News/ Industry/ Formula E | Not just a championship; it's a ladder toward the Future.

Formula E | Not just a championship; it's a ladder toward the Future.

With the recent uproar about the Round 4 of ABB FIA Formula E world Championship 2023 creating History in Hyderabad became the First International Race Event to take place on Indian soil after almost a decade. I was one of the first few drivers who got the opportunity to race and try our hands on this circuit, and the layout right away had all of us amazed. It has its technical and fast-flowing side. After that when I witnessed these Gen3 cars race on the same circuit that had me in awe at my first-ever ePrix. I was like a happy kid walking around the paddock, interacting with the crew & drivers trying to soak it all in one moment at a time. The level of competitiveness got me the most excited. After two days of pure racing here’s why I feel Formula E has a huge potential and scope for improvement in the coming Future. 

Formula E is in its 9th season with 16 rounds happening in major cities around the world. To constantly expand its base around the world, there are 4 significant cities added to the calendar: Hyderabad, Cape Town & Sao Paulo & Portland. With the upcoming Round 6 in Sao Paulo on 25th March and the first quarter season already in, the fight for the Championship title is coming out quite interesting to watch. I'm personally looking forward to the Round 9 Monaco Eprix, as it will be very intriguing to watch how the drivers make those tough overtakes around the famous circuit as it has proven to be a circuit which can make or break anyone's race in various series. 

Attending the ePrix, I noticed Formula E is attracting many curious spectators to witness the Gen3 cars racing through the streets of these cities. The futuristic car design, the unique format of the race, and the silent yet neck-to-neck racing action create the experience for the viewers more fascinating than any other racing series. Although I gotta admit there is a long way to go for the championship to convert the curious observers into diehard fans watching the series from all corners of the world. Many of the viewers are mainstream followers of their counterpart Formula 1. Formula E is in its bubble and it's nowhere trying to be like any other series, which can give them a strong hand in the coming future. But For the series to gain its fans, the series will need to market itself and create a closer connection with its fans globally. In my eyes, I would say go deep into the roots of each city the series goes to and create a lot more entertaining and engaging content, making the fans more included. 

Having Indian Teams like Mahindra Racing and TCS Jaguar Racing (Part of Tata Group) amongst a total of 11 teams with 2 cars and 2 drivers each brings not just me but every motorsport fan in India Immense joy and excitement to have representation in a World Championship and the Future of Motorsport. 

When I say Futuristic designs, the Gen3 cars are an evolution everyone who has been following Formula E since its inaugural season talks about. The cars are lighter, faster, efficient, and designed to handle extremely well on tight and narrow street circuits. Man, I know in my head I was already putting on my race gears and helmet, eagerly wanting to drive the car myself. It was tough! But I convinced myself, not today, but Yes! One day!! Back to the car, I feel that the battery range of completing the full race on one charge with more power is also making the on-track competition way more interesting than it was previously. From producing 200kW of power in the Gen1 car to bringing it up to 350kW with a top speed of 320 kmph in the Gen3 car it has come a long way. Interestingly the ATTACK MODE in the race allows the driver to have a temporary power output boost of 50kW to race harder but it comes with its own plot twist!! The driver needs to go off the racing line towards a slower line to engage the Attack Mode. Well, this gets me all giddy because who doesn't want some extra power to put up a strong fight on track? Saying that it also makes it more challenging cause a lot more work goes behind the strategy to use it wisely. Attack mode can be seen as a DRS in Formula 1 but with a tiny bit of twist. 

With major car manufacturers deeply involved in the championship, we can confidently say Formula E has made a commendable impact in the increase of Global EV sales over the years. 

On discussing the OEMs & governments' support across countries with a friend/fellow fan of the sport, “OEMs have always used racing as a fine means to market their brand and Formula E is the best product in the upcoming EV Space. Naturally, for many of the big names, their presence is essential. For governments, Formula E acts as an effective political tool to position a city as being tech-focused and eco-friendly, much like Hyderabad did for its inaugural ePrix. So long as this utility is provided, political support for the series will exist strongly and that is brilliant for their future.” Said Soumil Arora, Commentator & Presenter – Indian Racing League. With this, we can't say that one day Formula E will take over Formula 1, It's game-changing series in itself and it will climb up the ladder and spread its wings across the globe. Both championships have their own existing identities and they have their Future to work on. 

Currently, Formula E is the only Single Seater electric championship in the world. Especially after having conversations with the drivers about their experience in the Gen3 cars, I rest assured that these powerful yet silent electric machines are in for the long run. "With the rights to host an electric racing series solely with Formula E till 2038, we will eventually see drivers adopting to race in several junior electric series," Said Ananya - Founder of The Hairpin.co. All we can hope is with the upcoming “ACE Championship '' a feeder series to climb up the ladder towards Formula E is a success when it takes place and creates opportunities for us racers to have a smoother entry point to the incredible racing Formula E has in store for us.

Photo Credits: Ankit Sharma @man_made_machines & Akhil Puthiyedath

TopGear Magazine May 2024