Sunday, June 23

A New Era of Racing: Understanding the Appeal of Formula E

A New Era of Racing: Understanding the Appeal of Formula E

Formula E is still a relatively new racing series that earned a special status as a truly global world championship by motorsport’s governing body.

As the name suggests, Formula E is an all-electric, zero-emissions driving series. This electric racing series is a fast-paced series that is a must-see in the racing world. It might come as a surprise to learn this electric racing series dates back to 2011 and began in Paris. FIA president Jean Todt and Alejandro Aga were instrumental in putting the series together and pushing it forward.

Going Back In History

It might sound odd to say we’re going back in history for a racing series that only dates back to 2011. This electric racing series came about as the founders worked to find a way to offer racing with reduced carbon emissions to the world. Considering electric vehicles hadn’t caught on and weren’t offered with respectable driving ranges in 2011, this new series took a few years to catch on.

The early cars in this series utilized hybrid powertrains and advanced electric systems. Although the series began in 2011, it wasn’t until 2020 that it was recognized as a single-seater racing sport and is the only such series outside Formula One. The first season of Formula E was the 2014-2015 season.

Who Won the First Season?

Instead of complicating things further with a new scoring system, the electric racing series used the same points system as other FIA series. The first season’s winner was Nelson Piquet Jr. from Brazil. He won with 144 points, barely edging out Sebastien Buemi from Switzerland, who racked up 143 points.

Buemi would have his season win during the next season with 155 points. In the second season, the totals were once again close, with Lucas Di Grassi reaching 153 points.

Formula E Is Different

The all-electric driving is one aspect of this new racing series that makes it fun and exciting, but the similarities between cars are also interesting. Each car in this racing series shares the same chassis, battery, and tires. The powertrains are the only variable offered. Each team can have their choice of electric motor, which makes for some amazing racing. So far, only 12 teams of two cars each have been part of this new series, but as it grows in popularity, that could change quickly.

Racing Only Takes One Day

Unlike Formula One, all events that make up the Formula E racing event during a weekend take place in a single day. Practices begin with two sessions, the first lasting 45 minutes and the second 30 minutes. After practice, it’s time for the 12 teams to qualify for the posting on the race. The 24 cars are broken down into four groups of six drivers to determine the drivers’ positions during the race. The third phase of preparation is the Super Pole, where the six fastest drivers race for one lap to earn the pole position.

Once the three pre-race phases are complete, the races commence, consisting of 45 mines of driving plus one lap. The scoring system used in Formula E is exactly the same as Formula One, starting with 25 points for the winner, 18 points for second place, 15 points for third, all the way down to one point for 10th place. There are titles for the drivers and manufacturers; another way this racing series mirrors Formula One.

Fans Can Influence the Race

The software and technology used to allow electric cars to drive fast also enable this racing series to be a little more interactive. Fans can vote for their favorite drivers during the four days leading up to the race. The driver with the highest number of votes receives the FanBoost. This FanBoost is a five-second power surge during the second half of the race that can help rocket the car to the front of the pack.

Another Cool Racing Feature

The electric cars of Formula E can operate more like a video game than any other. For drivers that leave their racing lines and drive over Activation Zones, an Attack Mode is granted to them. This mode adds 35kW of boosted energy for more speed and power. Racing fans can see which cars are in Attack Mode by seeing the illuminated halo safety bar over the cockpit of the car.

Formula E racing is an exciting, fast-paced, zero-emissions racing series that has some fun twists and turns to it, making it a great sport for casual or ardent fans alike.

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