Formula E completes two full event simulations at Donington Park
Formula E cars at Donington Park
Posted By: Editor   |  13 Aug 2014   |  3:17 pm GMT  |  147 comments

The new zero emissions world championship Formula E has completed two full event simulations at Donington Park as preparations for the series’ first race in Beijing on 13 September ramp up.

Organisers built a temporary pitlane and pitboxes at the Leicestershire circuit to mirror the set up which will be required at street circuits in locations such as London, Miami and Monte Carlo during the course of the season.

During the second simulation, the 10 teams ran all four of their cars for the first time with the two non-qualifying sessions (practice), qualifying and endurance test (race) all completed as per the expected schedule on race day.

In doing so, drivers were given the opportunity to try out the championship’s unique mid-race car swap during the pit stops and a full standing start.

Organisers say they encountered a number of problems, but CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag said he was generally pleased with how things went.

“Putting on a major sporting event in the heart of cities around the world is a massive undertaking and requires careful preparation,” said Agag.

“We want the Formula E Beijing ePrix to a fantastic spectacle, which is why we’re leaving nothing to chance by rigorously testing all the systems beforehand. Overall we’re very pleased with how things went.”

The race day timetable of the event – which all takes place on one day – was also announced. There will be two non-qualifying sessions in the morning, lasting 45 minutes and 30 minutes respectively.

Qualifying will follow with drivers being split into four groups of five with the order selected at random. The race will last approximately 60 minutes, with the number of laps decided on the day.

The final pre-season test takes place on 19 August at Donington Park, with free admission to the public.

There are a host of ex-F1 drivers in the field including Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Karun Chandhok, Takuma Sato and Nick Heidfeld. Meanwhile, four times world champion Alain Prost is co-owner of the e.dams Renault team with his son Nicolas and Buemi driving his cars.

Formula E also announced the latest in a number of initiatives to increase interaction with the championship’s fans. Gamers can now experience the virtual thrill of driving the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car in Forza Motorsport 5, which is available on Xbox One.

It’s available as a free download and marks the first time in video game history that a fully-electric single-seater has been featured as a playable car on a home entertainment system.

You will be able to race the car around iconic tracks around the world including the streets of Long Beach, which will host a race on 4 April 2015.

Other initiatives include allowing fans to vote for their favourite driver to receive a ‘speed burst’ during the real race and at selected Formula E races, such as the Long Beach ePrix, free admission will be offered.

FIA Formula E Championship 2014/15

September 13 – Beijing, China
November 22 – Putrajaya, Malaysia
December 13 – Punta del Este, Uruguay

January 10 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 14 – TBA
March 14 – Miami, USA
April 4 – Long Beach, USA
May 9 – Monaco, Monte Carlo
May 30 – Berlin, Germany
June 27 – London, UK

Featured Innovation
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Was really looking forward to this until I found out about the speed boost thing. The line between sport and reality TV doesn't need blurring.

I don't want to seem too negative and I've no idea what the alternative would be but I find the pit stops totally bizarre.

I'm a long time motorsport fan but I won't be bothering with Formula E for the time being.


Alternative for such pitstops could be replaceable battery pack, just put a trolley under the car, pull it out and push another one in 🙂


I believe this was considered, but not pursued for safety reasons. The car swap is intended to be just temporarily (until full race lengths are possible without a swap), so they did not see the need to pursue risky battery swaps.


Well, apparently, according to the video, it will be 'amazing'!

But that 'boost' business is bloody bonkers.

Having said that, I will be watching.


When Lewis is racing FE, promise you won't ever vote for him.

Thank you.


'Speed Boost' for favourite driver? This is a joke right? Really? Was this somehow Bernie's idea?

At least I know now what I won't be watching at all, at any point. This sort of madness really does have that much of a negative effect on the 'sports' I chose to spend my valuable time watching. I'll stick with Tennis and F1 thanks (at least until F1 gets this crazy and then I'll be left with jus Tennis).


Ah dman it...type-o screwed it up. Wind not wing beneath...folded under the pressure of a Lewis punch line. He's too powerful for me.


Come on Wayne, don't knock it till you've tried it! Finally, we can all show Nick he's the most popular dude ever.

...and oh yeah, when Lewis is punted to the kerb out of F1 by lack of championships since his 2007 lucky strike, he'll go to Formula E and finally all of you will have an outlet for your clicks! Your Lewis love won't go unnoticed, as he will get the Speed Boost at every ePrix! Just imagine, Lewis will finally run on you! It won't be a Speed Boost, it will be will all be the wing beneath Lewis' wings.

You know I speak the truth, and your messages of agreement are appreciated in advance.


It's free! To even go? Match that F1!

Can't beat it.

Can't even complain about engine sound. There is no engine, only a motor. So this is a real motorsport and we've been watching enginesport?


Not free, as in TANSTAAFL. Somebody is paying for it.

Free to spectators, as in whoever is paying for it doesn't think they could sell tickets (at least in the first season) on merit. They probably plan to try selling tickets later. "You can't raise the price on a piece of business you don't have."


they both creat locomotion so are motors with the electric version called electric motor.


