Sam Bird, Virgin, Formula E test, Donington Park, 2014

Formula E will push F1 development forward – Todt

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Sam Bird, Virgin, Formula E test, Donington Park, 2014FIA president Jean Todt says the new all-electric racing series Formula E will help drive technological advances which will be seen in Formula One.

The new championship is due to hold its inaugural race in China next week.

“We can expect development in batteries, motor technology and security issues that can be transferred with other series such as Formula One, the World Endurance Championship et cetera,” said Todt. “You always learn from one championship to another one.”

“For example, what generates a lot of cost is aerodynamic development and in Formula E it’s quite limited, which I think is a good thing because sometime you see how complicated aerodynamics are on a car.

“You take Formula One now with all the little winglets that require so much wind tunnel testing. So I would say let’s try to develop as much that can be transferred to a city car.”

Todt said it was important for the FIA to have a championship which embraced all-electric propulsion.

“The world is changing and as the sporting flagship of motorsport we have a responsibility to keep up with those changes,” he said. “The link between daily mobility and racing is very important.”

“I thought it was important to have a vision for new technology for the development of the motoring industry and that’s why we changed the regulations in Formula One, that’s why we supported new regulations in the World Endurance Championship. And then came the idea of making a specific flagship championship with electric technology. A lot of people were enthusiastic about this idea.

“For me the electric car is really the future of motoring in the cities. And that’s why we begin with hosting races in world cities. It’s a new approach, it’s a new product.”

Fanboost “creates a family link”

Todt also addressed criticism of the controversial ‘Fanboost’ aspect of Formula E, where fans will vote for which driver gets to benefit from an extra power boost.

“For each team, each driver has to give his supporters as much support as possible, so I think it’s a friendly, fresh initiative, which I don’t think will damage the final result. I really hope it’s a category of racing which allows contact with the drivers – people love to have contact.

“You see that in endurance racing where you have more access and I quite like that, you allow people to touch their hero, to be closer to their team. So I think it creates a family link between the supporter and the team.”

The series has attracted many ex-Formula One drivers including Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Bruno Senna, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi, Karun Chandhok, Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Nelson Piquet Jnr.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 32 comments on “Formula E will push F1 development forward – Todt”

    1. Is there any example anywhere in any sport of a more ridiculous, unsporting rule than the “Fanboost”?

      1. @mateuss I’d take fanboost over double points any day!

        1. @strontium I would disagree. The double points will not affect the race itself and there is no arbitrary outside human influence, only the teams will influence the result.

          And there is only the potential for the DPts to be unfair, and only in the champion perspective.
          Whereas the fanboost is guaranteed to give unfair advantage, in each race and overall in the championship.

          Don’t get me wrong, I hate the DPts with everyone of my cells, and wrote a letter to every team and FIA explaining why, but the fanboost is on a whole different level of being arbitrarily, unfair and unsporting!

          And I find disturbing that F1Fanatics would want that over DPts. Things like that has no place in sport.

        2. That’s choosing between the devil and the deep sea …

      2. Maybe the proper way to look at it is not to see it as a sport per se. After all, the Grand Prix Masters series was hardly about winning, rather entertaining. I think, with this driver line-up (guys who’ve all proven themselves) and the cities they’re going to, it as much entertainment as perhaps a sport. Therefore, viewing from that angle, I don’t really see any drawback on the fanboost.

        1. My ears a burning from what I am hearing!

          Of course it is not a sport if -fanboost- , but I wanted for it to be one, the FIA is (mostly) a motorsport organization, and F-E is pretending to be a sport.

          1. Of course I would like it to be one too, but it’s a matter of perspective. I prefer the option to be gone, but given the current set up of Formula E, it could work quite well.

    2. If fan boost doesn’t damage the result then that means it doesn’t do anything. It either damages the result or is useless, it cannot be both.

      1. It either damages the result or is useless, it cannot be both.

        Too much logic for those who are making up the rules.

      2. Well summed up, it really is a silly idea. Like double points, there really is no benefits to the idea and the potential to cause a lot of controversy if it does actually affect the race result.

      3. I can only imagine fan boost being useful if Maldonado were to join Formula E.

        1. I see a great opportunity for a suitably endowed young lady driver to succeed by promising to “flash” the crowd whenever she gets on the podium.

