Green is sexy: Formula E – electric future of motorsport
Racing utterly powered by electricity – that is what Formula E is all about. It’s marketed as the future of motosport because it gives advantages in one crucial way: cars are completely powered with “green energy”, which means there is no pollution. But, that is also a problem: can electric formula compete with petrol-driven older brother, Formula 1?
How far are they gone? Right now in Formula E, the competition is made up of ten teams with two drivers each, with about 12 races around the world each season. Also, there is a unique aspect of competition: social media plays a role in each race. Fans can vote for their favourite driver to give them a five-second speed boost that can be deployed at any point during the race.
Need for speed
But, fans of high speed races noticed a significant differences between Formula E and Formula 1: The cars are slower with a max velocity of 140mph, compared to around 225mph in F1. Decibel levels are also significantly lower, which, some say, detracts from the excitement of the live experience. Formula E cars hover at the 80-decibel mark, while their petrol-driven counterparts peak at around 130 decibels.
Is it easier to drive an electric race car? Formula E series leader Lucas di Grassi said that Formula 1 champions would struggle in the electric competition.
– They are the most talented drivers of our generation and maybe, I would say, a lifetime. But if they came to Formula E, they would have to learn the tracks – said Di Grassi.
Of course, like everything else in this world, people find it hard when they have to get used to new things.
Good old Bernie doesn’t like it
On the other hand, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said he had turned down an approach about making his own competition completely electric.
– It comes down to entertainment. Sponsors are not interested in trying to reach younger motorsports enthusiasts – said Ecclestone. The 85-year-old billionaire has previously said he doesn’t need to cater to fans “who cannot afford a Rolex”.
But, another billionaire, Richard Branson, doesn’t share his opinion. The founder of Virgin group obviously isn’t afraid to embrace the future.
– Formula E makes green energy sexy. If you go back ten or 20 years, people thought electric cars were something grannies drove. Now, they see wonderful hybrids, looking sleek, looking sexy, and that puts a spur on the revolution the world needs. It’s going to be a very exciting revolution – said Branson.
Also, the truth is, this time, on Branson’s side: looks like Ecclestone wishes sponsors not to be intrested. But, in fact, a lot of them are signing up for Formula E: Visa, DHL, Qualcomm, Michelin, TAG Heuer and GH Mumm champagne, and a lot more.
Third Formula E year and going strong
So, with a chance of fossil fuels disappearing, Formula E probably has a great future. Now, it is in it’s third season, which started in october in Hong Kong; Bernie Ecclestone will have to acknowledge that he, for the first time in history, has a competition. Ticket sales for Formula E are still far behind Formula 1, but it’s just a start. The first Formula E race was held at Beijinf Olympic Green Circuit on September 13th, 2014. It was won by Lucas Di Grassi. Races were held in 10 host cities: Beijing, Putrajayam, Punta del Este, Buenos Aires, Long Beach, Miami, Monte Carlo, Berlin, Moscow, and London. Alejandro Agag (46), Spanish businessman and former politician, is current the CEO of Formula E.
Video : Formula E proves its potential in the latest ePrix race in Hong Kong, 2016