So I have watched Formula E from the Internet, didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I am an avid fan of Formula One. Formula series to me is to push the frontier of technology that will one day be commercially viable on road cars. The future is going to be cars running in clean energy. Hence, there is much relevance in Formula E. A few random points for sharing.
- Like Formula One, Formula E has formation lap too! But it is excruciatingly slow probably because cars are trying to save on battery.
- These cars as you can imagine run very quietly with some really high frequency motor sound. It is very strange to watch a Formula E race. Like some kind of back to the future movies.
- First race was in Beijing. A street circuit. 25 laps in total, which is kind of short compares to F1.
- Somehow these cars look fragile to me. Some cars did retire. Minor accidents here and there. And then … OK, I shall save that to the end.
- Many familiar names on the grid as some came from F1 racing background.
- There were two woman drivers on the grind, which is unheard of in F1 sport. For that, I am impressed.
- The cars are very much the same. It is about … not tire management but battery management when it comes to race winning. And driver skill primary, of course.
- There are some good racing too, since it relies more on the driver’s skill to overtake.
- The highest speed I have seen was around 170 kph.
Well, my Honda Civic 2.0 has gone faster than that.
- I think the battery power is 150 kW (~200 bhp), from what I heard the commentators said.
- Pit stop is weirdest thing in Formula E. Because one battery can only last half a race, a pit stop involves a driver driving into his or her team’s tent, get out of the car and jump into a second car with full battery! I think there is a mandated 1.47″ pit stop whereby the drivers cannot go faster (or be penalized). A driver can’t really jump another driver over pit stop. However, he or she could be held up by another driver who exits the tent too early and has to slow down on the exit lane. What?!
- FanBoost is another weird thing about Formula E. Fans – yes, you and I – can vote for our favorite drivers and the top three will get a temporary boost of power from 150 kW to 180 kW!
- The point system is very much like Formula One, except whoever set the fastest lap of the race gets 2 points. That gives incentive to unfortunate drivers who are a lap or so down for whatever the reasons to get back out and race.
- The last few lap of this Beijing race was super exciting. It was Nicolas Prost – son of the legendary F1 driver Alain Prost – leading the ePrix followed by an ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld. Onto the very last lap and the very last corner,, Heidfeld made an overtaking move from the inside. Prost instead of conceding the position banged onto Heidfield’s car and Heidfield’s car threw over the curb smashed onto the barrier and landed upside down. Amazing that Heidfield was OK. Then Lucas di Grassi, another ex-F1 driver snatched the win.
- Next race is two months later, in Malaysia.