Keeping an open mind: Formula E

Whether you like the idea or not, Formula E is rolling full steam....errrr...battery ahead next month.

It’s almost here. 

After a successful full race test day at Donington Park this past weekend, Formula E is ready to head to China for the first round of the world’s most technologically advanced racing series.

I was a skeptic at the very start. “Why the heck would you want to run a racing series solely on electric power…and why do they have to be open wheel cars?”

Educate yourself about the series and its technology

Those were my ignorant thoughts towards this little idea that Alejandro Agag was pursuing. 

Then I spoke to one of the drivers after their first test in the car. Lucas di Grassi.

At that same time, there were a lot of videos and reports coming out about that test. The sound of the car captivated me. Sure it sounds more like an airplane heading down a runway, but what does it matter what sound emanates from the car, as long as it goes as fast as it can.

At that point, and having spoken to the driver who campaigned all over the globe with Agag, showing off their new product, I realized I had to do my research and learn more about what this Formula E train was all about, and why it was gaining so much steam.

That brought me to a conversation with Agag himself. 

Tapping into a new demographic of race fan

The overwhelming point he conveyed to me during our conversation was that he wants to break Formula E into a completely new demographic of fan. 

Gearheads wont get it at the start. But when they see how much the series interacts with its fans, creates a festival like atmosphere at its inner city races, but lastly, shows the world the most cutting edge, green technology, and its capability in a racing application.

The car switching thing, well, that still seems sort of messy. The drivers are to pull into the paddock area and drive their car into their work area where they hop out of the dying (or likely dead) car and into the new fully charged car that is pointing the opposite way. Strap in and pull out. In one minute. 

Maybe it’s the traditionalist coming out in me, but the garage area (paddock)? Why there? I think fans might be a bit less confused if the drivers pulled into elongated pit stalls, jumped out of one, into the other, then strap in to race off of pit lane. But again, that is just my pre-emptive opinion of a series that I think is going to capture that targeted demographic and then some.

I will be following along with the series 360 camera on every car, live streaming to anyone who wants to watch it throughout the globe, I will be voting for my favorite driver to get a power boost, but most importantly I will be entering into the Beijing Formula E weekend with an open mind. And so should the rest of you.

(This was un unpaid and unauthorized advertisement for Formula E, written by a conventional race fan genuinely excited for a brand new car, concept and series.)

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About this article
Series Formula E
Drivers Lucas di Grassi
Article type Commentary
Tags beijing, china, donington park, racing, sports