The inaugural Formula E Beijing ePrix is just one month away.
Motorsport is turning green come this September when the inaugural FIA Formula E championship flags off in China, covering nine different cities around the world. The idea of electric racing cars championship was conceived back in 2012 and it was then finalized that the championship will take place from September, 2014 until June, 2015 and the pre-season testing would take place during the month of July and August, 2014. There is a general excitement towards the championship as motorsport comes to terms with a new concept of cars which are electrically powered as the series aims to encourage sustainability and a greener environment.
Teams, drivers, technical specification
Four of the five pre-season test sessions took place in Donington Park, UK which is the HQ of Formula E series. The series is well supported from the involvement of Williams Advanced Engineering for the batteries, McLaren Electronics for the electric powertrain and electronics, Renault Sport Technologies for the technical sport, Spark Racing Technology for the car Spark-Renault SRT-01E, Dallara for the chassis and Michelin for the tyres. The host of teams and drivers participating in the series has also boosted the chances for a successful inaugural season. Said teams are Amlin Aguri, Andretti Autotsport, Audi Sport ABT, China Racing, Dragon Racing, E.Dams Renault, Mahindra Racing, Trulli GP, Venturi Grand Prix and Virgin Racing. There are a number of ex-Formula 1 drivers, two female drivers and few Indycar drivers to contest the series.
Race destination, fan boost, green environment
As such it is the first season, there is a lot of uncertainty about the success of the championship. It remains to be seen how many fans turn up for the ePrix to watch the races. The race destinations are definitely popular places for travelling but for racing? We will know in the year to come. The season will also feature a special gimmick where fans have a chance to vote for their favourite drivers to give them a two and a half second boost during the race; it is named as Fan Boost. The voting is already open and the top three drivers with the maximum votes will get that two and a half second boost advantage. This gimmick is widely talked about and is first of its kind. The world is always talking about working towards a greener environment and so the idea for this championship is to mix racing with that technology in order to be more mainstream and escape the criticism that its predecessors have endured.
What to expect
Regarding the championship, it is to early to predict anything because the pre-season testing gave little to talk about as the teams were simply trying to lean the functions of the cars and all the elements. The first priority will be reliability of the cars and then work on the aerodynamic factors to bring it up to speed and gain an advantage. Every team enjoyed a bit of a success during testing but it is expected that teams like Audi Sport ABT, E.Dams Renault, Mahindra Racing, Andretti Autosport and China Racing could excel in the opening rounds. There will be one practice session, one qualifying session and one race for about 45 minutes where the drivers will have to change their cars during the mandatory pit stop because one car battery cannot run the full distance. In short, the teams have to build two cars per driver.
What do you fans think of Formula E championship? Can it be a successful championship in terms of racing and fan experience? Are they on the right path?