Give Formula E a chance – but not Fanboost

Formula E

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It’s not hard to find reasons to be cynical about a new racing series – especially one which is developed around the concept of environmentally-friendly motoring.

But Formula E, the FIA’s new single seater championship which holds its first event this weekend in China, is ground-breaking in more ways than one.

The FIA hopes that in a few years’ time we could be talking about this championship as the electric-powered equivalent of Formula One. The ten teams all have the same hardware for this season, but from next year the rules will be relaxed to open up avenues for development.

FIA president Jean Todt believes technology transfer to F1 will eventually be possible and some teams already have a hand in the technology. Williams supply the all-important batteries which provide 200 kilowatts of juice, and the electronics which controls it all comes from McLaren.

The Michelin rubber also marks a departure from other racing series as instead of racing slicks the cars will use grooved tyres which are designed to work in wet or dry weather conditions.

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And it’s not just the cars which are novel. The event format is a departure from convention, with all the competitive action taking place on one day, including qualifying and the race.

That is partly because the calendar will exclusively visit circuits on city streets. The planned ten-round schedule will maximise its exposure to the watching world with events in California, Miami, Buenos Aires and the scene of this weekend’s race – Beijing. They will also stop off in Monaco for a dose of F1-style glamour two weeks before next year’s grand prix.

Drivers will have to make one mandatory pit stop during the race and will change more than just their tyres – they’ll switch cars. For safety reasons a minimum time will be imposed for the change-over.

Inevitably with so many new elements at work there will be glitches to iron out – not least of which recharging the power-thirsty chassis, which caused several problems during testing. But Todt expects the learning process will quickly give way to growth and interest from more car manufacturers.

“Formula E is just beginning, and it is necessary to carefully examine the first season to see what works and what does not work,” he said.

“As it gains popularity and as the calendar increases, new teams and new manufacturers will be crucial. We believe we have created a framework to support the positive evolution of the series over many years, notably in opening gradually the competition between engine and battery suppliers.”

If, as Todt says, Formula E is to be seen as “a stand-alone series” rather than a rung on the ladder beneath F1, then it needs to have a credible driver line-up. And for the most part it does – every team has at least one driver with F1 experience.

They include Jarno Trulli, who has set up his own team, Nick Heidfeld, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna, Charles Pic, Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi. Takuma Sato will also drive this weekend, though he his substituting for regular driver Antonio Felix da Costa, who has a clashing DTM commitment.

Da Costa is one of several promising junior drivers in the field, along with Sam Bird and Daniel Abt. And Formula E can claim to have more women on the grid than any top-line single-seater series, with Katherine Legge at Amlin Aguri and Michaela Cerruti as Trulli’s team mate.

Formula E is an innovative new addition to the motor racing scene and tomorrow’s first event is sure to be fascinating. And while it’s hard not to have some misgivings – about the performance of the cars and the layout of the tracks (particularly this weekend’s chicane-infested tour of Beijing’s Olympic Stadium) – these should be set aside and Formula E judged on the strength of the racing it produces.

The cars look great, there’s plenty of good names in the driver line-up and I know from experience with A1 Grand Prix I will appreciate some extra racing action during the barren winter months.

Formula E deserves to be greeted with open-mindedness instead of cynicism. But being open-minded does mean taking leave of one’s senses, which brings us to undoubtedly the most controversial aspect of Formula E.

For proof that Formula One doesn’t have a monopoly on crass, ill-considered or flagrantly unfair rules, look no further than Formula E’s Fanboost.

It’s hard to say what is worst about it: the gross unfairness of giving more power to the most popular driver, the mealy-mouthed PR guff used to justify it as a means of engaging with fans via social media, or the way it’s reduced top racing drivers to begging for votes on Twitter so they can have the extra boost.

Some may feel that, as with the rest of Formula E’s novelties, Fanboost should be given a chance as well. But just as we don’t need to see a driver being arbitrarily awarded double points at the final round to know it’s a gimmick, we don’t need to watch a race where fans vote for which drivers get extra power boosts to know a driver’s ability should determine their finishing position, not their popularity. In both cases it’s a question of principle.

As with double points in F1, the best we can hope is that those in charge will see sense and get rid of it before it spoils an otherwise exciting prospect – which Formula E undoubtedly is.

2014-15 Formula E teams and drivers

AguriKatherine LeggeRaced another unorthodox machine – the DeltaWing – in United SportsCars this season.
AguriAntonio Felix da CostaTakuma Sato substituting at round one while Da Costa races in the DTM at Lausitzring.
AndrettiFranck MontagnyFormer Renault development driver had brief stint at Super Aguri in 2006.
AndrettiCharles PicLotus reserve driver, previously raced for Marussia and Caterham.
AbtLucas di GrassiSingle season in F1 in 2010 with Virgin – who now have a Formula E team.
AbtDaniel AbtWon ADAC Formula Master with Abt in 2009 but his GP2 career has lacked results so far.
ChinaNelson Piquet JnrSon of three-times champion attained notoriety for his role in Crashgate.
ChinaHo-Pin TungPreviously German F3 and Asian Formula BMW champion, tested for Renault in F1.
DragonJerome D’AmbrosioDi Grassi’s successor at Virgin in 2011, he also lasted just one year.
DragonOriol ServiaLong-time IndyCar/Champ Car driver, one-time winner.
eDamsNicolas ProstAlain Prost’s son has enjoyed success in ice racing and had F1 tests.
eDamsSebastien BuemiThree years with Toro Rosso in F1, now racing for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship.
MahindraKarun ChandhokDropped by HRT after a half a season in 2010, then had a one-off start for Lotus.
MahindraBruno SennaAnother relation of an eighties F1 star, raced for Lotus and Williams until 2012.
TrulliJarno TrulliThe 2004 Monaco Grand Prix winner who Fernando Alonso described as his fastest team mate in qualifying.
TrulliMichela CerrutiThe most recent woman to have won a single-seater race, at Imola in Auto GP this year.
VenturiNick HeidfeldAfter 13 years in F1 he holds the unwanted record for most second places without a win (eight).
VenturiStephane SarrazinOne of Buemi’s Toyota team mates, had a single F1 start in 1999.
VirginJaime AlguersuariWent back to karting after being dropped by Toro Rosso after three seasons at the age of 21.
VirginSam BirdLast year’s GP2 runner-up claims a Formula E seat while winner Fabio Leimer is a reserve at Aguri.

2014-15 Formula E calendar

Formula E on F1 Fanatic Live

We’ll be following the first ever Formula E race on F1 Fanatic Live tomorrow. The race start time is 9am with live coverage in the UK on ITV4 starting at 8am.

Over to you

Will you be watching Formula E this weekend? What do you think of the technology, the format – and the controversial Fanboost? Have your say in the comments.