@Albert Palmer,

I have to say, they look very spaceshipy. I totally want to double up my Galaxian and shoot these things down as they are coming at me in this photo.

Is it better to look like a spaceship rather than to have a penile implant F1 nose? I believe the answer is unequivocal YES! Bring on the silent spaceships!


Agreed! I really like the look of the cars - no weird front noses or tiny rear wings. Win!


Cant knock em for trying something new and relevant

The F1 traditionalists, purists and aficionados might turn their noses up but every substitute/ disruptor almost always started out as a gimmick or mere curiosity.

Next thing you know they'll be winning the media and social network war and F1 will seem ancient.

We shall see


F1 IS ancient!

FE won’t ‘win’ the media war . . .

F1 will simply lose it by not adopting current communication tech.

As for ‘gimmicks’ FE’s biggest draw will be city street racing.

I have a gut feeling they’re going to strike lucky.


hi james,

I cant wait to see what a mess this racing will become when , fans can determine boost levels of their fav driver.

is this meant to be real racing or some 3d video game thing?

oh bring back the v10s and open up the formula, to achieve real innovation, a bit like the good ole days, circa the nineties.


Geoff from SA


Good! also, ban the safety belts, the run off areas, let the people get 3 feets away from the track, yay! all in the name of the thrills! Come on, Geoff, F1 isn't about roaring engines, is about cutting edge technology! have you ever thinked about this "noiseless slow cars" are ONLY 8 seconds adrift from 2003, yet, they have half of displacement, much less than a half of the fuel consumption, probably a third of the aero downforce, are WAY more road relevant, and you still long for thos beatiful dinosaurs? don't get me wrong here, i love them too, but i'm aware of the times we're living, think about this: how many V10 do you see in the street, and how many hybrid cars do you see on the streets? let the gas guzzlers to the USA, and the rest of the world to pursue the very best in engineering and technology...

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

The speed boost only gives 1 driver a boost for 2.5s. In reality it won't make a shred of difference, especially given the street circuit nature of the track.


Then it's a gimmick, sends out all the wrong messages and is pointless - does more harm than good to the image of the 'sport'.


The fanboost formula needs to be tweaked.

I believe that the Driver of the Day - voted by the fans - deserves a boost for the next race.


Why on earth would anyone launch such an interesting new racing series, and immediately destroy it by turning it into a 'vote-for-your-favorite' reality show?

Do you really want to watch a racing series where the best driver is constantly up-staged by 'the pretty boy' that the girls love? Seriously?

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

The boost won't make much of a difference really. A 2.5s boost for 1 driver, who can use it once across a race? You'll barely notice it.


Honestly you guys, this 2.5s one time boost is way more awesome than DRS. That DRS is ever present, while a driver will have only 1 shot with the Boost and will make for an all or nothing effort.

I bet you right now that if it was put to F1 fans to vote for either:

A) DRS as it is

B) One time Fan voted boost for a drive that is 2.5s and one time only

Please, all of you feel free to tell me which one wins, and which one is more "pure". Don't worry, I already know the result. This is an A/B question, C your way out of it if you don't like the two options. Don't come with your own C option.


It's the principle. It's simply wrong.

It's an idea that would make any sport lose its credibility. Darts for instance, would that be taken seriously if viewers could dial in from home so they could temporarily make the treble 20 10% bigger for their favourite player?

Formula E has so much going for it. I think the cars look and even sound (!) great. It's green, has great locations, and a host of decent and familiar drivers. The fan boost thing is a terrible idea, and in my mind it's far more damaging than it is beneficial.


2.5 seconds, in a power-dependent street circuit (as they will all be, since there are few - if any - high-speed corners)? That's more than you need to take you half-way down the main straight. It's a BIG boost.

People think KERS makes F1 artificial, but at least it's quite indiscriminate: if you're close enough, you can use it, whoever you are.

A half-way decent driver with a good media image can get a near-permanent advantage thanks to this rule. Cue TV ad: "C'mon guys, let's help our [insert name here] catch [name of better driver]! Vote now!".

For the good of this formula, I hope the plan is ditched as soon as possible.

All that said... if we're going to vote in motorsport, I wouldn't mind being able to vote OFF [pay] drivers in F1.


Indeed, I'm in full agreement. I'll pass on taking this seriously until they get rid of the "speed burst".


Hi James,

Are there any details of TV coverage agreed for the series? It would be great to see this on Sky in the UK....


And the rest of the world's coverage?


Announced so far: Fox, Canal+, TV Asahi and CCTV-5.


It's been picked up by a whole variety of TV channels across the world. Info can be found at:


Even better to see it on a free channel.

People might follow established F1 to Sky (I didn't, but others did) but I cant see them signing up to Sky for an all-new venture.


