Time was once a brand new motorsport series would announce itself in an exceedingly blaze of fireworks, tyre smoke and over seemingly some underclothed women. This morning at Bloomberg, within the heart of town of London, Formula E launched with a stirring, statistic-laden address from a combine of monetary analysts. Eh?
Don’t panic. It ought to still be fun. Formula E, as you almost certainly recognize, is that the all-new all-electric single-seater series, due for lift-off in capital of Red China next Sept, with races at the moment on street circuits around city, LA, Buenos Aires, Miami, and London, amongst others. 10 groups can field four cars every, shared between 2 drivers.
The automotive itself, that created its public debut in London this morning, is named the Spark-Renault SRT_01E (pictured above), and may be a game conceive to produce a full-blown advanced single-seater, that simply happens to use an electrical motor and batteries to power it. high speed is restricted to around 150mph, and 0-62mph takes three.0 seconds.
The partners concerned ar all extremely credible: Dallara has designed the carbon/aluminium chassis, the powertrain and transmission is equipped by McLaren’s physical science division, the 200kWH batteries ar from Williams F1, and also the consecutive shell is from Hewland. Renault is tasked with integration the entire ton, and also the tyres – treaded unrestricted jobs, on outstandingly giant 18in rims, with a far broader temperature operative vary – are specially developed by Michelin. TAG Heuer is one among the key sponsors, along side wireless school company Qualcomm. None of those organisations is probably going to waste time on a fiddling motor race series.
The impetus for Formula E came from the FIA, motorsport’s organisation, whose President Jean Todt has been banging on regarding it for years to anyone who’ll listen. however the person who’s very created it happen is European Alejandro Agag, a former politician turned businessperson United Nations agency was a chief mover in securing the tv rights for Formula One in European nation, helped broker Santander’s support of Scuderia Ferrari, and was till simply last week owner of GP2 squad Barwa Addax nasomaculatus, series champions in 2008 and runners-up in 2009.
Oh, he conjointly bought QPR along side Flavio Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and steel big businessman Hindu deity Mittal in 2007. honest to mention he’s socially connected. Agag insists that Formula E isn’t resolute steal F1’s lunch, and can truly complement the sport’s massive guns.
“We love F1,” he says, “but I keep in mind a couple of years agone lecture a significant potential sponsor United Nations agency wished into F1, United Nations agency complete it had been an incredible platform, however whose board demanded that where they went it had to be property. That’s after I thought, ‘we have a drag here’.”
Bernie Ecclestone, of course, remains sceptical regarding electrical athletics cars, primarily as a result of they’re simply not as visceral as even 2014’s slightly unsexed and new fuel-efficient crop of F1 cars. Agag smiles.
“Bernie is that the master!” he says. “I prefer to suppose that if he was doing Formula E, he’d mate the manner we tend to ar. i do know he’s sceptical, and that i recognize we’ve got challenges. Battery management are an enormous issue, and noise is additionally a problem. however i feel that the electrical associate degreegle and also the incontrovertible fact that we tend to ar athletics in cities is an irresistible USP.”
Agag conjointly is aware of that any new race series lives or dies on the standard of its athletics, regardless of the mobility or venue.
“Listen, i’m convinced the athletics are nice,” he says. “Why? as a result of the cars ar on exhausting tyres, constant rubber regardless of the weather. and also the circuits are slippery, as a result of they’re streets that won’t have had time to ‘rubber’ up. there’ll be uncountable opportunities for passing, for late braking, and it’ll be action-packed. Plus, the drivers can switch from one automotive to a different, once the primary one has run out of charge. i do know it’s moot, however TV very loves that part.”
Six of the ten groups have already been declared – together with Alain Prost’s ‘e-dams’ outfit and also the come of Super Aguri – with four additional because of be confirmed shortly. Agag says that another twenty five have tried to sign in, and each a significant automotive maker and a Hollywood champion ar among the names to be confirmed.
For year one, the cars are identical, with area for technical development at the moment. Team personnel is restricted to merely twelve individuals, and a season’s athletics ought to value no over just about £3m. Not cheap, however a small fraction of F1’s bill.
Formula E’s driver, 2008 GP2 winner and ex-Virgin F1 driver movie maker di Grassi, is because of run the automotive for the primary time in the week. He reckons that the series is really a combination of single-seater circuit athletics and WRC, and will eventually attract drivers from all motorsport disciplines. It appears like a definite quantity of driver improvisation may well be required.
“I’m excited by the prospect, not due to the car’s performance, however as a result of it’s a brand new challenge. That’s what motivates athletics drivers, the challenge of winning in one thing new. It’s why we tend to do things just like the Race of Champions, or karting events. we wish to win. i feel you’ll see top-line drivers doing this series aboard different athletics championships, and also the calendar lends itself to it. On those tyres, around street circuits, the cars ought to very slide, too.
“Maybe I’m too correctness,” he adds, “but it’ll be nice to provide one thing back.”
Which is wherever the analysts’ graphs are available. Agag and his partners reckon Formula E can pull within the next generation of race fans, and facilitate push electrical cars past the tipping purpose they’re presently poised at.
“It’s regarding perception,” he says. “We will facilitate modification that, athletics zero emission single-seaters in cities, and transfer governments, utilities corporations, and universities along to assist promote electrical cars. these items can’t simply be another, they have to be higher than combustion cars. i need Formula E to accelerate innovation.”
It’s daring stuff. Not simply motor athletics, and not simply amusement, however a real agent of social modification. What on earth would Bernie create of that?