Formula E

Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

Images © Formula E

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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133 comments on “Give Formula E a chance – but not Fanboost”

  1. @keithcollantine
    Formula E is the ‘electric-powered equivalent of Formula E’?
    Yay typo :)

    1. So glad an electric series is finally a reality! I would have preferred generator powered cars instead of batteries and swapping cars, also would have preferred no fanboost but maybe a 105% mode you could run for 30 seconds over a race distance to make it interesting. Still, early days, so let’s hope the discard the silliness and start to show the way to future motoring technology. Nice looking cars and hopefully good action and drivers, as well as equal equipment should make for some tight races. I just hope reliability is not too random, also a pity that there are such big gaps between races. They should aim for the off weekends in the F1 calendar. Here’s hoping it lasts! :)

      1. Clarification : “Everyone could run over a race distance to make it interesting” I.e. Everyone gets 30 seconds of extra power for the race and it’s totally up to them when and how much to use. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a divergent course, I.e. Go left or right but it will merge back together eventually and there won’t be an inherent shortcut either way. Faster drivers could get ahead more easily but perhaps not necessarily overtake like with DRS. Probably would be a safety issue, though.

      2. A Teslar model S could have won that race with 23 passengers along for the ride!!

        1. only if your crushing cockroaches

  2. Good title, sums it pretty well.

    1. Keith sums up the problem brilliantly:

      It’s hard to say what is worst about it: the gross unfairness of giving more power to the most popular driver, the mealy-mouthed PR guff used to justify it as a means of engaging with fans via social media, or the way it’s reduced top racing drivers to begging for votes on Twitter so they can have the extra boost.

      Sometimes the people running motorsport seem so out of touch – a bit like politicians who signally fail to catch the public mood. The reason for this is that they have their minds set on a different agenda from the rest of us – an agenda that is all but invisible to most of us.

    2. Indeed. The fan boost idea is ridiculous. It’s so pathetic one can’t understand how it ends up on the rules.

      1. Agreed. Fanboost is so silly, it almost feels like voting for homecoming queen in school or something.
        I want to see who is the best driver/team and I’ll vote for them by purchasing merchandise and wearing the Team colors or driver’s number to show my support.

      2. I think the FIA has heard of people like ISIS & Justin Beiber and wants to mimic their “success” through social media.

  3. I have to find a way to see the race though no channel in Finland shows the series. Interesting line-up, and hopefully we see action in the races. The fact that they will take place on streets have two real effects on racing: overtaking might be difficult but mistakes are usually costly.

    About Fanboost: I don’t like the idea. However we must see what its real effect is before drawing conclusions. Also, after several race weekends we will see whether same drivers win the voting all the time or is there differences.

    1. @bleu

      ” About Fanboost: I don’t like the idea. However we must see what its real effect is before drawing conclusions. Also, after several race weekends we will see whether same drivers win the voting all the time or is there differences. ”

      I agree completely.
      Small concern that the voting may become gender-biased as there are only two women competing but hoping that won’t be the case.
      I am big fan of Katherine Legge after watching her fight in the Formula Atlantic Series [youtube] .. If either Legge or Ceruti wins one- I hope it’s without Fan Boost .
      The debates would be irksome.

    2. @bleu wiziwig [ google ] has a live stream posted for the Formula E race.

    3. I find it completely bizarre that series built around emerging technology, and fan interaction, relies on TV broadcasts, rather than live streaming.

  4. i’m really looking forward to it. obviously it’s unknown who will be fastest, after testing is always difficult to judge, but it seems e.dams might just be very quick, especially buemi. hope they can get things sorted with twitter by tomorrow, just imagine how stupid it would look if they can’t tweet anything on race day, regardless of what the chinese tell them to do.

  5. Funny, F1 outlawed this type of nose on safety grounds and in doing so ushered in an era of bizarre looking racing cars. FE seems to have adopted a realistic approach to the subject of safety, aesthetics and performance with their inaugral chassis and I like it. Ok it’s a little different but it I’m looking forward to watching this!

    1. @coefficient It’s not just “the nose”. F-E is not open wheeled, the same as F1 is. They started from the beginning, they could do whatever they wanted, so the rear of the car is designed to be safe for that nose.

      Also, if F1 went this route and introduced a lot of bodywork around the rear and front wheels, cars would still be a lot different than previously (which is and always has been the only reason people complain about how the cars look as far as I can tell). And that would give teams a lot of bodywork to gain downforce which would neglect all that has been accomplished previously with cutting down on aero performance.

      F-E for the first year is a spec series, so teams wont be playing with that bodywork.
      The safety demands are way lower due to the fact they will be reaching top speeds only half of those we see in F1, carrying only ~1/4 of kinetic energy.
      F-E runs on low-profile wet tyres.

      There is a plethora of factors that make the comparison on bodywork regulations/design in F1 and F-E completely invalid.

      1. it is open wheeled in that single seater open cockpit racing series are considered open wheeled never mind the covers. the top speeds will be more like at least 2/3 of f1s top speeds – not half, and the F-E tyres are not just wet tyres – they are designed for dry and wet weather running. the power is about 2/5 (or 40% of f1), not 1/4 as you say… you are basically bagging this racing series before it was started, by trying to diminish every aspect of it.

        1. I did not say I single negative thing about F-E in my comment. I only addressed why the situation with the nose design can not be compared to F1. That’s it.

          We saw over 360kph in Monza for F1 this year. We will see what top speeds they will be doing, but they are expected to be around 200, so that’s about 55% or about a half. And that translates to about ~1/4 kinetic energy . I was not referring to power, but kinetic energy, don’t worry, they will cover it in 5th grade or so, so don’t miss it.
          “F-E tyres are not just wet tyres” Yes, they are wet tyres and aren’t slick-dry tyres. Not JUST wets, but wets nevertheless. They are low profile and hard compound with rain grooves, my point being, they wont give the same launch effect as an F1 tyre would, which is closer to a drag racer tyre.

          And, although for the purposes of nomenclature, I see it is fair to consider F-E “opened wheel”, I was writing in an exclusively technical sense, and did elaborate what I meant. If you look at the rear wheel for example, you will see that only the very top of the tyre is exposed, the important parts are “closed”.

          There is nothing technical about F-E that needs to be “bagged” (whatever that means…) And I did not do it, nor is there any substance to your rebuke.

          I wanted for a long time for there to be an E-only race series. I was and in some way still are very excited for F-E, but, and this is a very big but, my excitement is being heavily suppressed by the Fanboost. If it wasn’t for the technical side of this unique series, I would have gone from caring to not caring at all in 10 milliseconds when I read the words “boost” and “vote” in a single sentence.

          My hope is that the small minded people in charge of this project will pull their heads out of… and wake up one day and realize the lunacy, which is Fanboost.

      2. The nose is still dangerous in a T Bone incident, which is the main reason for the change in f1.

  6. I sincerely hope BT and ITV don’t give it large about fanboost during the pre-show, the less people hear about it, the better. I am intrigued as to how much of an effect it’ll have on the racing though.