It's on ITV 4 in UK I believe


Great it's on free to air, but I can't help but think if Sky got behind it and really pushed it on their dedicated F1 channel this would do much more for the profile of the series than having it on ITV4, where it will probably get very little coverage and PR other than the races themselves. May well fade into obscurity.


Thanks Jameds ITV.

Why anyone would want SKy is beyonf me, they are the reason we do not see many GP's in UK live.


It is indeed James. ITV4 have been advertising it for a while now.


In my view this championship will be a complete failure because as I see it does not find solutions to problems with Electric cars. Having spare cars because every chassis requires money, time and effort to build as do all the electrical components. Swapping cars does not promote efficiency in fact it suggests that technology needs to be worked on further. This is why the likes of Jeremy Clarkson don't really see electric cars as replacement for petrol/diesel powered car because it is problematic and lacks practicality if you wanted to do long distance trips. Also the rule that says lap numbers would decided on the day sounds silly . Why not just simplify the and say all races will last approximately.

Also have a that says should the time limit expire after the leader started another they will be able to complete the lap and finish the race on that as will other cars.

Also splitting cars into groups would surely spoil the qualifying spectacle and make it confusing - they should use an F1 style knockout system.

Also if the I hear the top speeds are no better than some hot hatches which is embarrassing.

There is a lot of faster machinery as compared to a Formula E car - even touring cars.

This series is just one big gimmick.


You have that wrong - Jeremy Clarkson IS against electrics, but only because he believes hydrogen powered cars are more practical in the long run. What Top Gear has been saying for a while now is that they WISH alternative fuel vehicles would hurry up and become practical, as that will save more petrol for those that want to use cars as a hobby, enthusiasm, racing fix, etc. All the non-commuting, non-school run type uses. That is something I totally agree with - basic needs can easily be driven to alternative fuel uses, saving precious petrol for, say, Sunday speed days.


the first hydrogen fuel cell was made in 1838. why do you think it's taking so long to bring them to market? there are fork lifts and busses running on hydrogen fuel cells and none of the hydrogen fuel cell companies have made a profit yet! I wonder why that is. on the other hand 3million Toyota priuses were sold in 2013 alone.


You miss the point - it is initiatives such as these that develop the technology. Imagine what we would be driving on the road if there was no motorsport. In years to come electric (or other alternative power) will be as practical and efficient as we need it to be, but it is very early days - they've got to start somewhere.


@kenneth chapman, turbo chargers are not new but exhaust driven generators are new.


@ aveli.....exhaust driven devices for providing additional energy are not new as the turbocharging principle was originally devised by 'benz & diesel just prior to the turn of the 20th century with the first fully designed car being built in 1910 !


@kenneth chapman, harvesting energy from braking and exhaust to be used later is new.

kenneth chapman

@ adam.....imagine what we would be driving on the road if there was no motorsport? yes, we'd be driving exactly what we are currently driving. just as an 1964 i served as 4th engineer on a british flagged refrigerator ship owned by the united fruit company of new york. the ship, the TE sulaco was a turbo electric vessel with engines built by general electric in 1937/38. the engines were static turbines that drove alternators to create electr,icity that in turn drove huge electric motors with rotors driving the prop shaft. all this in 1938 so that should be a reminder that 'hybrid energy systems are nothing new at all.


We're a two car family. We've got a trad car with an engine for the long runs and an electric car (Nissan Leaf) for everything else. It's surprisingly how little fuel we're using. I think I spent £60 on fuel last month and nearly half of that was for the lawnmower.

People have this mental block about electric cars, some sort of ingrained 'they'll never work' mindset, but they're already great. There must be millions of people like me who do most of their motoring close to home; the school run, groceries, and whatnot, and they're just not open to the idea of switching to an EV. That's a shame in my mind, and the bigoted opinions of Clarkson and his ilk aren't really helping.


you forgot to count the cost of the electricity.

Alastair Purves

I like the idea of cars like the Leaf but can't help wondering what would happen on a cold ,wet winter morning. When lights,heater, wipers, and demister(not to mention heated rear window) are all needed. What happens to performance and range then?


The deal breaker for me and most other people is cost. The upfront cost is higher for an EV (see a Leaf vs an equivalent, say Vauxhall Astra) and when you factor in the cost of the battery lease over the life of the car, it is marginal on running costs and more expensive overall. I am hopeful that in years to come these costs will abate - FE and hybrid F1will help produce the technology to make an EV more appealing to my wallet!


Jeremy Clarkson is yet another old man who is afraid of change! Electric cars may not be the future as you say... but Internal Combustion engines are certainly not going to be either! I can bet you on that! 😛


I'll take your money. hybrid runs internal combustion engines alongside an electric motor. that's the future. not stand alone electric motors nor fuel cells.


In fairness, he thinks the P1 is pretty awesome. Yes, that's a hybrid - but the P1 electric motor powers the Formula E racing car.Ergo, Clarkson may soon change his mind.


If a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound ?

I guess nobody at Donny heard anything other than the Crows in the adjacent farmlers fields.



will you see the tree falling?


