Friday, 19 April 2013

The race that could change the world

Motorsport has become cleaner, especially across Europe, with hybrids now fairly commonplace especially in sports car racing. But let’s be honest, it’s never really firmly grabbed the imagination.
Formula E could change the game. Due to launch next year in an 8-round series, this single seater concept could finally be a real answer to motorsport’s ‘green’ problem.
The man behind the series, Alejandro Agag, looks like a slick chap. He’s clearly got the right contacts and can make his mark politically. Plus Formula E is all about the green issue, promoting zero emissions, which is very much a current automotive industry focus.
The lack of emissions and engine sound also opens up a whole new world of potential circuits, with street races now a real possibility where traditional motorsport would not stand a chance.  A race in London is pencilled in for 2014 with the support of the legend that is Mayor Boris Johnson, with LA and Rome also included on the calendar.
Big brands are keen on the series too it seems, such as Michelin and Renault. The series also has some high profile series supporters.
It all sounds positive so far but in my view it needs other ingredients to work. It needs to capture a fan base and a TV audience. Without those two the sponsors won’t turn up and the investment will be lower. As we all know money rules, especially on four wheels.
An impressive TV deal is vital then, as is having some leading drivers to bring in an audience. It’s been mentioned, however, that the series should be focussing on advanced technology more so than good racing, but it’s my view that the two should run in parallel. If the racing proves dull, audiences will switch off, which would be a catalyst of failure.
Formula E is a step change in motorsport – but the fact it’s green doesn’t guarantee it will work.

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