What’s it like to sit in an Audi e-tron FE05? What’s hiding inside the cockpit? Let’s find out together with Daniel Abt, official Audi driver for this year’s Championship.
Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, official drivers for Audi in the fifth season of the Formula E Championship, have an unusual place of work, which delivers a power output of 250 kW (340 hp) and has a top speed of 240 km/h : the Audi e-tron FE05. The cutting-edge technology in this car offers high levels of performance, leading to hard-fought and spectacular races. We discover some of the secrets of its cockpit.
The open cockpit provides great all-round visibility, and the halo, the new safety feature fitted to the race car, has not changed things much. “When I drove the car for the first time, the new structure was clearly noticeable in front of me,” Daniel Abt points out.
However, after two or three laps, looking straight past it becomes natural, like looking past your own nose. The only issue with the front visibility is that it is difficult to gauge where the corners of the front wing are, because you cannot see it from the driver’s perspective behind the steering wheel.
Abt adds: “The cockpit of my Audi e-tron FE05 is very tight. For example, I cannot stretch out my arms fully inside of it. The level of comfort in terms of seating depends directly on how well my seat has been moulded exactly to my body shape. We spend a lot of time during the seat fitting process to ensure that it is formed correctly.”
Driving with body and mind
“There are only two pedals, the accelerator and the brake. I left-foot brake in the race car and use my right foot to accelerate, but a larger amount of force is required compared to a normal car.”
Body is therefore important for Formula E drivers, but mental control is also fundamental. Abt explains further: “The display on my steering wheel provides me with the real-time information that I need when I’m in the car; in addition to this, telemetry from the car is sent to the team in the pit lane.”
Everything in hand
The steering wheel of the Audi e-tron FE05 is a fascinating piece of equipment. The driver not only steers with it, but also uses it to change all of the settings. Here are the most important functions:
2. PG = Page (Changing the information page on the display)
3. OK = Acknowledge (Confirming warning indicators)
4. Warning lights (Indicates information from the race directors. Eg. Blue when being overtaken by a faster car, or yellow when there is an incident and passing is forbidden)
5. + and – = Plus and Minus (Pressed to change the number of remaining laps)
6. RAD = Radio (Opening and closing the radio channel)
7. ATK = Attack Mode activation (An additional 25 kW for a total of 225 kW in the race)
8. Freely programmable knobs for set-up and power options. Power options include: 110 kW in shakedown, 200 kW in the race, 250 kW for two laps in free practice and then also in qualifying
9. G = Gear
10. FCY = Full Course Yellow (Limits the speed of the car to 50 km/h for when the entire circuit has been neutralised under yellow flag conditions and passing is forbidden)
11. Pit (Activates the pit lane speed limiter and reduces the speed to a limit of 50 km/h)
13. Paddle top right (Activates and select menus on the display)
14. Paddle top left (Fanboost activation for an additional 50 kW in the race, taking the total output to 250 kW)
15. Paddles in the middle (Brake balance adjustment)
16. Paddles on the bottom corners (Activation of the energy recuperation)
Even more buttons and indicators
On the left-hand side of the cockpit, directly next to the driver’s leg, there are further controls: for example, the main switch to turn the car on and off, and the switch for the car’s built-in fire extinguisher.
Abt continues: “In front of the cockpit are warning lights which indicate the status of my Audi e-tron FE05. When I have to get in or out of the car, they tell me, my mechanics or anyone else whether it is safe to touch it.”
Source: AUDI AG