  7. The races are going to be shown on TV here in Denmark so Im going to give it a try. I just hope they get enough viewing figures because I cant see the motoGP here anymore due to lack of viewers :-(

    1. I can’t watch Formula E in Australia as it is on Pay TV. MotoGP race is the only race we get live in Australia on FTA besides Aus GP as there will be additional feature coverage. I was hoping 10 was getting the rights to it as they have mark webber in commentary for V8s and F1.

  8. I just can’t get excited about this series, I still plan to watch the 1st race this weekend but beyond that I’m not sure.

    I’ve not really an issue with electric cars (Although I’ve been in one & didn’t think much of it) or the crappy sound they make, But I just don’t see electric cars been a long term solution.

    Additionally I think some of the things Formula E have gone with, The Fanboost especially is a bit gimmicky. The car swap I get is due to the limitations of the technology but surely they could have found a better solution (2 shorter races or something).

    1. @stefmeister

      I find it hard to get excited about this aswell. As an engineer stdent, I understand its importance and I really, really hope it suceeds. Specially after this year, when the regulations open up a bit.

      But from a motorsport point of view, there’s absolutely no excitement for me yet. I’ll watch the first race but… it’s so far away from what I love to see, that I’m sure I won’t like it.

      1. Hi Fer. I, as much as anybody hate to see a whole century of mechanical engineering down the tube. Engines today are amazing precision. Ever heard the expression “It has the smooth linear power of an electric motor”? Everybody loves a engine like that cause you can dial your power very precisely. Admittedly, anybody who can handle a peaky engine is gonna kill the competition due to the immediate power delivery, but power like that gets tiring and is near useless in the wet. It takes a ton of tech to get a combustion engine to be ‘electric smooth’, while it does not take any tech to make an electric motor smooth.

        Batteries had been the only thing holding back electric motors when the combustion engine came around. Had the combustion engine been introduced to an electric motor society, it would have been trash caned on first site. Next to an electric motor, combustion engines are Rube Goldberg machines. Noisy, smoky, needs a multitude of liquids to operate, need a multitude of gears to to operate within it’s powerband, need to be started and warmed up or they will damage themselves, must be turning RPMs to make any torque or horsepower at all, and then must be revved up to get the torque you want. Electric motors make maximum torque without even turning one revolution. All that torque without even reving up to 1RPM. It is a no brainer for any racer or driver or rider. Instant maximum torque as soon as you decide you want to move.

        It does not take an engineer to see that if we had had good batteries back when the combustion engine was being developed, it never would have. Battery tech has finally caught up. And within 5 years, I have no doubts that electric race motors will be just as powerful as current F1′ engines. That ‘electric power delivery’ everybody loves, will be by default.

        1. Whilst it is popularly claimed that electrical motors have a very smooth and perfectly linear response, in fact most electrical motors have a nonlinear torque curve in continuous operation and are not quite as smooth as their popular image would have you believe.

          On a second point, you also seem to be somewhat confused about the relationship between torque and power. The torque of the engine at zero rpm is actually completely irrelevant, because an engine that is at zero rpm is also doing no work and therefore producing no power.

          It’s not a question of the torque per se, but rather the useful power that is transmitted through the powertrain and to the wheels. Just like an internal combustion engine, the actual power output of an electrical motor is a function of the number of revolutions that the spindle of the motor is being turned through – whether it is an internal combustion engine or an electrical motor, both actually have to be turning in order to produce any power at all.

    2. Timing and cooling key factors that are going to create the power and the turning as you refer to increase clock increase keep it cold

  9. I don’t think there is nothing wrong with Fan Boost.

    Formula-E is not Formula 1. It’s a brand new series with a brand new approach to racing and it has no obligation to stick to any pre-conceived notions of racing or fairness.

    Think of it in terms of video games. Imagine Formula 1 is a racing simulation like iRacing and Formula-E is a casual racing game like Ridge Racer. Now, both involve cars racing around a circuit a number of times and the winner is the one who completes the race in the shortest time. So basically, they’re the same, right?

    Well, iRacing is a hardcore ‘pure’ racing simulator and so adding gimmicks such as turbo boost pads or flashbacks to it would go completely against the very ethos of the sport and competition. It would be ludicrous to add a boost gimmick like this to Formula 1 and I would very much argue against it if the FIA dares to introduce it.

    But Formula-E does not have the same ethos as Formula 1. It’s not about the ‘purity’ of racing competition, it’s about being a showcase for electric cars that involves a group of highly talented and well known racing drivers racing around the streets of some of the world’s biggest cities.

    This is a series where it’s all going to be a bit silly and probably rather crazy. I mean, they’re going to be getting out of their cars and running to get into another one! That is a totally hilarious idea to me. Given that the emphasis of Formula-E is clearly on entertainment, FanBoost seems to fit perfectly into that idea for me and doesn’t offend me as a passionate fan of ‘serious’ racing.

    And after all, this is purely for one five second boost during the race which may not even result in an overtake – hardly a reason to really be all that concerned.

    1. We’ve recently seen complaints about how unresponsive some of the younger F1 drivers are with fans.
      Although I think “fanboost” isn’t the solution yet, it would certainly give some F1 drivers a kick up the behind.
      The Formula E preview TV coverage was quite interesting – the older drivers see fanboost as loaded dice. They don’t seem to expect much passion for them from the younger, social-media active fans.
      Other than that, the cars look great, they sound really interesting, the tyre strategy (one ring to rule them all) is simple and the teams have a great mix of experience and youth. Excellent to see some hard-nosed ladies in the mix.
      I’m really looking forward to it.

    2. @WillWood I do not think that you can completely ignore the relationship between F1 and Formula E. As it says in the article, many ex-F1 drivers are involved in Formula E, Todt is talking about possible technology transfer and “the FIA hopes that in a few years’ time we could be talking about this championship as the electric-powered equivalent of Formula One.” Moreover, Formula E fanbase seems to consist of hardcore F1 fans.

      Most importantly, racing series regularly adopt ideas from each other – DRS, mandatory pit stops, point systems, double points are good (or rather bad) examples. My main concern is that if this Fanboost thing “works”, then we might see it in F1 in a few years as well. I do not really care what gimmicks Formula E uses even if begging for a fanboost is not much different from asking Lotus to wish you a happy birthday on Twitter. But the problem is that it sets a bad precedent.

      1. @girts – out of interest, what could happen that would lead to Fanboost being considered a success? I’m trying to think of a scenario when it could have a positive effect.

        Much like double points… It either has no effect and therefore pointless or has an effect and artificially alters the Championship. Considering the only way it can be considered a success is if it doesn’t run the Championship, it would just be easier to do away with it?

        Over years, people feel that F1 needs spicing up and these weird ideas come and go. It just seems a shame that when they have a blank slate, they begin a series with such a stupid idea!

        1. @petebaldwin I think that if fans actively participate in voting and if positive coverage outweighs complaints, then the organisers will be satisfied and other series might start considering it, too. It depends on many factors. Will one driver regularly get the fanboost or will many drivers challenge for it? How many “Why does my favourite driver never get fanboost?” comments / tweets will appear?