Go see the videos at the Formula E youtube channel. An Electric Motor is in fact a Motor! And since it is a racing one, it does high RPMs and emits a noise! Not as loud as F1 but it sounded good!


No, but the person it just fell on might 😉


I mean Farmers Field 😉


You'll find more details on what happened on the first day - including who took the "podium positions" - here ( Apparently a Renault took pole and the "race win" on the second event simulation.


In that article is a link to the generators that will supply the electricity for charging the cars. The special fuel is touted as having very low emissions. I see this as a preemptive move to address the pollution that would go against the "green racing" theme if diesel were used.

Any reader out there know if this fuel is readily available or will it have to be flown or trucked in?


they are not telling the truth. there will be more pollution if generators are used to charge the batteries than if internal combustion engined cars burnt the same amount of fuel racing. they certainly haven't thought it through enough.


Without commenting on whether the Speed Boost concept is a good idea or not one thing I do know is that it'll be a challenge to pull off. I work all day with social media data including when it's used in competition mechanics. Bottom line it gets gamed a lot and it's very easy to do, with over 23Million bots on Twitter they are going to need some pretty fancy tech to prevent cheating.


It has


The swapping car rules suggests the cars are not efficient.? Isn't the point of full electric cars is that it is more efficient than a petrol / diesel or hybrid cars whether it be related to road use or racing? That is why I am so confused by this series.


In the first season it will be a spec series, which each driver requiring 2 cars to finish the 60min race. It is hoped that once the manufactueres come in from 2016 onwards, they will develop the battery technology so the cars can go faster and last longer. This technology can then be used in road cars.


do you think formula e will last that long?


yea i agree with this...

Swapping cars at any point in the race should'nt happen imho. Its suggesting its a throw away technology. They need to remove the car swap part and find a better alternative.

Car swapping might also reflect badly on the way people identify with the (series). Who would want to buy an electric car if they have to buy 2 just to get by in life.

I like motorsport so like the A1 GP i'll give it a chance.


It suggests no such thing!

An electric motor is far more efficient at converting the chemical energy in a battery into motion than an internal combustion engine is at converting the chemical energy in a fuel tank into motion.

What it does reflect is that there's a lot more stored chemical energy in petrol than there is in electrolyte. I don't know what chemistries are used in FE batteries, but by weight there's ~60 times as much energy in petrol as the best Lithium-polymer designs, and ~30 times as much as the best Lithium-Sulphur designs. With a battery/capacitor bank limited to 200kg, the FE cars simply carry much less usable energy than traditional petrol powered race cars. Based on even the most energy-dense battery chemistries, they probably carry only ~5% as much usable energy as an F1 car (with its 100kg of petrol,) so if anything they're far more efficient.


are you serious? how is that electrical energy made? formula e intend to use generators to charge the batteries on site and you seriously think the electric motors are more efficient? start with the same amount of fuel and the internal combustion racers will be a lot more efficient than electric motor racers.


what's this "vote-for-your-favorite" or "speed boost thing" about? Could someone help me


As I understand it: Choose your favourite driver, vote for them, and then the one with the most votes gets a boost (kind of like having KERS for a couple seconds).

It's a gimmick that doesn't seem to be very popular with traditional fans (including myself), but since F-E is a new series that is trying to target a new younger audience it's reasonable if they try a new idea or two.



That was kind of my point (although you might have said it better).

I think it's good that they're trying new ideas (even if I don't like that particular one) and as I've said elsewhere I'll give it a fair go.


You are probably aware that the ‘golden age’ of motoring has long since gone. Thus ‘traditional’ motor racing must surely follow in its wake (slipstream?).

A ‘new younger audience’ is probably more interested in public transport – iContact with an iPad can be maintained without risking life or limb. F-E simply recognises this and is incorporating the screen-dependent lifestyle into its ethos.


It has always been my belief that there is no better reality tv than live sport.

The voting aspect turns it into even more of a farce than it is in the first place.


"Other initiatives include allowing fans to vote for their favourite driver to receive a ‘speed burst’ during the real race"

I actually had to check the date and check that it wasn't April 1st.

What an awful, awful idea… unless you want to undermine the sport before it's born, in which case, it's perfect.


I'm looking forward to this series to witness the capabilities of the cars and the strategies that will ensue with the new technology. I think this series will have more to offer with trickle down technology to everyday cars than F1. I wasn't a fan of electric cars until I drove a Tesla at 120mph. I have to agree the "Hunger Games" approach to fan favorites will sour the series.


Waste of money. And please don't give Bernie any ideas over this voting system.


Well it looks like the usual burst of negativity from 'everyone' so I want to chip in as The Silent Minority and say I remain open-minded and happily await how it goes. I am an F1 fan but am willing to ignore all I'm used to in F1 and accept this as a totally different style of racing. Why do all the F1 fans have to keep complaining, just because it's not like F1, because of this, and that...?

Give me a break.

Give it a break.


"Why do all the F1 fans have to keep complaining, just because it’s not like F1, because of this, and that…?"

