Happy first birthday, Formula E

It’s hard to believe, but it was a year ago yesterday that the FIA officially announced Formula E as its vision for the future. That means that Formula E is officially one year old.

What a year it’s been for the new arrival, one that began with baby steps and ended up with the toddler chasing Bolt down the track in a spine-tingling sprint. Here are 12 highlights from the first year of the baby album.

  • Big brothers McLaren, Williams, Renault, Dallara and Michelin all joined the party, developing a customer car as part of a consortium led by new venture Spark Racing Technology. Cars will be leased to teams in return for a share of sponsorship revenues. Each team will need four cars and two drivers.
  • 10 host cities signed up, to run on a reverse calendar from September 2014 to June 2015. Street circuits will be routed through the middles of LA, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, London, Berlin, Rome, Bangkok, Beijing and Putrajaya (us neither). We realised our spelling skills would need some attention.
  • Our counting skills are fine though: we worked out that holding races in city centres makes great sense in terms of captive audiences.
  • Three teams have thrown their hats into the ring: Drayson, from the UK; Andretti, from the US; and China, from…well, yes.
  • Drayson went on to set a world land speed record for an electric car at an English air base. The world took notice. A man from Google was there, no less.
  • Former F1 racer turned F1 tyre test driver and Le Mans driver Lucas di Grassi signed up as development driver and did donuts in LA in a prototype electric race car. There was smoke. Racing legend Gil de Ferran added his name as an ambassador.
  • Lots of talk about money, budgets and commercial deals resulted in much hot air but nothing officially confirmed. We bemoaned the financials of F1 and hoped that Formula E would be better balanced. Senior people at McLaren questioned the business plan.
  • Face time: Fox signed a deal to bring the championship to the small screen across the world, with particular focus on the US.
  • The guest list got interesting: Hollywood superstars Leo and Cameron were effusive about Formula E’s prospects at the Monaco F1 event. While that may be more to do with mutual sponsor TAG Heuer, di Caprio is known to be a bit of an eco warrior.
  • Iconic land speed brand Bluebird announced a Formula E racing car that is simply jaw dropping. We want one. Badly.
  • The promoter, FEH, launched a new website with all sorts of exciting titbits, such as there will be just one, all purpose, all weather tyre type.
  • We tried to work out what power to weight means in electric cars, what initial designs tell us about aerodynamics and why people keep going on about sustainability when, really, the sport is likely to be only marginally greener than F1. And then we compared Formula E to cricket.

Of course this could all change: FEH will present its plans to the World Motor Sport Council in September for approval. Confirmed details should then follow.

Also in September, events at Beaulieu and Frankfurt will help the series celebrate in style and Current E will be at both.

For more news, features and analysis of Formula E, keep plugged in to Current E.

No, we couldn’t resist.


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