          The hardcore fans like us might hate things that have nothing to do with racing but still affect the outcome of races / championships but I think that the likes of Todt and Agag see it differently: If a gimmick ultimately brings them more spectators, more sponsors and more money, then it is a good gimmick.

          1. @girts – Thing is, you can’t have it both ways. They want people to pay hundreds of pounds to watch F1 either on the TV or live at a track and the casual watchers won’t do that.

            They need the real fans who love the sport for what it is and whilst there is a casual market out there, that market is much more fickle than us. We moan a lot, but we always come back for more!

            Design the sport around a casual fanbase and then have a few boring seasons in a row and what happens!

    3. @willwood – The problem is that whilst we can all see that it will be “a bit silly” and isn’t about “the ‘purity’ of racing competition”, I doubt the organisers would share that viewpoint.

      You’re completly right with what you say though. Formula 1, Indycar, WEC, GP2… These are all serious motorsport competitions whereas Formula E just looks like a bit of fun.

      Thing is, it should’t just be a bit of fun! It should be there to show that a series of electric cars can be as good as F1 or other top series. Instead, it’s just a bit of a joke that instead, suggests that without gimmicks, it’s not good enough.

      If Formula E isn’t about the “purity of racing”, it’s not a form of motorsport I can have any interest in.

  10. I’ll certainly be giving Formula-E a chance and I hope it manages to establish itself as a serious, high quality racing series that helps develop new technologies and processes.
    If the series can develop as fast as the TT Zero the cars will be making significant gains in performance over the next few years.

  11. The big issue for Formula e for me at the start is the 10 week gap between the first & second race meetings.

    That is a long time for the casual viewer to forget about the series for example. The gaps between of the other races are as big as 5 weeks too. I’m not sure why they are so large, something to do with constructing the street circuits I would presume.

    As for Fan boost, I don’t see many people not tuning into F1 anymore because of DRS, KERS (old style KERS), Double points etc so why should people not tune into FE because of Fan boost.

    I would go as as far as to say it’s quite a motor sport elitist thing, the Fan boost bashing “Don’t give it a chance, don’t give it any publicity etc” Why not? If other motor sport viewers or people not that interested in motor sport actually like the idea and want to vote then who are we to shout them down or tell them not to.

    1. I don’t see many people not tuning into F1 anymore because of DRS,

      Go look at the Tv figures in Germany since 2011.

      TV figures worldwide have been in steep decline since DRS came in (And that includes areas that have not changed to pay tv) & I know several people who no longer watch F1 in part because of DRS.

      1. Australia is on its way to Pay TV as Network 10 is struggling and cash strapped and it looks increasingly likely that Ten will partner Fox for the TV rights from 2016.

  12. crass, ill-considered or flagrantly unfair

    This is far too polite a way to refer to such an abomination, such an off-hand, idiotic way of introducing social media to motorsport. When popularity is awarded as much as achievement this series fails to fit the definition of sport, and therein is not fit to be branded any kind of legitimate competition. Never did I think the arbitrary awarding of double points to artificially enhance the title fight would be rivaled as an affront to sporting spirit…

    The cars are fantastic pieces of technology, and yet unlike modern F1 cars look truly mega; a true triumph of design and technology, or form and function. Add to that a fabulous driver line-up of familiar names and some new and refreshing street circuits, and I should be willing the day away to see this new series launch. And yet Fanboost makes Formula E completely unwatchable for me; like garnishing a pavlova with tripe…

  13. I am really looking forward to watch FE, these cars looks just fantastic.

    As for Fanboost, I agree it should not have been implemented at the first place but may be the organisers feel they need to get attention of people as this is a new series and bit different from other. So I will reserve my comments over Fanboost until I watch the race to see its effect.

    Also @keith collantine, will you be publishing articles on FE for every race like you do for F1 or is it just a one off article?

    1. @mjf1fan

      will you be publishing articles on FE for every race like you do for F1 or is it just a one off article?

      To begin with we’ll have F1 Fanatic Live for the races, as we do for IndyCar, WEC, GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 and GP3. Anything beyond that will be decided based on how well those articles perform. It’s encouraging to see how many people have responded to this article and some of the earlier ones, but the question is whether that will be sustained once the novelty value has worn off.

      1. OK thanks for the reply. Hopefully this series would provide good action on track and get more response. :)

  14. Well Keith, I’m excited with F-E. The cars look amazing (liveries too). Loved the Tech stuff, and is great we have McLaren and Williams participating. Let’s hope the action match the expectations.

    1. And dont forget Senna v Prost…

      1. Wow, yeah! And Piquet ‘Infamous’ Jr!

    2. It isn’t McLaren or Williams that need to become involved.

      The power train suppliers like Honda, Toyota and Mercedes need to be attracted and you won’t get that while you are relying on 19th century power sources. (Even F1s move to Hybrid power is only a temporary upgrade to an early 20th century power source. You’d be better off with gas turbines, a mid-20th century technology, powering generators for electric motors)

      I really do want to see more ZEVs produced, the acceleration from electric motors is instant and phenomenal, but the limitations of batteries , in range, recharge time and the amount of power that has to be used to carry the very heavy weight, are never going to appeal to a mass market.

  15. I will be watching…… but I will not be voting, come on Bruno and Karun!!!

    1. @addima

      I will be watching… but I will not be voting

      Well said. Me too!

    2. Late to the party, but agreed! I’m willing to watch but won’t vote. They have a lot of good drivers in the series.

    3. +1 me too doing the same

  16. I don’t understand the negativity. This is not F1. This is more like Mario Kart, and I don’t mean that as an insult. Mario Kart is the most popular and fun racing game ever made, but it wouldnt be as good without the mushrooms. Sure its not fair, but getting a mushroom and beating your rival with it on the last corner blast, priceless. I suspect that the fanboost wont be used for the “most popular” driver, but the guy sitting right up behind a rival, and it will be fun to think you help contributed to an unlikely race victory! If it was F1 I would give up, absolutely, but this is a new game, give it a shot.

    1. If you earnt mushrooms in Mario by somebody in the room just randomly giving out one to their favourite person then I doubt people would enjoy that either.

  17. I will add my name to the list looking forward to Formula E.

    I absolutely hate the idea of Fanboost. It is ridiculous on a level beyond even F1’s recent “features”, and that’s saying something!

    However, as an engineer, scientist, motor racing fan and geek, I will be watching. I have not looked forward to something like this for a very long time. The cars look great, should be quick, and should shot what electric technology can do. It should also help push the technology forward, just as F1 helped push car tech forward.

    All in all, I can’t help but get excited about this.

  18. Wow, those cars really look like they got hit with the ugly stick.
    And what switching cars in the race?? They mean the cars cannot do a full race so they need two.

  19. on what channel will this be televised in the US?

