 28 seconds is also enforced.