It wasn’t long ago that Formula E looked like the future of motorsports. Yet today it’s on its heels with the departure of Audi and now BMW from the series. The BMW Formula E team spent seven years in the series without the success a major manufacturer would hope for. And while the series promised a low barrier of entry in terms of cost and technology, it’s unclear what it did to support the brand or what learnings are coming from the program.
One thing that is clear however is that the 20-21 season will be the brand’s last. What this means for other motorsports programs is unclear. With the pullout of DTM and now Formula E we could see BMW focusing more on GT3 and GT4 racing programs that it’s championed for decades. Or is this a harbinger of more cuts to come?
After seven successful years, BMW Group will end its involvement in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship at the end of the coming season. As a partner from the word go, BMW has consistently supported the Formula E project and been instrumental in the series’ success story. BMW has enjoyed victories and podiums with the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team. BMW Group has always used Formula E as a tech lab for production.
The same engineers who develop the drivetrains for electric production vehicles are also responsible for the drivetrains in the race cars. Examples of the successful transfer of technology between the Formula E project and production development include new findings regarding energy management and energy efficiency, the transfer of software for power electronics from racing to production, and an improvement in the power density of the e-motors.
When it comes to the development of e-drivetrains, BMW Group has essentially exhausted the opportunities for this form of technology transfer in the competitive environment of Formula E.
Furthermore, the strategic focus of BMW Group is shifting within the field of e-mobility. In the future, greater emphasis will be placed on the comprehensive scaling of the offering and global production. BMW Group plans to have put one million electric vehicles on the roads by the end of 2021. The goal is to increase this figure to seven million by 2030, of which two-thirds will be fully-electric.
Since entering a works team in Season 5, BMW i Andretti Motorsport has claimed four victories, four pole positions and nine podiums in its 24 races so far. In the coming season, the team will do everything it can to achieve as much sporting success on the track as possible with the BMW iFE.21 and drivers Maximilian Günther (GER) and Jake Dennis (GBR).