So people no longer have the right to voice opinions unless they are positive? People are identifying genuine concerns with the what the series is being run. Nobody's said that they dislike aspects because "they're not like F1". Nobody's expecting this series to be anything *like* F1.

I, for one, was excited about this series, specifically because of the *differences* between it and F1. But as soon a they start talking about fan boosts, and "sound tracks to accompany the show", I lose interest.


Actually, having heard some of the soundtrack, it's pretty cool. Hard to describe, but it creates an entirely different atmosphere. Reminds me of apres ski. One big party.


Hear hear! +1


@Davexxx - I completely agree. Let us see what this new series is all about before giving up. Sure, there will be teething pains, that's to be expected.



Not saying I guarantee I'm going to love it, but I'll give it a go.


James, as you are giving this new series some good coverage will you be changing the name of your website? JA on F1/FE?

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

Having attended a couple of the test sessions already i've got to admit that I was blown away by the cars. Not only do they look fantastic (much better than the current F1 cars) but they sound brilliant, especially when they are following one another. They also produce a tremendous amount of torque and watching the drivers trying to control them is absolutely fantastic.

I spoke to a few guys in the pitlane at the last test and the message I kept on getting was 'this isn't about aero, it's about battery technology' and that really sums the sport up. A few of the guys even believe that once the manufacturers enter the sport in year 2, we may end up getting batteries that can do a whole race distance in 1 charge, although that of course depends on the rate of improvement in the technology.

I know that people might be put off by the fan boost idea, but it's only a 2.5s boost for 1 driver. It's really not going to make a huge difference, especially given the tight and twisty tracks we'll be racing on.

If anyone has the opportunity to attend the test next week, I'd highly recommend going. It's a fantastic experience and the drivers were very friendly during the pitlane tour.


Thanks Anil for your updates

I'm really excited about this series. I concur with some other comments here about seeing a new batch of drivers such as Legge, Michela Cerruti, Prost and so on.

It'll be interesting to see what technological improvements come in the next few years. I really don't buy into this nay saying/pessimism arguments of "it's not really zero emissions" "batteries are more unfriendly for the environment" and so on. They're all strawmen arguments. This really is a test bed in the first year, and we could see some really amazing developments in the not too distant future.

I imagine these sorts of arguments were made when Audi first introduced the R10-TDI at Le Mans. And now look how amazing, efficient and technology packed LMP cars are now. You even have Nissan running their ZEOD. (As an aside, it would be interesting to know if this series might have run the ZEOD had the development occurred a little earlier).


how is it zero emission when they will have polluting generators on site to charge the batteries?


Thanks for the reply!

I do think this series will turn some heads, especially with how fan focused it is. The free race at Long Beach will get a big attendance I'm sure, beating many Formula 1 races. It may be the wake up call motorsport needs.


so will "single charge" cars be competing against "mid race change" cars. do the rules cater for this?


At the mo, rules stipulate one car change during the race. But that may (probably will) change for the next season. It could throw up a great strategy play off - do you go for a battery that drains faster but have to pit stop, or one that will last the whole race but require a more measured speed?


The rules don't cater for that type of strategy at the moment simply because that type of technology is some way ahead. Let's just wait and see what types of manufacturers step forward for now.


Will the championship be featured in other video games or just Forza5? What about Project cars, Auto Club Revolution, Assetto Corsa, Rfactor2, Iracing, raceroom?

I dont see any value in owning an xboxone. Project cars looks good for a multiplatform game.

I hope they havent sold out by making it an Xbox exclusive. When you launch a racing series it helps to have a good video game along side it. A1GP and Indy cars never grew on me because there was no racing simulations that i could play to sustain my interest and grow my passion.


I can't see this being exclusive to Forza and Xbox. I thinkt he reason it's been announced for that platform is that Forza 5 is an active game, so it's a great chance to do some publicity. Hopefully we'll see the cars in other games.

And yes, Project CARS looks fantastic.


Please keep up the reports. What a great opportunity to have your insight. Thanks!


Formula E should run as a support race on the F1 calendar , then they could generate a fan base from existing motor sport fans rather than having the expense of their own venues. Sure if things go well it would be a route in the future but it's a big ask to get a whole new sport going in this economic climate, especially when the big draw is... Well what is the big draw...retired F1 drivers.


Disagree on driver draw. I'm more excited about the young guys who haven't had a chance in a top series yet (Antonio Felix da Costa, Sam Bird etc), plus current IndyCar winners (Mike Conway) and two female racers (including Katherine Legge, whose other job is driving the mad DeltaWing).


They want to run exclusively on street circuits to promote the use of electric cars in cities. That said, having seen the cars fly around Donington, I do wish we could see a race there...they look fantastic going down the turn 2-5 complex.


with generators burning fuel on the same streets?

Michael in Sydney

They say that with change comes opportunity. So let's all stay positive and support the new formula. Yes, the whole voting system looks flawed. To me it looks like an old conservative persons view of what would work in order to get younger people interested..... and make them some money at the same time. I think that concept is now, already, somewhat dated.

