Firstly, I wanted to start by explaining the history of Formula E, and why it is relevant to the proposal in this book. The First all-electric 4 wheeled motor racing series, began racing in 2014, from the idea that was originally forged in 2011. The series did not have much hype or anticipation, in October 2014, partially due to the series starting on a completely unknown racetrack, in China.
I think some had the feeling of the A1GP round of China, in the 2006/2007 season, and the farce it produced. The speed of Formula E, was not exactly high, from testing, so many saw it as a joke, before it even began. But then, after a slightly dull first race, then came the most important moment in Formula E, which is the last corner, last lap, crash between Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost, for the lead, and subsequent win.
This spectacular crash, caught the attention of the motorsport world, and it was so memorable, people forgot the first 99% of the race, and remembered this single moment.
It gave Formula E its own little fanbase, who would tune in for subsequent rounds, including myself. What viewers saw, was the racing getting better, with every round that passed by, up to the crazy round 4 at Buenos Aires, which proved Formula E could be very entertaining, even if it were slow.
The cars of Formula E, have always been remarkable, for being very technologically innovative, but for also being quite slow. For many, this is a massive issue with these cars.
The first generation of cars used up until the end of the 2017/2018 season, were considered to be slower than a Formula 3 car, or maybe even a Formula 4 car. That is the big issue for motorsport purists, because most of us love to watch cars at high speed, flirt with the limit of grip and safety.
What Formula E offered instead, was good racing, and unpredictability, and did not have enough races, to really overexpose the racing series. Many great and unpredictable races, as well as great Championship battles, going down to the wire in all 3, of the first 3 Formula E seasons, kept the series entertaining. This was before the series moved onto the 2nd generation of cars, beginning in the 2018/2019 Championship season.
The cars now quicker, but for many, still too slow. For an example, the fastest lap on the New York circuit was 3 seconds per lap faster, with the 2nd Generation cars, compared to the previous season, of Formula E racing. However many would argue, a Formula 1 car, would likely be, still 15 seconds faster than that. Some even arguing, that a Formula 3 car, would still be faster than the new generation of Formula E cars.
Fortunately, the entertainment of the series, did not end with the first generation of cars. The series continues to produce entertaining racing and unpredictability, that you could argue Formula 1 is currently lacking, in recent years.
Investment from manufacturers, into this motor racing series, has taken this small championship, struggling to survive at various points through to 2016, suddenly be considered a possible world championship. Some believing the series to be the future replacement, to Formula 1, as the pinnacle of motorsport. Road cars, are slowly transitioning more to an electric power unit, over an internal combustion engine.
The good marketing appeal, and the research and development the series allow car manufacturers to obtain, has made Formula E a good investment, for the motoring industry, at least before 2020.
So, the first five seasons of Formula E saw a slow, low funded, racing series that could have great racing, turned into a slightly faster, much higher funded racing series, that could have great racing. However, the biggest problem for Formula E, has always been public appeal. Not enough people are watching the Championship, and Formula E has been making financial losses, nearly every year, since the series began.
Formula E will have to address this issue, at some point, for manufacturers to continue to invest in the series, for the present, and not just potential. But Season 6 has changed Formula E forever, even before the Coronavirus situation, turned into a global pandemic.
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