Could F1 teams be keen to enter Formula E at no-cost?

We’ve argued for some time that there is a place in this world for electric racing and sustainable measures in racing and being a good steward of the resources you’ve been given is a noble charter to be sure. We’ve often felt that Formula One may have innovative knock-on technology for road cars and that’s all well and good. But F1 is not a model of zero emission racing and nor should it be. Can it reduce the fuel-flow rate and increase engine performance? Sure, and it will do that very thing in 2014. Could it use Energy Recovery Systems to harvest energy spent to energy available? Sure, and it will do that very thing in 2014. Should it be a 100% electric series with zero emission? No.

We were excited to hear about the new Formula E being developed as an open-wheel racing series designed to be 100% electric with zero emissions. In an even more interesting note, the success of that series will depend on the people that get behind it and how much money is placed at it’s door for promotion. That challenge could be getting a boost as some teams currently in Formula One might toy with the idea of entering the series.

The Daily Mail has a story suggesting that some teams in F1 might be considering a team in the series when it launches in 2014. McLaren is currently building the electric motors for the cars and other teams may be interested int eh format or reduced cost of the series. Alejandro Agag, chief executive of the new Formula E, said:

‘We will allow only eight people per team to the races, excluding the drivers and excluding the management of the motor.

‘In year one, we will  buy all the cars from a manufacturer and will lease them to the teams at zero cost in exchange for a  share of their sponsorship revenue.’

The appealing factor could be the budget of £3 million instead of the £150-200 million it takes to field a competitive F1 team. Part of that savings is the radically reduced number of team personnel allowed at the race as F1 teams bring a phalanx of employees to field two cars and the thought of splitting the revenues instead of laying out a bucket-load of cash may be even more appealing. Certainly that zero-cost concept is by design as the series needs to attract the right people and I applaud the series owners for thinking ahead and trying to lure primary and secondary players in motor sport instead of simply hoping someone will show up.

There is a place for electric racing and Formula E may very well be it. Imagine a silent racing series where the only thing you hear in the stands is the loudspeakers playing driver and team conversations, announcements and critical race information and well as lap times and scoring. There is an appeal for those who imagine the benefits of silence…then again, there is a nausea created for those who love the sound of a V8 screaming at 18,000 rpm. Pick your poison.

What do you think? Would this appeal to you if it was silent and teams like McLaren, Williams and maybe Sauber were entered in the series? Maybe even BMW, Toyota or Honda? Maybe Norbert Haug could find a role post-Mercedes after all.


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