    3. “For each team, each driver has to give his supporters as much support as possible, so I think it’s a friendly, fresh initiative, which I don’t think will damage the final result. I really hope it’s a category of racing which allows contact with the drivers – people love to have contact.”

      What people do not love is drivers’ PR to get in the way of fair racing. Fanboost turns an interesting concept of a racing series into a high school popularity contest. I doubt we will have to wait too long until a less popular driver who got his track position on merit loses it because a slower driver has more Twitter followers or something.

      I was looking forward to it, despite my skepticism for electric vehicles as the future of personal transport, but that thing really put me off.

      1. *I was looking forward to seeing the first race.

    4. I have my doubts that a lot of Fanboost critics wouldn’t put in a vote themselves if their favorite driver was on the grid.

      1. @rjoconnell I can only speak for myself, but I for sure have not and will not, and have and will publicly criticize any of the beggars on twitter.

    5. Fanboost aside, I’m really looking forwards to Formula E. It might take a few seasons, but I’m optimistic that this has the potential to develop into a first class riving series, maybe even on par with F1 itself.

      1. Same here. I think it is a brilliant idea and hopefully it will evolve to be even more what racing fans are looking for moving forward.

    6. It’ll be very weird watching it, but I think Formula E is an encouraging step forward for motorsports. Fanboost is terrible though – watching drivers beg for more power on Twitter is just pathetic.

      1. Fanboost is a terrible idea. But they can have fun with the boost idea. Make it like a video game. Have special markers on the track off line that light up randomly which gives about 5 seconds of DRS. Off line meaning that the driver can’t get a clean lap, so good laptime vs bonus speed. The bonus can be accumulated. DRS should give a higher speed instead of a higher engine setting which will flatten the battery faster. The bonus should also be allowed anywhere on the track.

    7. Am I the only one that thinks “racing” and “electric” cars are non compatible? (or if you prefer, the movement to make automobile racing more eco friendly.) The whole point of racing is to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of elapsed time. There is no conservation of energy, material, monies, etc. to achieve that goal.

      1. I doubt you’re the only one but personally I disagree.
        When all electric bikes first got their own race at the Isle of Man TT there were loads of people laughing at the bikes and claiming the series would never return due to their relatively poor performance compared to the petrol powered bikes. They’ve only been running for a few years but the electric bikes are getting a lot faster with John McGuinness winning the 2014 race with an average speed of 117 mph, just 9 mph off the lap speed for the supersport race 1. Given a few more years of development the electric bikes will getting close to the superbike’s in terms of speed and as batteries get better their range will also improve.
        All this development is having a positive impact on road bikes with several manufacturers now selling electric bikes, while I don’t have one myself I have tested a couple and when I do come to buy my next bike I’ll be checking out the electric ones first.
        Electric and hybrid cars are the future, regardless of how much we like it, and racing needs to reflect this with series such as Formula E, F1 & WEC being at the pinnacle of the research & development process.

      2. @bomarcuda Considering the history of motorsport in general, I would have to say you’re way off the mark. Racing as you define it was only a part of the deal. As a kid I read the “so boring!” stories of timed events — not in the sense that it was a single vehicle at a time, attempting to complete a course in the shortest time possible but that each vehicle was given a time to complete a course and the vehicle that came closest to that time was the winner. A car that could go 30 miles per hour but on average was limited to 25 mph according to time? Yeah, that was motor racing. It wasn’t about going the fastest, it was about maintaining an average. This was back when you needed a pocket watch, notepad and a pencil and hope you calculated the distance on the map correctly.

        What you are defining is called a “sprint”. No matter how you call it, it’s a sprint race. And there are “slow” races where the object is to finish last or in the longest time, possible.

        So in truth, “electric” is very reasonable in “auto racing” in many forms. This just happens to be that form. Go the fastest as possible given the equipment and technology provided.

        That’s racing.

    8. I’m waiting for this series. :)

    9. I will give it a shot but I really don’t like the gimmicks they are piling on. Fanboost and racing soundtrack during races isn’t my cup of tea…

    10. Formula E… an answer to a question no one asked.

    11. @gabal “racing soundtrack during races”? What have I missed?

      1. They were mentioning how they will play music, sounds of engines roaring and crashes during the race as it would otherwise be too quiet…

        1. @gabal Was it a joke? Honestly, I can’t tell anymore.

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