Formula E – A New Era in Racing
With so many businesses around the world looking be as eco-friendly as possible, it looks like the world of motor racing is following suit. With Formula One switching to V6 turbo engines, it’s caused quite a stir with audiences and fans, as well as those in the racing paddock due to the lack of noise coming from the engine. The sound levels are significantly reduced and the pitch is noticeably lower, with some drivers (including World Champion Sebastien Vettel) slating the change as detrimental to the sport.
So the introduction of the FER (Formula Electric Racing) Championship should also raise eyebrows, as it’s the first mainstream electric motor racing championship that’s had any real financial backing. With ex-F1 drivers in the mix and some big names attached, FER is hoping 2014 is the launch year that will boost the popularity of the sport and give it credence next to its older brother, Formula One.
The Future of Racing
These racing cars run 100% on electrical charge, using a RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System) that will propel the car via the electric motor. There are standards and regulations which have to be adhered to, just as in F1 and there are minimum and maximum weights to consider for various parts to the car. Various materials are used on the cars to make them as light and as aerodynamic as possible, including carbon, Kevlar and aluminium.
The tyres and wheels are bespoke to FER and they are supplied by Michelin, for use in dry and wet weather conditions. Seemingly there is very little on the outside of FER that is different to its older sibling.
Big names, Big Business
Even the big names and celebrities attached to the sport are very similar. One of the test drivers include Jarno Trulli, who formerly drove for Jordan F1 and also enjoyed stints during his career with Renault, Prost and Toyota. Owners are looking at ex F1 drivers like Takuma Sato, who also has driven in Indy Car Racing in America. Both ar experienced drivers with a lot to offer these developing teams and their vast knowledge of the greatest tracks in the world will only help improve the sport moving forward, as they travel to some fantastic locations, including China, Malaysia and Brazil.
On the financial side, it’s a given that the teams are pretty much taken care of, with the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio setting up his own team in a joint venture with Venturi Automobiles. Millionaires and influential business icons are beginning to get more involved with the FIA and its new baby, primarily because it is so “green” in comparison to Formula One, which despite removing refuelling during races and switching down to V6 engines, a race weekend still leaves quite a large carbon footprint.
It’s a fascinating time for this newly created Formula, where celebrities and people from all walks of life are looking to invest in something that could grow rapidly over the next few years. With the first full FIA season in 2014, it will be interesting to see how it will stack up and whether it can reintroduce some shine and excitement back into a premium racing formula.