    1. Fox Sports 1 at 3:30 am eastern time Saturday morning.

  20. will they stream the race on their website? It isn’t broadcast in my country

  21. I want to be excited but this seems to be the oposite of everything I love about motor racing!

    The best drivers in the world?

    Ok…. so young upcoming drivers? The future drivers of F1?

    Oh… They’re atleast driving round some classic tracks right?

    Some exciting new tracks?
    No. Ones like this:

    Wow… Ok but at least they’re all in the same cars so it will be a highly competitive series where the best driver comes out on top, right?
    No – whoever is the most popular gets a boost.


    1. If it’s close racing I’ll probably continue to watch it.

      However, the thing that bugs me the most right now is the Beijing circuit (or most of the circuits for that matter); a lot of them are just straights with some chicanes and 90-degree turns.

    2. Hã…boring city tracks like Detroit. I had some great moments viewing F1 in Detroit: just chicanes and 90-degree turns.

  22. In a galaxy not a million miles away Lewis might like the fan boost, Nico – not so much

  23. I’m very excited about tomorrow!
    I really like how the cars look. Surely not the best looking single seaters out there, but they look very futuristic with that big front wing.
    There are a lot of names I recognize, a lot of good drivers in there. It’s going to be exciting to see them in action together.
    I love the idea of a one-day event. It could be very popular for fans, because in that day you are going to see a lot of action on track.
    I also like the fact that there are no slick tyres and wet tyres. Obviously they are going to lose a lot in terms of performance, but it’s cool that they use only one type of tyres. After all it’s the same for road cars.

    I have two complaints at the moment: the track layout for the first race is horrible. It’s all 90-degrees corners and chicanes. The second complaint is obviously fanboost.
    I mean, even if we leave aside the fact that it’s unfair, it just seems a poor attempt at engaging the fans via social media. The drivers are not doing anything unusual on twitter to engage with their fans at the moment. Sometimes they write “hey, please, vote for me and give me a boost for the next race!”, but other than that it’s the same.

  24. Whoever gets the fanboost and decides not to use it gets my vote.

  25. I am really looking forward to it. This is the future, after all, whether people like it or not. I have my reservations about electric power units and their being more ‘eco’ (especially the batteries), but motor racing is the, nomen omen, fastest way to perfecting them. The oil will eventually run out, sooner or later. The sun is here to stay for much longer. I would prefer hydrogen power but that technology hasn’t really taken off yet.

    1. The sun? You don’t believe the cars will be charged with solar power do you?
      Formula E will be powered by coal, gas and fission nuke plants.
      You want the future, like it or not? How about each car tow a trailer with all the waste they would generate to complete the race? Some slag from a dirty Chinese coal plant, a tank of carbons from a German gas plant and some spent fuel rods from France.

    2. @pehogarth – I have no problem with electric cars. The reason this isn’t the future is because they are driving around circuits like they did today. The crash at the end highlighted why these tracks are unsuitable.

      They need to ditch the idea of racing on temporary city tracks and get rid of Fanboost and they could have a really popular series on their hands.

      1. I agree that the circuit was not fit for purpose. In order to run more than 20laps for a sprint race on a ‘real race track’ the batteries will need a major upgrade.

        But I agree with Mr Hogarth that hydrogen would be a better battery; although much of it will come from methane with the state of current tech. I just think it will be my grandkids who will be racing ‘truly eco’ electric cars, charged from fusion power.

  26. I’ll wait to see what effect FanBoost has on the race and result before coming to conclusions. With a 40bhp boost for a few seconds, it isn’t as if the drivers given FanBoost will be guaranteed to finish 1-2-3 in the race.

  27. Formula E is what happens when political correctness goes racing.

    Call me a dinosaur but I will probably always prefer racing with howling or roaring gasoline powered engines. Can’t get excited at all about racing with an audio track similar to golf karts.

  28. Is FanBoost *really* much sillier and artificial that DRS or doble points system?

  29. I’ve wanted to be excited about it, but the fan boost, the awful tracks and the car swap (which is more acceptable for it’s reasons behind it) have put a damper on that giddiness. I’m going to watch and hope the racing redeems it. I’m also glad to hear that the tech will open up. One of the major downers was hearing it’s a spec series. I have nothing against spec series (I love Indy car), but one founded on new technology seems a waste to not give a chance to development. I eagerly await next year to see if any teams start that push.

    As for fan boost, if it’s all in the name of making teams engage more with fans, by all means, create rules for entry which require certain things: Fully functional websites with forums or some type of interaction, a twitter, Instagram or tumblr account with an average number of posts and a certain number of followers. State if a team wants accepted entry, something along those lines must be met. This means before they even get going, they’ll be fervently pounding the pavement for support and interaction. The numbers must be kept up regularly to retain admittance. But making it a part of the competition? No no no no NO. This is not X factor or Americas got talent. This is racing. I avoid the rest of television for this sort of stuff. I don’t want it in my racing.

  30. Regarding fanboost, I’ve heard people floating the idea to boycott it by giving the fanboost to whoever is last in the championship. Thought it was a clever idea.

    But anyway, it’s just a very small aspect of something very interesting – I’ll certainly be watching tomorrow. I’m already looking forward to season two, when they will open up the rules and allow custom-built cars. If the series manages to create a substantial fanbase in season one, I’m sure many car manufacturers will want to be a part of it. It would almost feel like GP racing back in the 1930s, when many car manufacturers felt the need to prove their cars in a single-seater formula against other companies. I really think Formula E has the potential to become an amazing series.

  31. I’ll give E a chance. But the car switching thing bugs me. Why don’t they just make it like a “relay” with the other car and team driver waiting to go out in an identical car at the cross-over point. Let one coast down the pit lane and bump the other one, like a 4×400 race. (Maybe not actually bump, but just enter a certain area, lest we have an E-pile-up.) Stopping the race is bad enough; the reason for doing so is just kind of sad.

    Also, about this fan-boost thing. Good grief. What will happen when it turns out that the drivers from the countries with the most advanced and prevalent mobile computing get’s all the power? It will be racing with a dash of economic imperialism. Very modern. And this thing seems ripe for hacking/rigging with serious though possibly hilarious results.

    Also, I know it saves a buck, but racing on all-season tires is lame. The cars are slow enough as it is. Let them have proper slicks, and bring a set of some Conti ProContacts or whatever cheapo street tire they are running now in case it rains.

  32. I’d have to say that I’m looking forward to watching this 1st race. If I can drag myself out of bed at 3:30 AM and find a live stream, that is. I don’t get Fox Sports 1, who are broadcasting all the races live here in the US. I watched a standing start practice on youtube the other day, and that was quite strange to see. Even stranger to listen to. Seeing all those cars sitting on the grid in absolute silence (I swear I could hear crickets chirping!), then go tearing off sounding like so many slot cars was very bizarre. Anyway, the first few races should be interesting, even if only in terms of their novelty, and if we’re lucky, it might actually turn out to be a decent racing series.

