Formula E boasts strength through inherent differences

The divisive Formula E series has seen its fair share of both believers and detractors. Jordan Harvey is very much among the former and, having been at the series' test at Donington, he's convinced its future is bright.

Formula E boasts strength through inherent differences
Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Loic Duval, Dragon Racing
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli
Tom Dillmann, Team Aguri
Robin Frijns, Amlin Andretti
Nicolas Prost, Renault e.Dams
Stéphane Sarrazin, Venturi
Jacques Villeneuve, Venturi
Dragon Racing engineer
Loic Duval, Dragon Racing
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Test action
Loic Duval, Dragon Racing
FIA flag
Michelin tires

When thoughts turn to electric vehicles, in most cases a single-seater race series isn't what springs to mind. However, about to embark on it's second season, Formula E is en route to becoming one of motorsport's most valuable assets as it could very well become the pioneer for a market for 'E' products that will undoubtedly shape the future.

The big assumption of motorsport's appeal usually goes as thus: fast cars producing reverberating noise at super fast speeds that leave the beholder with the question of 'how do these guys do it?'

But first-hand experience of witnessing Formula E cars taking to the Donington Park circuit proved it is possible to buck the trend and still gain a global appeal. Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

I arrived at Donington for the final day of pre-season testing and immediately recognised the faint jet-engine-meets-vacuum-cleaner sound that became synonymous with Formula E last season.

I diligently followed season-one and have always been in favour of what the series championed. The initiative, set up to promote electric technology to a wider audience, has been greeted with global success and popularity - making it only a matter of time before Formula E is granted World Championship status.

World recognition

A whopping 180 cities have shown interest in staging a race, one of which is Switzerland – a country far from notorious for its motor racing heritage. A 52 year-old ban was lifted in order for them to be shortlisted for a spot on Formula E's calendar – a ban that prevented motor racing of any kind taking place after a horrific accident at the 1955 24 hours of Le Mans resulted in more than 80 fatalities.

Surely, with such avid enthusiasm from a global perspective, Formula E can expect a bright future

Such support has undoubtedly raised the eyebrows of FOM (Formula One Management), who have seen audiences decline in many parts of the world. Along with Bernie Ecclestone, they have spent years trying to break into markets Formula E has managed to invade in its first 12 months of existence - London being a prime example.

The aura of the series is also felt by drivers - Robin Frijns, a man widely regarded to have deserved a seat in F1 but one who never got the chance. The Dutchman now has his sights set on Formula E, as he told Motorsport.com.

“I’ve got a shot at Andretti now, so let’s see what happens," he said.

"I am talking to the team about a potential race programme but there is no timeframe on when anything might happen. I would love to do it, but it is a decision for Andretti.”

What season two has in store

Season two is almost upon the 10 teams contesting the series. Of those teams, there are five different motor/gear combinations being exercised.

Regulations are such that teams have the option of one to five gears and the choice of a single or twin motor.

However, season two's regulations have proved themselves not to be for the faint hearted, as Amlin Andretti have reverted back to season one's powertrain, and after a disastrous pre-season test, it's likely Trulli follow suit.

Future of Formula E

It's clear that Formula E has found its niche in the motorsport market. Being the only one of its kind, it has the potential for rapid expansion.

Whilst nothing has been announced, it’s not difficult to imagine a whole range of 'E' series. As Formula E cars inevitably get quicker, lower divisions can create more space for young drivers to display their talent while a GT series would entice other car manufacturers to adopt electricity as a fuel source.

Theoretically, the possibilities are endless.

The public will also end up with a slice of the electric buzz. Car manufacturers are already embracing alternative fuels, and Formula E is the pioneer that is fast-tracking the development of the electric-car industry.

Over the next few decades, electric road cars will surely quickly become more powerful, efficient and reliable, as Richard Branson told ESPN. "I'm willing to bet that 20 years from now there are no new cars being built that aren't battery-driven," the DS Virgin Racing owner said.

"The current technology is antiquated technology, it will disappear over the next 20 years and like everything else it will be clean.

"I personally think things are going to move that rapidly now.

"Petrol-driven cars, what goes on in a petrol-driven engine, is really complicated, antiquated and out of date, polluting and everything. Battery-driven cars are the future.

"The companies that move quickest in that area [now] are the ones which will dominate the marketplace."

E, it seems, is the new black. And Formula E could be the technology's flagship product.

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