Could Formula E be the new royal race in the near future? Normally it is Formula-1 that is considered to be the queen of races. However, the fledgling 3-year-old Formula-E has all the chances of earning this title in the future. Electric cars are becoming regulars on the city roads and are no longer a surprise to anyone. Can they actually compete with the Formula-1 super cars? The experts are unanimous in saying “yes”, as the high-speed electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. What is to be expected from the forthcoming Monte Carlo ePrix race on 13 May?
A bit of history
According to a UN report, 54% of the world’s population was living in the cities in 2014. By 2050 this number will increase to 66%. For their comfort people thus need not only convenient transport, but also green environment. Modern cars, however, are famously among the greatest air polluters. This was the reason for many countries, Monaco above all others, “moving” their population toward environmentally friendly transport, electric cars or bicycles.
At the moment, electric cars are much less advantageous than internal combustion engines both in terms of price and speed. But it is only a matter of time and, mostly, development of technology, before these changes. In order to interest car companies in finding new solutions, a platform for competition needed to be created. In 2011 the electric car championship was thus launched by the International Automobile Federation (FIA). The idea of carrying out this project came from the Spanish entrepreneur and politician Alejandro Agag. According to one of his interviews “people still don’t show enough interest in buying electric vehicles, so it is therefore necessary to promote such technologies and make sure that electric engines get support. The automobile industry as a whole needs this.”
The first Formula-E championship was launched in September 2014 in Beijing and finished up in June 2015 in London. High-speed electric vehicles made their way through the beautiful streets of Miami, Berlin, Moscow and many others. This year, for a second time, Monaco will host the electric race on its legendary track.
Characteristics of Formula-E
The race runs through the city streets only, there is no special motor circuit. Holding this event in a city makes sense since electric vehicles are mostly designed for city streets. Each stage of Formula E is held on a monthly basis. This year it comprises twelve races. This schedule is favourable to the Formula E fans all year-round, while traditional Formula series go off-season. Some major players of the automobile industry, such as Qualcomm, Michelin, Williams and McLaren, and racing company Dallara and Renault, may be counted among Formula E partners, investors and creators. Since 2016 Formula E has been honored by the car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Citroen, and Jaguar. Starting from next year, they will be joined by the Mercedes team.
Formula E in Monaco
The first time electric cars raced the streets of the Principality was in 2015. A year later, Monaco was not a part of the Formula-E calendar. The second season, however, marks the return of high-speed electric cars to the legendary track.
The Principality will host the fifth stage of the race after Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Marrakech and Hong Kong. The general commissioner of the Monaco Automobile Club (ACM), Christian Tornatore, spoke about the upcoming event: “I think this year the cars will be much faster, their capacity has increased significantly. It will be an interesting sight to see.”
In addition, Mr. Tornatore mentioned that the cars now have a large choice as to their gearbox equipment. They also underwent some technical upgrades, including in particular, reinforcement of the suspension. As for the organization of the race, the general commissioner of the ACM states that Formula-E will be held in practically the same way as Formula-1.
As far as safety goes, in case of an accident, electric cars do not catch fire in the same way as the traditional ones. However, there would be a danger of a toxic gas discharge through a hole in the battery. The organizers claim, however, that in such an event the rescuers will neutralize the device, leaving no reason for anxiety.
In 2015 it was free to watch Formula-E from the stands. This season the tickets are on sale for 20 euros, while there is still free entry for children under 17. 2,500 seats have already been booked. You can buy your ticket at www.eprixmonaco.com
Book soon in order to enjoy seeing this potential future royal race known as Formula E, returning to Monaco.
Photos from www.motorsport.com