“Formula E: Racing for the Future” reviewed

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Officially licenced by the championship, Sam Smith’s “Formula E: Racing for the Future” is the first publication of its type dedicated to the all-electric single seater series, which will crown its first world champion this year.

Smith is the perfect author for the project, his paddock reporting on the category is always superb with both an eye for a breaking story, and the ability to easily convey some of the behind-the-scenes activity.

For what it sets out to do there is very little to criticise in ‘Formula E’ – Smith does a fantastic job in weaving together the series story with technical features, and input from many of Formula E’s key on- and off-track characters.

I have two niggles – some of the season summaries are very brief, and a bit more detail on some of the races would have been welcome. Similarly Smith has written some excellent pieces on how Formula E responded to Covid, a topic which is largely brushed over here.

As you’d expect from a licenced product ‘Formula E’ isn’t in the business of making too many waves or controversial statements – although to its credit the series’ early financial perils are covered in detail (I can speak from experience). Other moments such as Salvador Duran’s curiously non-existent defence of the place which gave Nelson Piquet Jnr the inaugural title are lost to history.

As someone who finds a lot Formula E coverage somewhat ‘glossy’ and quick to overlook its shortcomings, I found more to commend in this than I expected. Still, a fly-on-the-wall account of Formula E’s beginnings promises to be one of the great sports books of all time even if only half the paddock rumour is actually true.

‘Formula E’ isn’t that, but in fairness doesn’t try to be either. As a 360-degree guide to the series to date it is spot-on, superbly written and brilliantly put together. For fans of the series it will leave you sorted for E’s and whizz.

RaceFans rating

Rating four out of five

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“Formula E: Racing for the Future”

Author: Sam Smith
Publisher: Evro
Published: May 2021
Pages: 256
Price: £35.00
ISBN: 9781910505687

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Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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  • 8 comments on ““Formula E: Racing for the Future” reviewed”

    1. playstation361
      11th July 2021, 15:18

      We have to watch but things are getting better.

    2. Travelled the world to attend various Motorsport events but wouldn’t cross the street to watch Formula E and their angry sewing machine sounding “engines”. I get all the arguments about noise and being able to perform in populated areas but the cars have no soul. A big pass from me and many others.

      Reply moderated
      1. I’m with you. I suspect the ‘E’ cars are slower than F3 and possibly F4. I guess that’s why they never race on a real track so no comparison can be made…..

        Reply moderated
    3. Technical question ….
      Could Ferrari, McLaren, or someone, build a street legal, fully electric two seater with decent tyres, brakes, suspension, power, range and control electronics, that would outperform the current (heavily restricted) FE cars.?
      I strongly suspect that they could.

      1. Ting in check comment, but haven’t Tesla already did that with a 4 seater?

        On a more serious note, how about the Pike Peaks record holder Volkswagen I.D. R which is fully electric?

        I get the argument that the soul of motorsports for many is partly the sound but from an engineering pov electric makes a lot of sense because no shifting gears just full power all the time and the fact that you can put the centre of gravity so low

      2. Rimac Concept Two might tick all your boxes? Huge amount of power but much heavier than FE cars so not sure how it would compare in the corners.

        1. Rimac … awesome looking car. Love the approach.
          Problem is the standard trade-off of weight, battery capacity (range) and performance. Pick two.
          Even for all they tout, at 300 kW, you would only get 24 minutes of throttle time. At 400, 18 min.
          The 120 kWHr capacity is great for such a small car. Should be good for 4 and 5 hr road trips.
          It just might win an FE event, but rules is rules and there are lots of em.

    4. As soon as you use the privacy features that ditch most cookies when you close a tab, that feature will have issues “remembering you” since the memory gets deleted @rekibsn, @david-beau

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