Formula E, just like Formula 1 (F1), is an FIA backed auto racing series in which the cars are powered by only electric motor and batteries rather than an internal combustion engine or a hybrid drivetrain. The series was conceived in 2012. Its first season took place in 2014. So, it is a relatively new entry in the world of motorsport.
Unlike F1, Formula E takes place in temporary circuits in the city-centres. It allows the races to take place where F1 can’t go because generally they happen in permanent circuits that cost a few hundred million dollars to build. This can allow the series to win fans in different parts of the world where F1 can’t take place due to non-availability of circuits.
Furthermore, Formula E also allows fans to vote for the drivers before the start of every race. Three drivers who get the most votes get 100 kJ of extra power to use during the race. This feature, which is called “fanboost”, is meant to tap into the social media savvy audience. Since Formula E allows fans to make a decision that can have an impact on the result of the race, this can prompt them to engage with the races more often.
Additionally, as time passes by, people, in general, are becoming conscious of the negative effect of the gasoline-powered car to our environment such as noise and air pollution, which manifest in the form of smog. Trust me; no one wants to breathe toxic air. Therefore, Formula E will be able to appeal to this audience because the cars are all electric. This means that not only do they not burn fossil fuels which release carbon monoxide, but they are also quiet. Fans can watch the car race while creating minimum noise and air pollution which is good for our planet.
Moreover, car manufacturers such as Renault and Audi have also fielded their cars in the competition. Given their stature in the automotive industry, it would not come as a surprise for other major car brands to join them. Once they do, the money would start pouring into this series. This would allow more money to be spent on R&D to improve the cars. Furthermore, they can market themselves to a wider audience.
However, given all the advantages that Formula E has over Formula 1, it doesn’t mean that Formula 1 is going to die. Formula 1, which was backed by FIA in 1950, is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsports. Without any doubt, it is. Unlike Formula E cars that can only reach a paltry top speed of 140 MPH, Formula 1 cars even with their hybrid motors can reach speeds of around 230 MPH. Furthermore, they want to see serious racing which Formula E is not. Fanboost is a testament to it.
Plus, fans love to hear the noise of the engine roaring as the cars pass by them. This is what brings excitement and gives life to a race. From F1 2014 season in which hybrid motors began to be used in cars, most of the F1 felt disappointed and angry at the decision because it changed the dynamics of the sports. Rather than drivers racing it out, the sport is now more concerned with saving fuel which meant using smaller engines which create not a lot of noise, and hence not a lot of excitement. If the current F1 cars can’t satisfy this, what hope does Formula E has? Plus, it shows, that there are fans who simply want to see pure racing and not get into the complexity of saving fuel to reduce cost and global warming.
Therefore, it is safe to say that Formula E won’t replace Formula 1, at least in the foreseeable future because they target different audiences, just like Prius and Ferrari. Formula 1 will continue to attract viewers who want to watch fast cars with beautiful sound while Formula E is for the audience who would want to support racing that does not harm the environment.