Bring forward the product and technology innovation that can filter down to road cars. That is the biggest draw card for Formula E. Not to mention to see so many ex-F1 drivers now gainfully employed. Electric cars need to be considered to be part of the future of motoring and we need racing to progress this concept and technology. Whilst there is a focus on top speed here, perhaps we need to have a formula that can focus on delivering longer and longer battery life.... That's the end game with electric cars, not only good looking supercars that exceed all of our speed limits for the masses.

I'll watch every race if I can.


electric cars are not as efficient as internal combustion engined cars let alone hybrid. they are not the future. why do you think there are so few electric cars on the road?


@james, i think if they made and sold a lot of them, the price will come down but they just can't make and sell enough as they are not as efficient and practical as cars as we know them. The electric car idea is simply a dream as far as efficiency is concerned.

Michael in Sydney

Of course they cost too much. What a pity that is. But with all modern technologies, as they get increasingly tested, they do become cheaper and better. Thinking forward ten or twenty years, I think we all realise that there is a need for more electric and hybrid cars on roads across the globe.

There simply needs to be different types of electric / hybrid cars for different applications. We can't all drive, or need to drive for that matter, Tesla's et al that well exceed speed limits.

There seems to be a dominating view that electric / hybrid technology cars just need to get faster and faster. I don't share that view. They need to be able to - one day - replace the ICE and perform the majority of simple tasks that cars across the globe really do day in, day out.

I can only hope that this is part of the total vision for Formula E and on that basis, I wholeheartedly support it.


Can't say yes and can't say no. Just hope a full race will be on you tube for viewing to get a feel of FE.


That would be good.

Considering they're offering free admission for some of the races it could be a good promotional move.


Something different, It he sound of the cars remind me of jet planes. I'm looking forward to it, James will it be broadcasted and by who?


Only about a month to go so let's see how it goes, year 2 and 3 will be the deciding ones if formula e has any staying power.


I am actually looking forward to it. All these ex-F1 drivers have given the series credibility. Senna and Prost are racing!

I also like the fact they are racing on street circuits. Monaco is in there and that pretty cool.

I hope the racing is close. I hope the opportunities to overtake are there. and that the cars are reliable.

I am a little dubious on the car swap idea however I understand that this will change as the technology improves.

Dont like the power boost idea and hopefully they'll drop that concept.

Make it accessible and make the racing fun! Let the cars and drivers be accessible and you will engage many.


Speed burst.. all it's missing is.. a princess, donkey kong, 2 italian plumbers and some turtle shells to really bring the racing element of, the competition to the fore.

Or how about a car sized hamster wheel in the pits, where a driver could go in and get a "supercharge" for 5 laps. Or some ramps, over water, cliffs, through burning hoops of fire.

But it is cool about the electric car formula finally coming, I'm really looking forward to it. Slightly concerned of the apparent need to stuff the competition with gimmicks.

Really as it's such a leap with new technology, i thought it would be a great opportunity to have a "back to basics" feel about the competition, to contrast the new technology with what we all love, no nonsense racing.


electric cars are not new technology. racing them is new but they've been around for a very long time. don't forget the electric milk floats.


James can you ever see time where F1 uses a turbo diesel hybrid power unit in the next 25-30 years?

Has anyone ever explored the possibility of using/building a diesel engine/power unit for Grand Prix racing?


These cars do not carry sufficient ENERGY to be able to complete a race distance, hence the need to replace the car half way through. Where is the extra ENERGY for a 2.5 second power boost going to come from? It can only be by depleting the quantity of ENERGY the car has on board - this would be like allowing a F1 driver extra 'boost' but not allowing the car to carry extra fuel to provide the boost - the result is either no extra boost, or a situation lick Ricciardo in Australia, or fuel saving later in the race - you cannot just get ENERGY from nowhere.


Reading up on the car specs reveals several limitations. Maximum power and boost levels are limited. Maximum speed is limited to 140 mph. Given the initial constraints, it seems the 2.5s of boost is easily achieved. As the technology matures and more control is given back to the teams for development I would hope these constraints are relaxed to allow for innovation. (My pessimistic side says the cost constraints will hamper this)


unless they are not allowed to use 100% of the energy onboard.


Disposable cars are so eco-friendly.


What aspect makes them disposable?


Honestly, so much whining!

This is a new motorsport category, with some great drivers, on some potentially great tracks, and with a fresh approach both technologically and operationally. It doesn't step on F1's toes, nor does it take anything away from other forms of motorsport - it's just something new.

Maybe we would have done things a different way, but honestly, can't we just be a little happy that there is yet another option (and on free-to-air TV at that) for us to take a look at and enjoy at least some of?!


is it really a zero emissions world championship? how is the electricity they use made without emmission?

looking good though.


All of the "innovations" Formula E is using may not appeal to all us old geezers and young snots who like Formula 1. Internal combustion engine racing probably doesn't appeal to the environmental crowd who are plunking down $100,000 for a Tesla and considerably less for other electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

While I may be skeptical of electric cars and bikes, the future is going to be determined by the young. Whether you believe in global warming or not we are going to see a massive shift away from the internal combustion engine.