  33. I just tried to look at the “FanBoost” thing

    but got the message “The service is unavailable.”…

  34. So, are they all using the same motor/chasis? What kind of speeds are they getting? I know the Nissan ZEOD entry at Le Mans this year attained 186mph on electric power alone; are these comparable?

    Also, “Fanboost” is ridiculous. Sounds like something that would be found in NASCAR.

  35. I missed that last part about passing on Fanboost – too busy maxing out my votes for Alguersuari. :P

    1. Same… except I’m trying to give Katherine a Legge up on the competition. ahem.

  36. I’m Looking forward to seeing Prost vs Senna part 2

    1. I missed Prost when I looked over the driver list the first time.

      It draws strange feelings, seeing those names on a racing grid together once more.

  37. I on the other hand, am gonna give Fanboost a chance. Don’t like it? Deal with it.

  38. true, fanboost makes me so sick, that alone makes the whole series a joke to me, what is this a mario console game ? Wow , of all dumb ideas i ever heard, that is the dumbest.

  39. I’m intrigued by the cars. They sound like futuristic cars do in movies :-)

  40. How about instead of boycotting the vote everybody embraces it by voting for Trulli. With his qualifying record he will obviously start the race from pole position. Then during the race he will sit back, allow the Trulli train to take formation and nobody will be able to pass him.

  41. FanBoost is absurd.

    I actually don’t mind the idea of a more “wacky racers” or mario kart kind of formula, to try to address a different kind of market. For example, boosting a driver’s hp depending on how far from the lead they get (rubberbanding). Or giving them a way to accumulate “powerups” by accomplishing things, which can then be used (for e.g. a temporary boost, or perhaps an anti-boost to somebody ahead or behind).

    FanBoost is awful though, it just makes me feel bad even thinking about it.

    Also, I kinda wish this was based on hydrogen power (e.g. fuel cells) instead of EVs.

  42. I can’t resist. Voted for Bruno Senna for Fanboost. Sorry Keith.

  43. From what I could tell, the fanboost is broken anyway. Tried both with Nightly 64bit (Firefox alpha) and Chrome (standard). I totally get the complaints that I’m reading here about it, and quite frankly it strikes me as Racing meets Reality TV (which I hate btw).

    However, that said… I’ve only been watching F1 for a half dozen years or so. I was initially so sick of Shumackers win basically every race, that I just couldn’t root for Ferrari even tho I wanted to. Due to budgetary reasons I have not caught many of this years races (and am refusing to check the news on it in case I am able to watch the races), and now that McLaren seemed to be dominating early on, it became very easy to root for Alonso.

    I expect that if fanboost stays, you will see much the same effect happen in F-E as to politics. Driver A is close to locking up the championship, Driver B *could* still overtake A. I was voting for Driver C, but I hate Driver A, so B will get my vote this race.

    And from a managerial standpoint, forcing people to register to vote, a) you get a VERY early and clear picture of your fanbase. You also b) get a quick and public overview on who the most popular drivers are. I imagine there will be a ton of local support in China for this first race, and would almost put money on the fanboost going to a chineese driver (if it works at all that is) from many people who may never return to vote again the rest of the season.

  44. Bruno Senna also raced for HRT – colleague with Karun Chandhok.

  45. I’m watching the qualifying and… i am finding horrible.
    Lets see the race…

  46. So, I gave it a chance.

    It’s not good thing that the only interesting part of the race was the spectacular crash. I really feared for Heidfeld there, his cockpit appearing to strike the wall. Well done on building a safe car.

    But the race? Well yes, the track was spectacularly rubbish so probably not the best place to judge anything… But I can’t see this getting exciting. Not enough dynamism to the cars of what the drivers are doing.

    Did I see them break through 110mph? These things are slower than Formula Fords…

    On word? Bland.

    Presentation by ITV4 was also pretty rubbish…

    1. Oh and what’s with the utterly tragic music? Sounding like a failed post modern take on muzak and played over the race at odd times?

  47. Have to say I thought the actual racing pretty good and close, interesting to see how tactics in the future pan out. Sam Bird staying out that extra lap but being hindered by a stupid policy on the 50 sec mandatory add on at the pit-stop. In fact this is probably my biggest gripe, it is supposed to be an advert for green sport, so how come each driver has two cars!!! Surely it would have been better to have swappable battery packs.

  48. I ended up watching it just now. Seem like decent little cars that can race closely but I don’t think we really learnt anything new today. Design a dull track and you’ll get dull racing…..

    Luckily Fanboost offered nothing which shows that it’s completely pointless. Prost’s move on Heidfeld at the end was unbelievable! It was funny watching Alain’s reaction though!

    Overall, could be a good series if they arrange to race on proper circuits next year. Never going to work whilst they’re driving around carparks.

  49. Michael Brown (@)
    13th September 2014, 15:33

    I found the race to be pretty exciting until about halfway through, but then it picked up again. It goes to show that you don’t need DRS and highly degradable tires to have decent racing. Fanboost is stupid but I’m glad it had no effect. The pit stop time rule is also dumb.

    Other than that, it’s definitely got potential. Today’s race was better than some of the F1 races this year, such as Spain, China, and Malaysia.

  50. For whatever reason I just never really got into that race, Even when there was some good racing/overtaking going on.

    I think perhaps a part of the reason was that everything just felt slow & seemed to take forever. The formation lap was so slow it seemed to take about half hour, The pit stops seemed to take an age & the overall sense of speed while the cars were on track was lacking as was the excitement of actually watching the cars been driven.

    The music was really annoying, Exactly the kind of DJ/Club music which I can’t stand which made it worse.
    Coverage wise it was good, There was a bit too much going on with the telemetry graphic but the actual world-feed coverage was OK. The ITV Pre/Post race stuff however was dreadful.

    It was also disappointing that they have 4 live OnBoard feeds available on there official tablet/mobile app which are only available in the US.
    Was equally disappointing that the OnBoards were not used a great deal on world-feed & that only 3-4 cars seemed to carry one, I also missed having Team Radio played out in some way.

    On the whole there wasn’t really anything that got me excited about the series or which makes me look forward to the rest so I can’t see myself becoming a fan of it or continuing to follow it regularly.
    Compared to other recent upstarts (GP2/A1GP/Superleague Formula for instance) I got really excited about those series from watching the initial races & became fans of those series, So far as I say there’s nothing to keep me hooked on Formula E.

    I may watch the next race just to see them on a different circuit but I certainly won’t be getting up to watch it live.

  51. Formula E just proves that batteries are an absolutely rubbish way to power a car. If they want this to be taken seriously then the generation source needs to be opened up to other technologies, such as Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Saline, race distances need to be extended to 200 km, and there needs to be a ban on carbon brakes as they are not green at all (neither are the carbon chassis).

    Brake by Wire needs to be added so that there can be a proper “Racetrack to Road” benefit instead of using such ancient electric technology.

