Grand Prix car racing dates back more than a century to races organized in France in the early 1900s. Now known as Formula 1, automobile racing is a worldwide carrying phenomenon.
But every other racing league is taking up city streets around the world. And at the same time, as it has all the similar thrills of Formula 1, it lacks one critical element: gasoline. So instead, the Formula E league uses “e-racers,” excessive-overall performance cars that run on electric powered power. This weekend, New York City is hosting Formula E’s season finale.
The unmistakable whir of a Formula E automobile is one of the maximum special sounds in the game. It’s a ways from the usual roar on a race tune — however, what the league lacks in extent, it makes up for in intensity. “Everything needs to be constructed in a very coordinated manner. It’s like a huge ballet,” said Alejandro Agag, the man in fee of Formula E. CBS News first spoke with Agag 5 years ago whilst the league was just kicking off.
“I did not even realize the motors had been gonna paintings,” Agag said. “I recall whilst you have been there with us at the primary-ever test… to peer if the component turned into gonna even move. And here we’re, 5 years later, in New York, and it’s probable the quickest-developing motor recreation in the world.”
“Everyone thought, we have been gonna fail,” Agag added with amusement. “I assume most effective I thought perhaps we had a threat.”
Formula E races are short — only about forty-five minutes — and take place on tight tracks in city centers. Speeds can hit as much as a hundred seventy-five mph. It’s a far cry from the maximum famous racing league inside the world, Formula 1, where the classic combustion engines are extra powerful and race on wider guides and a long way longer. But Jean-Eric Vergne, who drove Formula 1 before turning into Formula E’s top-rated motive force, stated it’s not so simple.
“Frankly, I’m greater scared within the qualifying lap in Formula E than I was in Formula 1,” Vergne stated. “Because you recognize, the tracks are so narrow; it’s a very heavy car. Very hard to break. The coping with isn’t always as precise as an F1. So consequently, it makes the driving loads tougher. Mistakes manifest — plenty quicker as nicely.”
In Formula E cars, the battery takes the engine space. Each price approximately one million dollars and weighs 1,500 pounds, extra than half of which is battery weight.
“You should have a look at Formula E like we’re the beginning of a new bankruptcy in the car enterprise, in racing,” stated Andre Lotterer, Vergne’s teammate.
In preceding seasons, drivers needed to switch automobiles because batteries couldn’t close the entire race. This yr, it truly is now not the case: Battery strength has stepped forward dramatically.
The logistics of shifting one’s batteries — and the whole lot else — from metropolis to town is mind-boggling. In Brooklyn, nearly seven hundred humans had been running non-forestall this week to construct a song from scratch. The complete occasion will price Formula E between $10-15 million.
Agag says making an investment inside the destiny and dropping the cash, for now, could be well worth it, as his league objectives to end up no longer simply the pinnacle electric race collection, however the pinnacle race series normal.
It’s complex, even though: Formula 1 and Formula E are regulated through the identical corporation, the equivalent of an older brother and more youthful sibling fighting for attention.
“I have no hassle with Formula 1,” Agag said. “I love Formula 1. I suppose it is exquisite. But manifestly… As the industry shifts in the direction of electric, Formula 1 unearths [itself] an increasing number of without an enterprise to relate to.”