How many of you remember the Rush song "Red Barchetta?" Written in 1980 it seemed so implausible then, not so much now. Enjoy...


ah Duffy...great song...and also a great short story "a nice morning drive" which inspired the song. The story was written in '73 during increasingly draconian US car safety law enforcement. Remember the big fat rubber bumpers on the MG which replaced the chrome ones?

And James...did Agag really call it an ePrix? Really? Just saying it make one sound like a complete and utter Prix! Formula E is plenty good enough without the fashionable and frankly idiotic mandatory crowbarring in of 'e' and 'i' on the front of every word surely?

Will give it a go on telly, but I'm with everyone else on the fanboy boost button. It makes as much sense as double points for the last F1 race.


electric cars will never make it in the world simply because they cannot make their own electricity.


@sticky piston, there is no factory which makes petrol in the world. petrol exists naturally, mixed with other fuels. they are simply separated at the refinery into the various fractions and used. electricity on the other hand requires the burning of a lot of fuel to make.

learn the law of conservation of energy and then understand that when energy is converted from one form to another, some of it is lost as heat, light or sound.

that's why electric cars are a simple dream. the only way electric cars will be more efficient than internal combustion engined cars is if the electricity they run on is made from solar energy.


Neither can petrol powered cars make petrol.


James do you think we'll see an F1 car in future with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell? Can f1 at least help to fast track the development of this technology so it can be used in road and racing cars perhaps sooner than people expect? Your views please.


we can find that out now. can we get more energy from burning hydrogen than the amount of energy needed to make hydrogen? unless hydrogen is readily available in the atmosphere, fuel cells have no future.


fuel cells will never make it onto the road because they use too much energy to get a small percentage of propulsion.

the current f1 hybrid is the most efficient.


@stephen Taylor, you're absolutely right about honda fcx clarity. the problem is electricity is used to make hydrogen. secondly it requires a lot of electrical energy to make enough hydrogen to run a city full of cars. a lot cheaper to refine petrol.

just look at the number of Toyota priuses there are in the world. many more internal combustion engined electric motor hybrids are being sold all over the world. many buses use the same hybrid engines because it makes sense, more efficient and practical. even super cars run the same hybrid engines. no one in their mind would spend a lot of money to get a lot less in return. doesn't make sense. toyota has realistic engineers that's why they are number one in the world. honda on the other hand are gamblers. energy is quantifiable and they have failed to measure how much energy is required to make hydrogen and how much energy is released when hydrogen burns. what I know for certain is that energy is lost every time it is converted from one form to another. is like currency exchange. why change your money from pounds to dollars and then back to pounds again, knowing full well that you lose money every time you change currencies?


One of the hurdles with fuel cell vehicles is the distribution network. It can be developed but that is a big expensive boulder to push up hill. The allure of electricity is the existing distribution network. Electricity has it's limitations with regard to range and energy density but it is a very good alternative for short haul transportation.


They (hydrogen fuel cells) have already been used in one road legal car called the Honda FCX Clarity . Question is can the likes of F1 promote and develop Hydrogen fuels cells so that road and racing cars that run on Hydrogen can be produced on a mass scale? We will find out in the future.


Finally some sense!

Batteries, no matter which type are old technology, proven by the car change mid-race and the 'zero emission' argument always manages forget the Powerstation generating the electricity!

Fuel cells would be interesting and forward thinking.


Good question, one to look into


I am interested in seeing a few races and see if its interesting. Does anyone know which channel will broadcast it in Canada?

Thank you James for bringing us some updates from time to time as most F1 blogs are determined to ignore this series.


Random 79 to answer your comment about my sentences my Ipad is very temperamental and does not allow me to edit in the middle of lines . I am only able to edit from the end of lines. The iPad is also very touch sensitive to the slightest movement and this can sometimes lead to me clicking the comment button by accident. I hope this clarifies things for you. I apologize to my fellow JA on f1 readers for previous comments I submitted when only half finished and I apologise to you James for the same reason.


All cool, but now I'm just confused:

You posted this comment about a day after the other one, and yet this one shows up before the other one.

What is going on???


I'm willing to give this a try. This first season is really about ironing out the problems.

I don't like the fan-vote for driver boost, but if it helps kick start new fans into this series, then maybe other forms of motorsport may benefit. Anyway, if they change rules, procedures, and politic half as much as in F1, there will be plenty of opportunities to make changes (mid-season even if!).

I also didn't realize they were running grooved tires. I like the look of the bigger wheels, but I'm not sure why they didn't stick to slicks. Is this an additional "road relevance" issue? Glad to see Michelin in on it though. I miss the tire wars in F1.

The car change isn't great as it takes away from pure driver skill - can you imagine loosing a podium because you tripped over a safety belt on the way out of the car (the races are too short to give this a Le Mans flair), but presumably that will disappear once the technology is developed to allow for longer runs and faster speeds. Exactly the kind of technological advancement that F1 is touted for.

