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Formula E cars don't need to be any faster, says BMW

BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt believes that Formula E doesn't need to worry about making its cars faster in the future, saying instead the all-electric series should focus on growth in the virtual sector.

Formula E cars don't need to be any faster, says BMW
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams
Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Andretti Formula E Team
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Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director
Robin Frijns, Amlin Andretti Formula E Team
Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Andretti Formula E Team
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Stefan Reinhold, BMW Team RMG and Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director
Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Andretti Formula E Team

The Bavarian marque has become involved in Formula E this season through a tie-up with the Andretti team, with BMW factory driver Antonio Felix da Costa racing alongside Robin Frijns.

One of the most common criticisms faced by the burgeoning championship is its relatively low top speeds compared to other formulae - with the cars electronically limited to 140mph (225km/h).

While Formula E has modest power increases planned for future seasons, Marquardt believes there is no need for the series to dramatically up speeds, especially given the constraints of racing in city centres.

The German highlighted instead that the championship's growth potential lies in making the most of the opportunities afforded by areas such as fan interaction and virtual racing.

"It's important for Formula E to keep its USP with racing in big cities where the people are," said Marquardt. "The short but exciting programme fits modern life perfectly.

"Plus you have a lot of interaction with the fans, simulators and virtual stuff. This is where the true potential of Formula E lies, not in going faster and being bigger and greater.

"The point is: The cars cannot be much faster on these kinds of tracks with these safety measures in place. But they don't have to be faster, I think. In my opinion, the true potential is the virtual sector.

"Maybe, in a few years, fans will virtually race in a Formula E race with their stars that do the real racing. This is much more important than [the difference between] going 250km/h or 180km/h on the straights."

BMW powertrain the goal for season five

Marquardt also made it clear that BMW wants to have its own powertrain in the series in time for its fifth season in 2018, when Formula E is set to drop mid-race car swaps and become a single-car formula.

"We're working together better and better with Andretti," said Marquardt. "We are learning a lot, which is important for season five, when we want to have our own BMW engine in the car.

"There is a lot we need to prepare in order to be ready for that. At the moment, we are helping with simulations and data processing from Munich.

"Plus we have people on site at the team to help and support. One person always is there, sometimes even two or three. It depends."

Additional reporting by Stefan Ehlen

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Series Formula E
Teams Andretti Autosport
Author Jamie Klein
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