Let’s face it, Formula One is dying, if not dead. And it’s not just because the races are won over and over again by the same team, who has the fastest car. Put the entire grid in a silver arrow and things might be entirely different. In the meanwhile, however, a paradigm shift is in the pipelines, one after the other, almost every manufacturer across the globe has declared intent on getting on the Formula E grid. Mercedes have announced that they will ditch their DTM team at the end of the season and focus all their efforts (read: money) on Formula E. Jaguar, Renault and BMW already have teams on the grid. Porsche and Audi have both also declared that they will field a team soon. Even the Swedes have called in with Volvo’s (Now all electric) Polestar division has also shown some very very serious interest in the series.
This is not normal at all. Considering that the Formula E series is still a bit of a hot mess. There’s the fact that drivers have to change cars mid-race since the batteries won’t last through the race. Then there’s the Fan Boost, which really makes very little sense. The race itself is nowhere close to the sensory spectacle that is Formula One, you know with the roaring V8s eerrmm..turbo V6’s, smell of high-octane fuel and burning rubber and manic speeds. In contrast, the high pitched whirr of a Formula E car is bland, boring almost. The speeds are a shade of formula one speeds, frankly, if it wasn’t for the occasional electric car flying through the air, viewership would be dismal too.
Which begs the question as to why so many of the hottest names in the are making this switch to world’s quietest motorsport. Well there is for starters the fact that as of next year Mclaren will supply batteries capable of finishing the race in one car, which means we can say goodbye to the mid-race car change. Additionally, starting next season teams will be able to race using their own power units. Finally and probably paramount to the whole thing is the fact that EVs are the future and if history has taught us anything it’s that motorsport is at the core of all R&D. And compared to the soaring costs of LMP1 and Formula One, Formula E is pocket change.
There’s also the fact that as Formula E is focused on future relevant technologies, and that as time passes they are turning more and more legitimate. Like it or not Formula E is the future.We can expect Formula E to be just as crazy as Formula One was back in the day. Think Tyrrell P34, Elf’s six wheeled formula machine. Which means we get to re-live the golden years of Formula One with future relevant technologies. Which leaves us with the question, would you like your EVs R&D to filter through the prism of motorsport or would you have some characterless thing built in a pristine factory based on a rip-off of someone else’s (*cough* Tesla *cough*) plan?