10 years ago it would have been unimaginable to have an environmentally friendly motor race but Formula E has proved it is more than possible.
What is it?
Formula E is the world’s first and only, all-electric, single-seater, international racing championship. It officially started in 2014, and in 2019 Formula E was granted an official world championship by the FIA.
Formula E is an exciting 45-minute race, compared to 2 hour races in Formula 1. In 2023 Formula E will have 12 teams and 24 drivers competing. Currently, it’s exclusively shown on Channel 4 in the UK and the next season (Season 9) will start on January 14th 2023 in Mexico City.
In Formula 1 the racing teams create their own car design and have different strategies on pit stops and tyre management. Whereas in Formula E, all cars are developed in the same way, sharing identical batteries, tyres and aerodynamics. This makes it a level playing field for drivers and the race strategy is based around reserving battery usage, attack mode and fanboosts. Attack mode is an inventive and often dramatic feature in Formula E that gives drivers an extra 30kw (equivalent to 40 BHP) of power after driving through an activation mode off the line.
Why is Formula E so appealing?
Formula E is at the cutting edge of technological innovation, continuously evolving as a sport, but never compromising on the performance of the cars. The Gen3 Formula E car will be debuted next season, offering both sustainability and speed, where cars will have a new top speed of 200mph.
Each Formula E event completes all stages (practice, qualifying and the race) on the same day, making it easier to follow and more climatic. Tickets are also more affordable than Formula 1, offering wider accessibility to fans. The last season of Formula E also saw an exciting change in the qualifying format. Qualifying now consists of a tournament style where the fastest drivers go head-to-head and have a one lap shoot-out to decide who starts in pole position. This captivating format is favoured by drivers and spectators alike for the intensity it gives to the session.
The inclusion of ‘fanboost’ in Formula E is another innovative and engaging feature that can change the race. The fanboost is unlike anything seen in motorsport before as fans vote for their favourite driver to unlock a 5kw booster, with the top 5 drivers in the fan poll unlocking this extra power boost.
These fast paced and interactive features mean its no surprise that the Formula E fans are on average younger than general motorsport fans. YouGov released data showing that 18% of Formula E fans are aged 18-24, compared to only 7% for general motorsport fans. Similarly, 27% of fans are aged 25-39, which is 9% higher than the average motorsport fan. As younger generations become more environmentally conscious, this is an exciting look into the future at how the sport will carry on growing.
How sustainable is it?
Formula E was created around sustainability, and currently has the exclusive rights to be the only single-seater championship that is electric. Formula E has been praised for its sustainability, in the use of electric cars and their use of a lifestyle assessment tool which allows them to measure their carbon footprint. Formula E is the first and only motorsport to receive a third-party ISO 20121 certification – the international standard for sustainability in events.
Formula E is also trying to extend the sport’s positive impact to the wider world, by utilising their platform to promote electric cars. Former Formula 1 driver, and 2016 World Champion, Nico Rosberg says that “Formula E helped make sustainability ‘cool’ by bringing the racing action directly to the city centres and reaching a young, urban and modern target group. It also introduced new ways of interaction”.
Formula E has the platform to positively impact opinions around electric cars and sustainability, and with a growing audience its impact is set to increase.
Here are 5 interesting facts you may not have known about Formula E:
1. There are no pit stops
2. The races are measured in time, not by number of laps
3. At the Valencia E-Prix 12 out of 24 cars ran out of battery and couldn’t finish
4. Formula E cars only race on one set of tyres whether it is wet or dry
5. Historic F1 manufacturer McLaren are set to enter the sport for Season 9
Whether you are already a motor racing fan or interested in sustainability and environmental issues, Formula E has something to offer!
Why don’t you give it a go?