Was the first race a failure or a success? I say the latter.
The inaugural Beijing ePrix was the first chance for Formula E to silence some of its doubters and it went a long way in doing so. From the moment the lights went out there was great battles throughout the field and the race culminated with one of the most spectacular and surprising finishes inrecent memory. With the first event in the books, let's take a look at some of the ways Formula E proved that it's here to stay.
Thanks to a last-turn, last-lap dive bomb by Nick Heidfeld and the subsequent block put on by Nicolas Prost, we were able to see just how safe the cars are. In what can only be described as a vicious airborne accident that left many in the sold-out crowd filled with shock and concern, Nick Heidfeld walked, actually, angrily ran away unscathed. The crash structure of the car held up well considering the beating it sustained and there was absolutely no damage to the car's internal battery, which has been a big concern amongst detractors.
While the cars definitely don't have that brutal, thundering sound to them, the lack of that actually provided fans a chance to hear other aspects of racing they don't normally here. The tire squeal, the transmission whine and one that a lot of people hadn't thought about ... The at track announcer.
With other motorsports, you are able to hear the track announcer for a portion of the lap at the beginning of the race but that becomes increasingly hard to hear over the sound of the engines as the race goes on. This is not the case forFormula E which should make it easier for fans at the track to follow some of the different storylines during the race.
Make no mistake about it, these cars are fast. While they aren't anywhere close to 200mph, they will eventually approach 140mph which is still incredibly fast, especially when you're doing it in the concrete jungle of a street circuit.
There are multiple things that Formula E does different than any other series but they were all either beneficial or inconclusive after the first race.
The EJ (the trackside DJ) seems like a blatant attempt to connect with the youthful fans but the electronic music that was played throughout the day kept fans of all ages entertained. The music in the background during the race helped to keep the fans engaged even when they couldn't hear the cars while they are on the other side of the track.
Mid-race car swaps created quite a lot of excitement and absolutely had an impact on the final results. Watching drivers jump out of one car and into their second car stirred up images of recent wet/dry MotoGP races of the past two years.
The jury is still out on the FanBoost. While one of the recipients of the Fan Boost won the race, Lucas di Grassi, he said during the press conference that he didn't activate the feature due to reliability and energy usage concerns. With round two in Malaysia more than two months away, judgment of this will have to wait for a while.
A great start
With all things considered, everyone involved in the Formula E project put on an outstanding event and made a great start to a new championship series.
If each of the remaining rounds of the first series turns out as good as Beijing, it won't be long before Formula E establishes itself as one of the premier championships in the world.