Formula 1 may seem like the champion of all motorsport competitions, but a new challenger is looking to shorten the frontrunners lead. Formula E is an autosport competition in which all the cars are powered by electricity. Cleaner, quieter and more interactive than its well-known rival, the electrifying competition is becoming ever popular. But what separates it from Formula 1 and is it worth watching?
A new challenger
The inaugural FIA Formula E Championship was held in Beijing on the 13th September 2012, where 20 cars lined up on the starting grid. The road to Formula E being anything more than a concept was initiated by FIA President Jean Todt and turned in a global entertainment brand by the competition’s CEO Alejandro Agag.
What initially seemed like an ambitious project was given a boost by significant industry backers. World-leaders such as Williams, Michelin and Mclaren all saw the potential for the new form of motor racing. By the time the first ePrix was ready to roll familiar names like Prost, Piquet and Senna were behind the wheel racing for teams such as Audi Sport ABT, Renault, Virgin and Andretti. Even oscar-winning actor, Leonardo DiCaprio is a team owner.
What about the cars?
For the inaugural season all teams used the same car and powertrain, known as the Spark- Renault SRT 01E. Dallara designed the chassis while McLaren developed the electric motor. In subsequent seasons this has opened up, with seven manufacturers producing a new motor, invertor and gearbox solutions.
The average Formula E car isn’t as fast as its older Formula 1 brother, with a max speed of 225 km/h. It is no slow coach though and is capable of accelerating from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3 seconds.
Ever had a favourite racer you really wanted to win? Formula E puts that power into the hands of its viewers via a ‘fanboost’. In each race fans can vote for their favourite competitor via social media and the top three racers receive an extra 100 kJ of energy to be used during the race.
The sport’s popularity has been enhanced by its presence on social media, with drivers reaching out to their fans to inspire votes and a winning edge in the next race.
Social media isn’t the only innovation that is giving sports fans a whole new viewing experience. In partnership with Grabyo, Formula E shares near-live highlights of unmissable moments on track in seconds to it social followers.
Innovation in the sport doesn’t stop off the track. A Formula EJ creates customised electronic dance music for the series that compliments the race action and adds to a party atmosphere between sessions.
As domestic electric car technology advances, so does the technology of Formula E. What started as one type of racing car back in 2012 has expanded to a wide range, by a host of manufacturers. Similarly, the advancing technology of domestic electric cars has seen a sharp increase in their day-to-day use.
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