Formula Eeeeeeeooooo …

Formula E Logo.  Used without the kind permission of the FIA.
Formula E Logo. Used without the kind permission of the FIA.

Did you watch it? Formula E, I mean.

Unless you are in an Asian time zone, you probably didn’t. If you are in Europe, it would have been early morning. In the Americas, the middle of the night. Lucky people.

I called it “Formula Eeeeeeeooooo” because that’s pretty much what the cars sounded like. Plus it’s the reaction I figured I would have when I watched them. I wasn’t wrong. In fact, it was worse than I was expecting.

The engines sounded like they were powered by thousands of angry rats running around on rusty treadmills. And they were so slow they looked like they were powered by thousands of angry rats running around on… you get the picture.

So, we had twenty cars, all making noises like vintage milk floats, at times almost hitting 160kph. This is supposed to be exciting? Hell, my 1963 850cc Mark I Mini went faster than that. Well, downhill. With a tail wind. When they were given the green flag after the safety car pulled off, you couldn’t see any difference. It was like the drivers had all missed the flag.

As for that final corner crash, well, that was amateur hour at its worst. Nicolas Prost deserved way more than a ten place grid penalty for that screw-up. You could see that Alain was not amused, so I hope he also gave his son a well-deserved smacked botty and sent him to bed without his milk and cookies!

I guess at the next race there will now be two ex-F1 drivers’ sons who have crashed deliberately!

Milk Float with Wings!
Milk Float with Wings!

Don’t get me wrong. There’s every reason to create a single-seater open wheel race series. Racing promotes advances in technology. And as we see improved methods of producing electricity in environmentally-friendly ways, it will accelerate the manufacture of electric vehicles. But, slapping twenty experimental cars (times two) on prime-time television on a major sports channel made no sense at all. I think that was one giant Fox-up.

Actually, the only real purpose served was to highlight to the world the fact that electric vehicles are NOT currently practical.

Why? Mainly because of the “times two” alluded to above. One car – and don’t forget these are ultra-light race cars – could not complete a twenty-five lap race. That’s right. The race was 25 laps, and needed two cars per driver. There was an enforced minimum 50 second pit stop for the drivers to change cars. I doubt there’s ever been anything more stupid in the history of motorsport. And then, at the end of the race, one podium finisher was demoted to tenth place for “using too much electricity.” Oh pulleeeease!

One problem I have with this whole charade is that people seem to think electricity grows on trees. Or that if you put a huge funnel on top of a battery (which the commentator insisted on calling a “bat tree”) you can collect electricity out of the sky. This inaugural race was in Beijing, in a country which still generates most of it’s electricity from coal-fired generators. More carbon was emitted generating the power used by these forty race cars, than if they had been powered by gasoline.

And in order to promote this “green energy” around the world, those forty cars plus backups and spares will be flown in jumbo jets to ten different cities, from Beijing to Buenos Aires. The more I think about it, the sillier it gets.

As for the commentator… where the hell do they find these people? Before the race he calmly announced that his reaction on arriving in Beijing was “you know, wow, you know.” Did we sleep through “Commentating 101”?

And when reading the grid line up, he informed the world that Nelson Piquet Jr. is Nelson Piquet’s son. How ever did he figure that? Certainly not on his own. I guess he was reading from the Media Guide.

Well, all I can say is I hope you appreciate the fact I somehow managed to stay awake throughout the whole hour to bring you this report. It won’t happen again.

Now I have to take a 50 second break to switch keyboards before starting the next article…


...has been travelling the world for more than sixty years; having lived and worked in five countries and travelled to many many more.

He likes to write about his travels - present and past - along with his other main interests of Drones, Information Technology and Motorsport, and he adds a few general twitterings along the way.

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