Formula E is nearing its first test sessions, what is left to announce?
Formula E kicks off its season this coming fall. It will bring the most technologically advanced electric race car to city centres all over the world.
But having been conceived in 2012, and not getting on track for two years, the series has not lost any momentum.
CEO of Formula E Holding’s Alejandro Agag says that with the amount of announcements they have between now and the first event, there is plenty of excitement for the new series yet to come.
All the drivers will be announced. That is key. All of the television broadcasters will be announced. People will know where they will be able to see the race. Then we will start testing,” said Agag. “
“Testing will be very important, and be very open. A lot of people focus on how testing is going. The first test is on June 4 in Donington. We will do two full race weekends in testing, to do a full rehearsal of how a race weekend will go. There is a lot of exciting stuff to come before the first race.”
In all the press up until now, Agag has said that this series will put a very large emphasis on technological advances and introducing new technologies, much like conventional motor racing did in its infancy.
“We think we have more potential, but only for one reason, because we are in the beginning. We are where they were 60 or 70 years ago. Everything has been invented already on the combustion engine. We are in the beginning with our technology. Our technology is not so perfect, there is a lot of room for improvement,” Agag said.
One of the series focuses while building its team roster was a groups willingness to pioneer new technology, and push for more development. Agag says they have found exactly what they are looking for in the race teams who have stepped forward to compete.
We look for geographical diversification, and I think we have achieved this,” he said.
“We wanted teams that represented a mix from established motorsports brands like Andretti Autosport, to cool brands like Virgin. We want people who will focus on developing technologies for the future. We want this series to be a test-bed for new technology that can trickle down to our road cars.”
The first years of the Formula E Championship will be an every changing environment of innovation, with bigger battery capacity comes higher power. With more power comes more speed. With more speed comes more danger, which could mean the necessity to compete on purpose built race tracks, instead of the city centre circuits Formula E will be going to.
“The limitation of us right now is how much energy we can store. Our engine is only 16 kilos of weight, and gives close to 300 horsepower. I could put 4 motors together and only have 60 kilos and over 1,000 horsepower. With 1000 hp, you need a proper racetrack,” Agag said.
“When technology allows for batteries to provide a bigger amount of stored energy, the power will go up dramatically. We would then be in a situation where some city tracks would be ok, but some won't have enough runoff and things like that.”
But, in the end Agag feels Formula E is in a great business position in relation to its openwheel competitors worldwide, like IndyCar in North America and Formula One, using it’s uniqueness as its selling points.
“We position ourselves with two unique selling points. First of all sustainable and environmental friendly technology. And second, cities, cities, cities,” he said.
“Sponsors are looking for properties that tick those two boxes. They are looking for events to be taking place in cities. People care what happen in New York, Los Angelos, London and Tokyo, and not so much about the smaller communities.”