Yesterday marked the inaugural race for Formula E and with high-profile backing from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Branson, and Alain Prost, there was cause for intrigue. But once the show began it was apparent there are already some glaring issues.
First and foremost is the noise of the cars. This is not a continued backlash from the world of F1 – I don’t actually mind the sound of the V6 Turbo’s – but the Formula E cars sound horrific. The closest sound I can think of is the shriek of the ring wraiths in Lord of the Rings: only they are sporadic throughout a three-hour film, rather than constant in a 45 minute race. I genuinely had to turn the volume down, and I can’t see why anyone who isn’t a racing fan wouldn’t turn off completely.
And this is the second issue – who is Formula E actually for? Clearly it is trying to appeal to environmentalists and younger audiences: but first, are that many environmentalists going to be interested in any form of motor racing; and second, what ten-year old is going to excited by something that sounds like one of their radio-control cars? I think they’ll be sticking to Ferrari’s somehow.
And if it isn’t for the very young, let’s go to the teens, and those in their early 20s like myself. Forget that the racing isn’t very exciting for a moment – who the hell wants a sport with something as tacky and gimmicky as “Fan Boost”?! For those fortunate enough to not know what this is, the three drivers with the most social media support an hour prior to the race gets a “five-second boost” during the race. I will not mix my words – this idea is pure and utter shite. I can only assume that Simon Cowell was involved somewhere.
As for the race itself, it was pretty dull, with very little in the way of racing. The only reason it gained any headlines was due to the crash between Nico Prost, son of F1 legend Alain Prost, and Nick Heidfeld, which you can see below.
It is quite simply the most unnecessary and ridiculous shunt I have ever seen: even Michael Schumacher wouldn’t have done this. And somehow, incredibly, Prost tried to defend himself. Sorry mate, but it is there for everyone to see: you swerved in, quite some time before the turn in for the corner, and caused what was a spectacular and potentially dangerous accident – if you haven’t apologised yet, you should, and be bloody embarrassed it too.
Despite what I have written I want Formula E to succeed: its technology has a place in the future development of cars, and in time there is no reason why it won’t deliver exciting racing. But for me there is one reason in particular that I want it to succeed: because it provides the perfect platform for all the lame gimmicky shit that Bernie seems adamant on inflicting on F1. Take the double-points, the Pole Trophy, and any other terrible ideas that have been floated around the F1 paddock and shove them in Formula E. Those in charge will lap it up and F1 can be left alone. Quite simply, Formula E can be the saviour of Formula One.