Formula E kicked off with a spectacular opening race of the first electric car series in Beijing. This post covers my personal highlights of the inaugural race.
The FIA’s new electric car racing championship has had an equal share of scepticism and excitement in the media and automotive industry over the last few months. However, Formula E’s recent debut in Beijing, on September 13, proved that all-electric vehicles may be different but still electrifying for motor sports fans. My personal highlights of the race:
It proved why it is worth investing in electric vehicle technology innovation
With batteries designed by Williams Advanced Engineering, electric powertrain and electronics by McLaren and tyres supplied by Michelin, the Formula E racing cars were constructed by Spark Racing using the same amazing Renault SRT. This car will be the same for all teams until the end of the initial season.
However, after the end of this initial season, Formula E will turn into an open championship which will enable all teams to build their own cars. Of all the highlights of the race, I can’t think of anything more powerful to motivate competition and further encourage advances and investments in electric vehicles technology given the commercial success of this first race which is likely to accelerate by the end of the season.
It was different
There were many differences between Formula E and Formula 1. The drivers swapped cars midway in order to finish the race and there were no pit stops as in Formula 1. It had a different sound, which I would like to describe as a modern, futuristic sound rather than silent as most people do. It was also interactive and more engaging for fans via the “fan boost”, which for the first time enabled us to vote in social media to give our favourite drivers an extra power boost. Although this has been widely criticised, I just wonder – how many of us use social media on a daily basis and wanted to share their thoughts on the race outcome on last Saturday?
Drivers who participated include familiar Formula 1 racers Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna, Clarles Pic, Sebastien Buemi and the big winner, Lucas di Grassi. I also really enjoyed seeing two women, Katherine Legge and Michela Cerruti, driving in the race. All athletes had excellent racing strategies which made us watching the twists and turns of the Formula E electric cars in the Beijing circuit with excitement.
But what has been most thrilling? Well to me it is definitely that the electric cars proved they have real racing performance power while showing their green credentials – which is exactly why I think that Formula E will have a bright future and will help to reinvent the future of automotive racing.
And a big but dangerous moment
Now, everyone who watched the race will certainly know that this refers to the massive car crash between Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld, which led Lucas di Grassi to victory. Although this gained a lot of media exposure, I wouldn’t personally add it in my highlights as it was a shocking and dangerous moment. However, it was great to see that the Formula E cars are very safe and capable to handle even the most extreme incidents.
In this post I’ve round up my take aways of the Formula E debut in Beijing. What’s your take on this? Feel free to share your thoughts with me on Twitter and Linkedin and tell me what you found most exciting and if you think the new, electric car automotive racing series has met expectations.