New Formula E car will break away from the Formula 1 image.

  • A new design is coming in 2018 
  • New cars could be a huge departure from conventional single seaters.
  • Formula E remains focussed on racing

Watching Formula E is like witnessing your child growing up. Perhaps not quite, but there is a definite sense that this young and excitable new race series is beginning to find its feet in the wide world.

A growing fan base, coupled with an increasingly formidable roster of automotive brands, has helped to generate a real buzz.  Formula E has proven to me that fully electric racing can indeed be acceptable. Perhaps more than just acceptable… it may actually be better.

Formula E has outgrown itself

I don’t think anybody could have expected Formula E to grow at quite such an alarming rate. The series was treated with such disdain during its early days, it felt like it was just too early for such a radical concept.

Now though, Formula E is ready to break free from the shackles of the past, and forge a new path towards an all electric future at the pinnacle of motor sport. Fully electric motorsport needs to build a new identity and re-create single-seater racing.

The Formula 1 World Championship has defined the aesthetics of open wheel racing. Ask any child to draw a racing car and they will draw something that resembles a bullet with wheels. They are iconic. Although Formula 1 cars have been shaped by relentless improvements in safety, the basic idea has remained the same since the 1950s.

Big enough to be bold

When Formula E first launched in 2014, the whole concept of fully electric cars was alien. Therefore bosses took a sensible decision in following the trend in car design. The cars were designed specifically to look like Formula 1 cars. Fans are more likely to accept something they can relate to.

In a recent interview, 2016/17 Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi spoke about what fans can expect to see from electric racing in the years to come. From 2018/19, the cars are set to be radicalised and, if the concept images revealed in February are anything to go by, the changes could be massive.

Futuristic Roboracers were shown off at the Berlin ePrix. Inspiration for Formula E perhaps?                      Image: KAgamemnon CC BY-SA 4.0

Clever enough to be trusted

The good news is Formula E appears to understand where it’s strengths are. Identical cars with limited aerodynamics encourage close racing and unpredictable results. Maintaining that perfect recipe will be key if the sport is to continue to grow.

Di Grassi is certainly open to change. He has come out in favour of closing both the cockpit and the wheels. Perhaps a bit extreme…. but i understand where he’s coming from. The series needs a fresh look. Something that will detach itself from it’s competitors.

Formula E can be what we’ve waited for

Jean Todt, the FIA president has also had his say. As Formula E is sanctioned by the FIA, it is almost inevitable that the controversial Halo will find its way onto Formula E cars in 2018. Fingers crossed the new cars are as radical as promised. That way there will be no need for the infernal device at all.

I am certainly excited to see what these impressive minds at Formula E are able to come up with. With all of the horrific disappointments dished out by Formula 1 in recent years, I could really do with some positive news.

Simon Ostler

I am currently training to become a Journalist. I write best when my subject is something I enjoy. I have spent time working with CAR Magazine and Parkers.

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