Formula E: Why you’ll Love it!

The hot topic of controversy in Motorsport over the last few years, aside from the ever fan-annoying Halo device, is Formula E. Formula E describes itself as the worlds “Premier Electric Racing Series”, and probably has some of the most entertaining racing on offer. Here are 5 reasons as to why you will love Formula E, even if you are not a racing fan.

1 – Energy Management

Formula E is all about strategy, but not in the tyres sense. Formula E has the strategy of not including a traditional lap counter. Instead, races are 45 minutes + 1 lap long. After the 45 minutes is up, and the leader crosses the line, the last lap starts. This means that teams don’t know how many laps they are going to complete. If the race pace is exceptional, they may do (to pull a number out of the air) – 31 laps + the extra lap, whereas if the race pace is off, they may travel less distance. Drivers must manage their energy too on track. Do you go for that overtake and use that extra bit of energy your really don’t have, but save later or do you hold position and bring the car home but sacrifice championship position? All of these must be answered, and make for some very entertaining final laps.

On the subject of entertaining final laps, I am inclined to cite the third race this season – Santiago. Sam Bird was leading the way when the timer hit zero, with Pascal Werhlein close behind. Both drivers, however, had used so much energy battling that heading into the final lap, they had literal drippings of energy. Both of the drivers were able to narrowly bring their cars home, but it meant that Werhlein had to back off just to finish the race. It is battles like this that make watching the energy percentage counter slowly reduce worth your time!

2 – Attack Mode!

Attack Mode, also known as “Mario Kart Mode” is a designated area of the track off of the racing line that gives the driver a boost for a certain amount of time. This boost is essentially just more power output and is indicated by the Halo on the brand new Generation 2 car displaying a Blue LED strip for the duration of the mode. Every driver has to use this mode twice – so it is all about timing.

Usually, drivers practice getting this line just right in “Shake Down”, a free practice session the day before the race where drivers get minimum power in the car to practice things such as getting their Attack Mode activation spot on. It adds an extra sense of excitement into the madness.

3 – The Generation 2 Car

The Formula E “Gen 2” car is new for Season 5. It eliminates the need for the infamous Car Swaps present in the former days of Formula E. This car truly looks like a car from the future, showing that to make an amazing sounding – awesome looking car, you don’t need an engine that will blow your ears off. The quiet screech of the electric motor present in the Gen 2 is something you’d expect to be ripped straight out of “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Above all, the Generation 2 looks amazing. I say it looks like a large, professional go-kart from the midst of the year 3000. Whereas a Formula 1 car is determined to deliver the most complex air behind the car, making other cars unable to even get close, the Generation 2 does the exact opposite. Featuring no rear wing or complex aerodynamics, the Gen 2 allows for drivers to get close to each other and makes slight bumps as each goes by not uncommon. The car does have a Halo device, as due to new FIA regulations for single seaters, but Formula E utilises it amazingly, with the Halo looking integrated into the design and flow of the car. Above this, there are those LED lights that display different colours when a driver is in “Fan Boost” mode or “Attack Mode”.

4 – All on One Day

Formula E boasts that it has all of the racing on the same day. This means shorter – more compact racing, qualifying and practice sessions. Now, I am not one to enjoy watching short races – but Formula E has the perfect race length for what the series aims to bring. Whilst it aiming itself at younger more trendy audiences by involving figures like popular YouTubers such as WillNE or KSI can make the series seem a bit of a gimmick at times, with some really unnecessary bloat – the one-day racing is perfect.

Former Formula 1 World Champion, Nico Rosberg, takes the Gen 2 For a test spin.

Practice sessions are what you expect from practice, they are just practice. Teams need to tune their cars perfectly and drivers need to learn their lines, with each circuit not being so-called “proper” race tracks like Spa or Monza. Qualifying is also just what you want from qualifying. Though track time in these sessions is ultimately limited, it makes for some very entertaining qualifying sessions. Each driver only has pretty much one shot at their lap, with the top drivers going into what is known as the “Superpole Shootout”. Above this, pole position gets an extra 3 championship points.

I can’t recommend watching the E-Race though – it is on a literal mobile game and the coverage of the E-Race is not the best, it has to be said.

5 – Something to watch in F1 Off-Season

This is probably the safest of the 5, but Formula E is something to watch when F1 isn’t on – or when you can’t watch F1 because Sky’s prices are extremely high. Formula E is free to air, found both online and on the BBC Red Button – which makes it pretty good to watch when you are unable to watch any other motorsport. Some motorsport is better than none!

Conclusion

In conclusion, should you watch Formula E? Yes, yes and yes. It is a great series and history is writing itself as we speak in the series. Being so young, there is so much development going on, and with many fans not happy with F1, you can’t really go wrong with Formula E.

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