The Winning Formula
A Sustain Europe Exclusive
Race day at the 2016 Long Beach ePrix
Are you a motor racing fan? If so, are you happy with the current state of play? Maybe you are bored with the same, highly pampered, millionaire teams dominating the Formula One championship, year after year with tedious races...?
But more crucially, are you becoming increasingly concerned with Formula one’s enormous carbon footprint - and what it says about the motor industry’s commitment to CO2 emissions and climate change?
Are you, like us, becoming ever more frustrated by the major motor manufacturers’ feeble efforts to tackle head-on the issue of fossil fuels, along with their painfully slow efforts to bring new, alternative fuel models to market?
If so, don’t fret as there is an eco-friendly light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, we firmly believe the solution has already arrived. Over the past two and a half years, a quiet revolution has been taking place in the world of motor racing; and it’s time to pump up the volume.
With the arrival of the exciting world of Formula E, we have a brand new, all-embracing, sustainable clean air solution. A solution that provides racing fans with the greatest day of racing they have ever experienced – either trackside or on TV or social media.
What is Formula E?
Formula E is “the electric street racing championship with sustainable technology at its core.”
Breakneck speeds and not a combustion engine in sight
How did Formula E first start?
The FIA Formula E Championship is the world’s first all-electric motor racing series. It was originally the idea of FIA President, Jean Todt, back in 2012, who wanted the FIA to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility.
Then Alejandro Agag, the current the CEO of Formula E, took up the challenge and Formula E was born, having its inaugural race in Beijing in September 2014, with 10 teams and 20 electric racing cars on the grid.
Subsequent races were held in some of the world’s major cities, such as London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Mexico City, Las Vegas and Montreal. In the first season, 12 races were held in 11 cities; in season two, ten races were held in nine cities, and in the current season, 12 races are scheduled to be held in 11 cities.
Getting the project off the ground was no small feat, and it is thanks to a few enlightened industry stalwarts such as Williams, McLaren, Renault-Michelin, and Dallara, together with DHL, Qualcomm and TAG Heuer who all backed the project. Then along came teams such as Andretti, Audi Sport ABT, Renault and Virgin Racing who all helped to make the dream a reality.
If that wasn’t enough, with drivers of the calibre of Senna, Prost, and Piquet and with high profile team owners like Leonardo DiCaprio, the new venture was guaranteed an auspicious start.
On the podium at 2016’s London ePrix 2016 (L to R): Jean-Éric Vergne, Nicolas Prost, and Bruno Senna
But is it a success?
By any standards, Formula E took off to a flying start, in more ways than one. In the first season alone, 391,000 spectators watched the races live and more than 190 million fans in 100 countries watched on TV - thanks to sponsorship by media giants such as Fox Sports, ITV, and TV Asahi. And if you need any more proof of success, there was an unbelievable 4.7 billion “mentions” on social media – and that was just the first season!
In the driver’s seat; MS Amlin Andretti racer Robin Frijns gears up for victory
What makes Formula E so different from traditional car races?
1. First and foremost, the ethos of Formula E is to convince a sceptical world that sustainable energy is not only possible but essential for the future of our planet.
The research and continual development and refinement of the electric vehicles’ (EV’s) drivetrains have already accelerated the technological advances in the new EVs – cars which will soon find their way onto the highways and byways of the world’s roads.
The advent of Formula E will trigger a ‘snowball’ effect and finally break through the well-established industry “EV Barriers”. As the popularity of Formula E grows, the motor industry will be forced, (or shamed) into to playing catch-up. Car owners will demand it.
Let’s take a look at a few interesting facts:
Sooner or later, motor manufacturers will realise that a major investment in EVs is not only a viable way forward, but the only way forward. As the number of EVs on our roads gradually increases, we will exponentially reduce greenhouse gasses by millions of tonnes, and save billions of Euros in healthcare and other costs. Crucially, we can really start to achieve a measurable slowdown in the rate of global warming.
2. Formula E races are demonstrably more exciting than F1. Formula E cars have at least 250 HP of power, and EVs can provide full torque from a standing start, accelerating from 0-62 mph in 3 seconds. They have better weight distribution ratios than conventional cars which mean faster cornering and more opportunities for overtaking on the exciting city centre road circuits.
3. Although the points awarded for the top ten positions in each race follow the standard FIA model, additional points are awarded to the driver securing pole, (which is determined by a “super Pole Shootout” with the five quickest cars), along with extra points for the driver who sets the fastest lap. This makes qualifying much more exciting than in conventional racing.
4. Formula E uses the social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to promote FANBOOST. FanBoost is a unique fan/Formula E interaction concept. Fans can vote for their favourite driver for up to 12 days prior to, and for six minutes after, the start of the race to award their driver with an additional “power boost” during the race. This means that the teams - and especially the drivers - reach out to the fans and have a much closer social interaction with them than in conventional motorsports.
5. Formula E provides fans with video highlights of crucial action on the track - within seconds of it happening. 360-degree cameras and onboard cams give the fans amazing views and provide them with a thrilling interactive experience.
6. Formula E is more than just a motorsport – it is an all round, entertainment, and interactive
experience. Music is at the heart of the city-centre race days, with dedicated DJ’s providing great music around the track, and building up the suspense as the minutes and seconds are counted down towards chequered flag. Then there is the eVillage, where fans can meet the drivers, obtain autographs and get close to the podium ceremonies.
Headed in the right direction: Formula E epitomises the necessary move away from fossil fuels
Do you want the past or the future?
The plain truth is that old style Formula One belongs to an old-fashioned, uncaring fossil fuel-guzzling world. Their monolithic race circuits, located out of town, have vast car parks containing tens of thousands of cars on race days. The F1 carbon footprint is enormous.
Formula E is the future. Races take place in the heart of some of the greatest inner cities of the world, on temporary road tracks. And there is not a car park in sight. You either take public transport or you arrive by foot. Either way, it is a million times more eco-friendly than sitting in a long line of cars, waiting to park your car at a circuit car park.
Formula E brings a new type of motor racing to a new generation; a generation who cares about the environment and wants to save our planet for future generations.
In the short time that Formula E has been in existence, it has received incredible support from all sections of the world community: rich and poor, young and old. The young are flocking to races in their cities and major corporates have become willing sponsors.
The great visionary entrepreneur, Richard Branson, recently predicted that in four or five years from now, Formula E will overtake Formula One in popularity.
Formula E’s outreach is to those who are genuinely concerned about air quality issues and want to make life-changing decisions that will have a positive effect on our planet.
Formula E is part of that new life.
To get the latest on the all-Electric Street Racing Series, please visit the official FIA Formula E Championship website:
Sustain Europe talks to the CEO of Formula E about the future of mobility and why we all need to go electric
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