    1. why would you say they are a rubbish way to power cars? just because it isn’t as fast as f1, doesn’t mean it is rubbish. this series is being taken seriously, just not my ignorants like yourself. it does not need to be opened up to other technologies, for this year it is a spec series – it is like a test bed this first season. in the future it is open for more manufacturers and development. I am sick if comments like yours from people that will only be satisfied if the the electric series is as quick as f1. it is one race in and you are saying “needs to be opened up to other technologies”. get over yourself already. give it a chance, just as the heading of this article says.

    2. If you really want electrically powered cars to become the norm, batteries are NOT the answer.

      You need generation technologies that can be replenished just like petrol in a car, not have to wait for hours on end to get a recharge.

      The Hydrogen Fuel Cell gives that fast refill, and so can Saline.

    3. So True, couldn’t agree more.

  52. Although very excited about the prospect of Formula E, I wasn’t expecting much from the first race or even the first season given how everything is completely new and it takes time to develop a series. However the race had much more action than I expected (even before the unfortunate ending), especially considering the terrible track layout.
    Fanboost is retarded, but thankfully seemed to have negligible effect so is easy to ignore. The driver line up is great considering it’s a brand new series, but I really hope the tracks will be improved in coming seasons. The cars were quick through corners, but the straight line speed is poor. That, along with the need to change car will hopefully be resolved as the technology develops, which is one of the purposes of this series in the first place.

    Overall I’m cautiously optimistic, as long as the organisers are smart and make the right decisions going forward. It’s a very ambitious project, and a potentially a very progressive one. Fingers crossed.

  53. I actually found that there was some good racing going on, but the coverage is so new that they didn’t know how to show it off well and no way to identify what was going on and who was making passes.
    It looked like the low downforce does allow the cars to follow much more closely and attempt more moves but of course, the coverage was so new and hence spotty, that we missed much of it.

    And worst of all was that Fox Sports 1 who did the coverage in the US had Dario Franchitti making some good commentary but his mike was turned down so low that we could barely hear him!
    I think FS1 needs to do some quick work on their coverage. They even kept cutting to commercials with no warning to the broadcast team who just kept covering the race live. They’d be in the middle of giving you good information and suddenly you’re watching a commercial for insurance….and when they come back, the announcers are not catching you up on what happened because they don’t even know there was a commercial!!! Pathetic on that part.

    i thought it was a terrible track layout and I’m worried that city tracks will be way too processional like watching Monaco without any of the tradition to make it seem good. Could be a bad combo for getting good racinng.

    Having said all of that, most of these problems can be solved. And in coming years when they let them build their own cars and we see different strengths and weaknesses, then it will probably lead to more passes and better racing. Hopefully the coverage will improve as well.

    1. After seeing other comments, I realize that there was only one team announcing the race which explains why the US feed was so bizzare as we insist on putting adverts in the middle of everything. But it really was bad to be listening to an interesting point and suddenly you’re watching a Hooters commercial! Not that I don’t like a good set of hooters as much as the next guy, but that’s what the internet was made for. I was watching a race and wanted to hear what Dario had to say…and it was very frustrating.

  54. I wonder if Nico & Nick friendship will be affected due the last lap clash…?? (both of them are in Rebellion)

  55. Gave it a chance for a few laps but couldn’t get into it. Felt no ‘involvement’ or excitement watching it, and the track was appalling. Came across a bit like a slow, quiet Indycar.

    Crash was nasty but was fun to see Prost using his Felipe Massa Handbook to talk about it the race. And Alain cringing and thinking ‘I raised a Maldonado…’

  56. The first race was a good answer to the fears of fanboost critics. It was made clear that fanboost is only there for fans to think they can help their favourite driver. Let them think that and let’s hope things go on to be decided by drivers and cars, as nobody noticed fanboost the whole race.

  57. With any luck, all the electric series, on two and four wheels, will die out the same way slot-car racing did. I don’t care one bit about environmentally friendly racing, of any kind. Racing is supposed to be illogical and somewhat insane. The percentage of petroleum products used for all racing is tiny, and if I wanted to be “taught a lesson” about ecology I would return to school rather than watch a race.

    The Fanboost thing is something out of a badly-written science fiction short-story. If that’s the new direction of motorsports, I’m getting into gardening.

    1. Even if it dies off now, it’ll be back, electric motors have the potential for much more power than petrol engines, we just don’t have the battery tech to make the most of them

      1. What you mean with much more?

      2. not only that, but staggeringly more torque. one day we will run out of fossil fuels, and it will be the only option. for now, why not try the technology and build it up, and let the naysayers be naysayers, who cares about them, they pay their fee at the petrol stations and complain, but don’t complain when watching motor-racing. racing can be racing not matter what fuels the vehicle.

    2. Why would you want a racing series to die of? Other than fanboost (which has nothing to do with electric) I have nothing against Formula E. All forms of Racing can be exiciting, even if they would race Shopping Carts.

      Its not about being an Environment alist or not. The spectators have a bigger impact on the environment with transport etc than any racingcars have.

      I’m mainly interested in technology. Doesn’t matter to me if its spaceships, computers, Hedron colliders or even electrical cars.

  58. I tried to like it but the main problems are

    1. Terrible circuit design, race these things on proper circuits
    2. Incredibly slow, barely over 160kph. Doesn’t matter with touring cars but single sweaters need to be much quicker
    3. the worst TV coverage, just like when f1 was on itv

    1. Single seaters not sweaters lol

      1. Fave predictive fail of the week :)

    2. Was going to write my own post, but this just about sums it up.

      I took a look, and generally thought “well, it might have some promise, but what twit decided to start with a street race?” (I realise – now – they are all street races).

      Compared with Monaco F1, it was a decent race, but…

  59. Liked the racing all right. Not the track.

    Whether Nicolas Prost swerved into Nick or on purpose, I found him utterly callous after the crash since he did not make the slightest move to show concern for his fellow racer.

    Heidfeld was still in his overturned car, his racing over, so why didn´t Prost move towards Nick to help? He just walked away without even looking at Nick.

  60. I found itsad how ITV used elevator music to distract from how boring the pitstops were.

    1. @kelsier That wasn’t ITV – that’s what Formula E are putting in the broadcast feed…

      1. Yes, sorry to ITV, not their fault. I was watching the postrace as I wrote the comment and nice to see that they apologized for it and agreed with me after all.

        Hope the it gets removed together with the fanboost.

