Formula E: Electric Racing

Oct 19, 2014

Formula E is a new single-seater racing championship and also one of the most unique. It is the first ever racing series where all the cars in the race are fully electric and therefore eco- friendly. It is not only a revolutionary event in motor racing but also in the entire automotive industry.

Formula E differs from Formula 1 in several ways: for starters, here all the cars are either identical or very similar as they share the same manufacturer. This would gradually change as more manufacturers enter the field of Formula E. The car used is the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.

Secondly, each team has 4 cars, two for each driver. This is because the cars run on electric battery. The battery does not have the power to last an entire race and would ideally need around two hours of charging time in between a race. Therefore the pit stops here are different from the conventional pit stops. Here, midway during the race, the driver parks one car in the pit and gets into another and carries on with the race.

As all the cars are nearly identical, the races are tests of the drivers’ skill. Another interesting concept introduced by the FIA Formula E Championship is the FanBoost system wherein the viewers vote for their favourite drivers before the race. The three drivers with the most votes get one five second boost each during the race where the power of their car is temporarily increased from 202.5bhp to 243 bhp.

The top speed of the zero emission Spark-Renault SRT_01E is 225 km/h, which is not unimpressive for an electric car. It gives out zero emmissions andthe cars can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.
For the inaugural season, there are 10 teams, each with 2 drivers each. There are 20 drivers in total, 18 male, 2 female. There will be ten races in the inaugural season. The opening race was held in Beijing on the 13th of September, 2014. The winner of the race was Brazilian Lucas di Grassi of Audi Sport ABT, however, that could, and probably would, have turned out differently if not for the horrific crash at the last corner of the race which took the two front-runners, Nick Heidfield of Venturi Grand Prix and Nicolas Prost of e.dams Renault out of the picture. Miraculously no one was hurt , proving the safety of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E. Indian Karun Chandok of Mahindra Racing placed fifth.

The start has been met with a hesitant response: expectations simultaneously soaring, and also refusing to take off. The ambigous reaction cannot hide the fact this is the biggest event in racing in a very long time; and might pave the way for a middle ground between motor sport lovers and environmentalists. Fanboosts, female drivers, identical cars: this comprehensive reinvention of racing promises to be anything but dull!

Photo Credits: Francois Flamand/DPPI

References: Wikipedia, www.fiaformulae.com, digitaltrends.com

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