I just wonder if we'll see a new, greener, but slightly older Trulli-train? Will Nick still be quick?


I have to say that i was already looking forward to this new series, and now the video on this page has made me even more excited about it. And not just because Nick Heidfeld!

Like every new sporting event, the first season will be a period of finding its feet, and the silly gimmicks will quickly evolve or be dropped - social media speed boost being an example.

Plus the cars sound brilliant.


Seriously, this e-boost thing is really just for a bit of fan interaction and comprises 0.03 % of total energy available in the race. The top three votee's will get 5 seconds at an extra 30kW (approx) of power input. It would only matter if the front two racers were separated by a hairs breadth. Quit your whining folks, the winner will not be decided by 5 seconds of extra juice, as this can be easily undone by fluffing an approach to a corner by 1/10th of a second. Just goes to show how petty some people are, and that if they can't be totally pleased by the decisions of a governing body they won't watch the sport. I for one am eager to get my bum in an electric car (Tesla Model 3) and can only see this as a good thing for the automotive industry.


I was in one for a week in LA recently and it was fantastic. Perfect car for that city where people do >100 miles a day of driving. Great drive and acceleration second to none, Internet, navigation, music etc were also very cool


Electric cars are viable and are here now. I don't know of any family that gets by on one car. An electric car as a daily driver with a reasonable commute length has no limitations. Use the petrol powered car for the Route 66 tour.

The dash on the Tesla is worth checking out. The 17 inch screen is very intuitive and not the distraction I envisioned. The design and human interface is well thought out and software upgrades are done through a cellular network.


No good for Route 66 then? For electric cars to be even remotely viable, they would need much increased range and also be able to be re-charged in a few minute. Ain't gonna happen!


Who won the simulation race then? Any coverage (other than the snippet in the Youtube vid)?


They have a winner here. This series may not take off this year or the next, but in ten years time. F1 will be media irrelevant. I agree the boost/vote is just crap. But I'm a Motorsport fan. Kids today aren't Motorsport fans, they like it if it's relevant on social media but move onto the next thing in the blink of an eye. They need more to keep them interested and this interaction that could possibly determine a race winner may just be enough........unfortunately.


have a look at the number of games which based around driving before deciding what kids like. these games are only successful because kids like them.


"There are a host of ex-F1 drivers in the field including Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Karun Chandhok, Takuma Sato and Nick Heidfeld."

Mr. James Allen, Takuma Sato is not a FE driver. You should have mentioned Bruno Senna instead.


I am surprised not to see Suzy Wolff either.


Well, surprisingly Takuma Sato is testing today in Donington! Maybe James Allen knew more than we knew when he mentioned Sato. Maybe he will race in China, as Félix da Costa will be competing in DTM on 13 September. I just don't know how can he race after that, as Da Costa and Legge have already signed a contract with Amlin Aguri. Sato would be a very good asset for FE but talking about Indy Car drivers i think Mike Conway is better. He will be racing for Dragon and has a very good record on street tracks, having won Monaco, Macau, Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto...


Maybe Suzy Wolff could do better than Katherine Legge or Michela Cerruti can do in FE. But unlike Bruno Senna she lacks the results to be in F1 on merit. Senna was a proven race winner in GP2 and could do the same in F1 if he had more similar conditions to those Damon Hill had. He was as talented as Hill and did better in junior series. He was not fairly treated in F1 but i hope things will be different now he is in FE. So i hope it was not intentionally that James Allen called him Takuma Sato...


the best illustration of the debacle that voting for drivers will be,

can be seen via the cartoons of gurmit flora. in particular this one at another website (sorry james)

the first one top left with some familiar looking faces running an xfactor type formula !

haven't stopped chuckling since I saw it.

cheers chaps, lay some rubber !


I don't think I'll be watching any Formula E. Fan Boost, two cars. Has gimmick-reality show written all over it. I know quite a few mid 20's folks. They've watched F1 for about 3-4 years and they prefer the sound of the last formula,a frenzied, screaming V8 Could be you're not giving new fans enough credit? The draw to any type of racing for new race fans is the noise and the speed. Speed without the noise would be boring. Living in the US having a totally electric car is kind of impractical. Yes they are great for people that don't have to drive much, live close to their job, store runs and the like. For longer runs the infrastructure for electric vehicles doesn't exist for the most part. You can't recharge in the time it takes to fill your tank, if you can find a charging station. Oil companies have invested billions in refineries, tank farms and most importantly, pipelines,.and customer outlets are everywhere. They won't give up the profits they make without a fight. Toyota Prius owners generally trade the car off before they have to replace the batteries due to the cost. Hybrid technology is dependable and practical at the same time, but long term repair costs will be higher due to the cost of batteries. Hybrids are very thrifty, that way you have less guilt about the "fun" car that burns fuel like a blast furnace.

Top Tags
SEARCH Innovation
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!