  61. The “Brave New World” of motor racing?
    No thanks.

  62. Jesus christ formula E is so bad.

    -Cars are VERY slow, toped 160kph, WTCC would go faster.
    -Very booring to watch, lack of speed and sound
    -Track is terrible
    -When you put music in motor racing, something’s VERY wrong…

    1. Couldnt agree more.

      Waiting for people to say “you need to get used to it”

  63. Did some research- the cars are apparently charged by Cummins diesel generators converted to run on glycerine. Three shipping containers worth of equipment will be shipped to all the venues to charge the cars. I wonder if it would be more “green” to build the cars to run on glycerine, get rid of the stupid “car switch” pit-stop, halve the amount of cars built and shipped, and reduce the amount of equipment needed to be shipped too.
    Electric cars have been with us for over 100 years. The fact that they still have terrible range shows we still have a long way to go with electrical storage design.
    This series seems like a waste of time and effort. I doubt that we will see ground breaking leaps in electric car technology from Formula-E, but I hope I’m wrong. If it comes to pass- someone please wake me up so I can watch it. I live in Miami, and after today’s (lack of) spectacle, you won’t find me at the circuit when this circus comes to town in March.

    1. the last lap was as much a spectable as Hamilton v Rosberg in F1, maybe more so then those 2 clowns underserving of the best car – give that to Ricciardo and Alonso. Electric technology was killed off by the petrol oriented industry, but so what… it was around before petrol and will be around long after we run out of petrol – it is gaining prevalence so accept it. fossil fuels make people money so It has to be used up first. one day, if you are still alive, you will regret saying “This series seems like a waste of time and effort” someone has to do it first. in future years they will open it up to development (Even from next year), so the technology and speed will increase, this first year it is just a spec series. you talked of lack of spectacle, but there have been many modern f1 races with just as much spectacle during the race. don’t judge the whole series on one race. I think prestige is the only thing that keeps f1 afloat at times, as it is clearly not the most interesting series for racing

      1. The last lap of course was a spectacle, but spectacular crashes does not make a great race. If I wanted to watch crashes instead of good, hard racing, I’d watch NASCAR. Here in the USA, it’s hard to NOT watch NASCAR… As far as electricity being around before and after petrol- of course you’re right. That’s not to say that electricity is the best type of motive power for automobile-type vehicles. Just as ships went from sail to steam to diesel to (some) nuclear and (some) hybrid petrol-electric, there are technologies that just “work” for a particular application- at a particular time. Take aircraft- jets engines work great in medium to large aircraft- if and when something better comes along, they will move to that technology. For cars- we must find a better solution to fossil fuels, but using a by-product of bio-diesel production to fuel converted diesel generators that charge heavy batteries that can’t even last a race of 86km seems like silliness, especially when you factor in the inherent inefficiencies of the bio-diesel production process, the losses in converting the energy in the liquid fuel to electricity, the inefficiencies of charging the batteries, the inefficiencies of the motor, the losses in heat in each process, etc. and then factor in the costs in money and carbon to ship the generators themselves.
        What if you built cars that used the glycerine itself? I’ll bet you would have a lighter (therefore quicker and better handling) car capable of better racing (and maybe even a better sound than what sounds like the radio-controlled cars I played with as a kid). From what I discovered, it looks like glycerine is very enviro-friendly in that it looks like it produces very little NOx or CO. Now that’s innovation I can believe in! I’m not sure about it’s specific energy compared to other fuels (I’ll bet it’s pretty low in comparison), but if they’re going to burn this fuel charging those cars, I think I might rather see the cars themselves burning the stuff.
        As far as electric energy being killed off by the petrol-oriented industry… If you really believe that in over 100 years some genius/entrepreneur hasn’t come up with a proper electric car that competes with a petrol driven car on all points- including range, ability to rapidly and efficiently recharge/refuel, performance, resource utilization (think weight) and cost, then I would disagree. Build me a lightweight (read not heavyweight) electric car that gets the range and performance of my VW Passat at the same cost as my Passat and I’ll buy it. That includes being able to drive 700 miles in one day (like I did a few weeks ago) with only one quick stop to fill the tank with petrol. 99% of those miles were on the highway, so don’t expect much from regen braking.
        As far as lack of spectacle- I agree that F1 racing is often dull, and I don’t anticipate F1 races like I used to. Here in the USA, it’s hard to be an F1 fan, and having to choose which spoiled brat to cheer on the only team capable of winning isn’t my idea of a great show either. The F1 gods expect me to be excited at the thought of a driver using a couple of brain cells to tell him the proper time to hit a button on his steering wheel (for DRS or formerly- KERS). I could go on and on about the problems in F1, but that’s a whole other story.
        I’ll keep on watching F1 and hope that Williams comes back to be the force they once were (I’ve been a fan of theirs since the late 1970s!), but as far as FE goes, I’d like to send all of their technical staff to college for physics and engineering so that one day, electric road and racing cars will be exciting, fun, environmentally friendly, and affordable.

  64. Yeah, I will not be watching anything more of this, it is terrible

  65. I found the race to be quite exciting overall (even without the last corner crash spectacle).

    – Finally an electric single seater series. F1 should have gone this way 5 years ago.
    – Batteries today, whatever tomorrow, it’s just a power source, things will evolve. Pretty decent first attempt.
    – Loved the well placed onboard cameras, made much more impact than the standard stationary cranes.
    – Great close racing, good driver lineup, there were immediately faces to recognize and people to cheer for.

    – Formation lap and pit stops. Come on!
    – Safety car was way too long for a race this short. The removal team moved like they were in slow-motion.
    – Camera work and video coverage was generally hideous. You’d expect the FIA to have more experienced people than this. My 8 year old niece could probably have put things in better framing.
    – ITV4 coverage was actually not that bad, but tried to be too “big” like F1 and failed on that miserably.
    – We have months between races. Hard to keep engaged… they should compress the whole thing to about 3-4 months tops, to keep fans more engaged.

    – Cars are indeed slow and LOOK slow too (though could be improved by better camerawork and coverage only). That will change I suppose once teams begin to develop their own cars.
    – We’ll learn to tell the cars apart eventually, the paint jobs are quite distinct for the most part.

    1. Great summary @junpei. Agree with it completely.
      I would probably put more credit to the racing itself.
      The track was quite rubbish and yet we had quite a few good battles and overtaking moves.
      The cars could probably be a bit faster (although 160 kph is not bad for the beginning) but they look quite decent and safe. I like how they enclose the wheels and still look like an open-wheeler.
      I don’t expect anyone who missed the V8 or V10 sound to like the series too much but as I don’t care about the noise of current F1 cars I didn’t mind the metallic sound of FE cars.
      To summarize, I quite liked it and will probably tune in for the next race as well.

    2. @junpei Yeah agree with pretty much all of that.

      Biggest con you missed was that they build up all of this hype, got some well known drivers and brands in, designed a good looking car and then… raced around the dullest track ever conceived!

  66. Another unimpressed viewer here,
    Terrible track, too slow, stupid car swap?!
    No skill required for the start, all cars took off in perfect formation.
    Wont be watching again.

  67. All I can see is all the brazillian drivers getting fan boost all but Piquet.

  68. I just watched the race on YouTube. I enjoyed it! The right amount of laps, I think, 25.

    I enjoyed the close racing and didn’t mind that it was pretty slow compared to F1. It’s great they’ve worked to produce this new formula.

    I will watch again. I’ll never vote!

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