If you look back just a couple of years, many people were sceptical of plans to bring an electric motor sport to the mass-market. However Formula E is now ready to go, with Berlin now confirmed as the 10th race for the 2014/15 Championship. This has been something of a hard slog for the organisers although there are high hopes for the Championship which will have a very different format to F1.
The 10 venues are Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aries, London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Putrajaya and Rio de Janeiro. So what format will the Championship take?
No technological advantage
The inaugural 2014/15 Formula E series will see all 10 teams using the same technology in the same vehicles. There will be no advantage from the basic engine, chassis, and control system and with a €2.5 million budget cap per team there is not an awful lot they can do to jump ahead of their competitors. There may be some difference with regards to practice time, small tweaks to the structure, and other changes they could make which might eventually mean the difference between winning and losing.
When you appreciate that names like McLaren have put their name to Formula E perhaps it is now time to put away that sceptic hat and become a little more optimistic for the future?
Sponsors and suppliers
As we touched on above, McLaren is providing the engine for the Formula E cars, although the likes of Renault, Michelin and Dallara will also play their part. We also have names like Tag Heuer adding their name to the sponsorship list which not only offers a very interesting and useful income stream but will also ensure a continuous flow of publicity for the Championship.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There were rumours that Michelin was looking to get back into F1 just a couple of years ago but was beaten to the punch by Pirelli . However, the well known tyre manufacturer has been appointed official supplier for Formula E."
One interesting fact which emerged this week is that an IndyCar team, so far as yet unnamed, has stepped forward with an interest in joining the 2014/15 Championship. Aside from the fact this would bring the number of teams up to 10 for the inaugural year it would also ensure blanket coverage across the US for this relatively new sport.
There are a number of changes from the traditional Formula One format with qualifying and the actual race both occurring on the same day. It has also be confirmed that, due to battery capacity issuesm, each team will have two drivers who themselves will have two cars each. Each of the vehicles is capable of reaching speeds of up to 135 mph but they are unlikely to have the battery capacity to go beyond 25 minutes per stint. As a consequence, each driver will pull in after their first vehicle is nearing its journey capacity, jump into another vehicle and begin the second part of the race.
Perhaps the idea of having qualifying and race day on the same day is to keep the attention of the motoring public, motoring media and the crowds. It was also announced that even though we have yet to begin the inaugural 2014/15 Championship, 8 additional teams have stepped forward for the following year. Many are still sceptical about the future of Formula E but so far it appears to be all systems go although the proof, as always, will be in the pudding.