29 June 2015

FIA Formula-E - Round 10, London, 27th June 2015

In Formula-E's inaugural season, the last two rounds were held in Battersea Park in London. As an incredible opportunity to showcase green technology to a global audience, it was great to attend and experience the excitement first hand.  I attended on Saturday 27th June, for Round 10, the penultimate round, with everything still to play for.

For those skeptical about the potential lack of excitement of electric racing cars, or the ability for Battersea Park to successfully host the first piece of motor racing in the capital for 45 years, they need not have worried.

The cars

Each of the racing cars are the same model, Spark Racing Technology's Spark-Renault SRT_01. There are more details of the cars on the official Formula-E website, with a seemingly Anglo-French consortium including Renault, Williams, McLaren and Michelin all taking key roles.  The battery doesn't yet last an entire race, so mid-way through the race, the drivers have to change to a second car.  This actually adds an interesting dynamic to the race, where energy preservation can be just as important as the racing line.

Nicolas Prost, in a e.dams-Renault, the team co-founded by his Father
Even the safety, medical and Race Director's cars are electric:

The BMW i8 Safety Car, with inductive charging

Rimac Concept_One Race Director's car

The Drivers

Formula E has attracted some famous racing names into its first season, some running teams, some as drivers, and Trulli doing both!

Jarno Trulli, team co-founder and driver

Nick Heidfeld

Lucas de Grassi

Bruno Senna, nephew of the great Ayrton Senna

Sam Bird, the winner of the subsequent day's final round

Stephane Sarrazin

Alex Fontana

Salvador Duran

Jerome D'Ambrosio

The Race

The start lights...
Practice, qualifying and the race are all on the same day, so there was plenty of action to follow. Although the sounds from the car is unusual, it's still quite loud and being so close to the action means there's still a great atmosphere.

Eventually, Sebastian Buemi came out as the winner.

Sebastian Buemi - the winner of Round 10

And on the final day of the season, the championship, with one point difference, went to Nelson Piquet Jr.

Nelson Piquet Jr., the eventual championship winner

What does the future hold?

Richard Branson has predicted that Formula E has the potential to overtake Formula 1 in the coming years, and I'd be amazed if next year's season doesn't attract other manufacturers and drivers.  With desire and commitments to improve the technology further and the inevitable drip-feeding into the road cars of the future, finger's crossed next year is even bigger. 

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