icyphox's avatar

I can't take Formula E seriously

Toy cars racing in parking lots

For those unaware, Formula E, or rather, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship1 is the only fully electric open-wheel racing sanctioned by the FIA. The first season was in 2014 – 2015. 7 years later, it’s just as bad as before.

Formula E was supposed to be this new, revolutionary motorsport set to eventually replace Formula 1 — or at the very least, compete alongside. It was supposed to be where teams could experiment; build better, more eco-friendly tech that can eventually find its way into road cars. Except…the FIA made it a spec series.

This means all cars are basically identical — conforming to a predefined spec. While there’s nothing wrong with spec series racing — Formula 2, IndyCar, etc. are still incredibly exciting — it’s just not something you want in something like Formula E, where technical development is key. Further, the whole emphasis on “road relevancy” is kind of a meme when there’s no engineering freedom given to constructors.

No bother, at least the racing should be fun, right? They travel to cool cities and race on streets! Yeah…not really. Thing is, FE cars are slow. And to compensate this, they made tracks really narrow, with stupidly high barriers. There’s no point in going to cool cities when you can’t really see much of it. All tracks look the same: utterly soulless.

And it doesn’t end there. Formula E is gimmicky as hell. Like F1’s DRS2, FE’s got “Attack mode”. Essentially, drivers recieve extra power by driving through a part of the track that’s off the racing line. This is like, some NFS tier shit. But OK, I’ll give it a pass — it’s cringe, but it does allow for some good overtaking.

“Fanboost”, however…Hoo boy. Basically, fans get to vote for their favourite drivers via social media, and the five drivers that win the vote each recieve extra power during the race. Yup. You read that right. They made a World Championship racing series a social media popularity contest.

formula e broadcast

My last gripe is with the broadcast. It’s so bad! They really should lose the gamer graphics. The driver list on the left is not color coded making it really hard to read. You have no idea who’s who if you’re new. And try and make the circuits look a little more interesting! I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between, say, the London and Berlin circuits.

All things said, I will still watch Formula E — at least, the highlights. Watching bumper cars is somewhat fun when there’s no F1 going on.

  1. Which just ended, as of August 2021. It was also the first World Championship; the ones before weren’t.

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_reduction_system

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