Electric Grand Prix?

Apparently, unlike normal F1, Formula E cars sound something like “polite but volatile washing machines”. The cars only get to 135mph, not the 200mph of Formula 1 and the batteries aren’t powerful enough to last the race so part of the deal is drivers hopping out of one car and into the next, fully charged one. It’s not quite the testosterone-fest of motoring race that we’ve known to date. However, to make up for it Formula E has some new gimmicks – fans can vote for their favourite drivers and the top three get a five-second power boost.

Somewhat contrary to expectations, it seems to have been successful with more than 50,000 turning out for the London ePrix in Battersea Park at the end of the sport’s first season. One reason might be that results are genuinely unpredictable with the season’s 11 races won by seven different drivers – comparing with three winners across 19 races in F1. Another might be that it is an alternative to fossil fuels for those who love racing machines. The Battersea site included ticket scanners charged on a solar farm, solar powered zones for charging phones, and a safety car run on solar power.

The racing vehicles are still powered by the same energy as the rest of the city, with all the carbon footprint that involves. But this might be a step in the right direction.

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