Top Gear: Formula E a “genuine agent for social change”

Top Gear magazine, renowned internationally for its irreverent, brutally honest editorial content and a penchant for high end motoring exotica, attended this week’s Formula E event in London, UK. While that may be news enough in itself, writer Jason Barlow seems to have  been bitten by the Formula E bug himself.

Top Gear a convert to electric motoring? That IS news.

Time was when a new motorsport series would announce itself in a blaze of fireworks, tyre smoke and more than likely some scantily clad ladies. This morning  at Bloomberg, in the heart of the City of London, Formula E launched with a stirring, statistic-laden address from a pair of financial analysts. Eh?

Don’t panic. It should still be fun…Alejandro Agag knows that any new race series lives or dies on the quality of its racing, irrespective of the motive power or venue.

Six of the 10 teams have already been announced – including Alain Prost’s ‘e-dams’ outfit and the return of Super Aguri – with four more due to be confirmed shortly. Agag says that another 25 have tried to sign up, and both a major car maker and a Hollywood superstar are among the names to be confirmed.

Agag and his partners reckon Formula E will pull in the next generation of race fans, and help push electric cars past the tipping point they’re currently poised at.

“It’s about perception,” he says. “We can help change that, racing zero emission single-seaters in cities, and bringing governments, utilities companies, and universities together to help promote electric cars. These things can’t just be an alternative, they need to be better than internal combustion cars. I want Formula E to accelerate innovation.”

It’s bold stuff. Not just motor racing, and not just entertainment, but a genuine agent of social change. What on earth would Bernie make of that?