A newbie's view: the good and the bad of Formula E
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The Formula E season began at the weekend in Hong Kong and I took in my first full experience of the category from the comfort of my lounge room.
It certainly is different to traditional forms of motorsport but there was a lot that I liked about the concept too.
I spoke to Kiwi star Mitch Evans' father Owen about it. Owen Evans is a well-known New Zealand motorsport identity and was a more than handy racer in his own right.
"This sport is about technology and this is why all the manufacturers and involved and whether people like it or not electric is going to be a big part of our future," he told me.
"If they don't get involved in this they will lose a big part of their market share.
"This has more relevance to them selling cars to the public than any other form of motorsport has done in the past," Evans added.
So these are my thoughts on my first proper Formula E experience.
Things I like
The inner-city street circuits
It is hard not to be impressed with the backdrops of some of the most iconic scenes in the world and a car race being plonked right in the middle of it. The location means easy access for spectators and naturally plenty of media attention.
The parity between manufacturers
Unlike Formula 1 where money spent directly translates to on-track success and where one team can completely dominate we see any number of manufacturers competing for race wins and challenging in the points.
The quality of drivers
Man for man Formula E has better drivers than Formula 1 - a couple of experience Kiwi races have tol dme that and I agree with them. Sure, the top 6-8 F1 drivers are the best on the planet but the rest of the field is filled with who can afford to buy the opportunity. Formula E sees manufacturers pay for the best drivers as they see them. There are a lot of championship winners on the Formula E grid.
Things I don't like
The fan boost
This has to be the dumbest idea in competitive sport. Formula E allows the fan favourite to get access to an extra burst of energy during the race. All that does is reward the drivers with the biggest following with performance. I get the need for interaction with fans but there must be better ways to reward them rather than a performance bonus.
Lack of schedule time on screen and the waiting around
I found myself frustrated as I waited in between qualifying sections and in the pre-race. In categories like Supercars or Formula 1 you have a countdown clock at all times telling you exactly how long before the flag drops etc. I know there were problems getting cars in order for a re-start in Saturday's race and with the lights on Sunday but it seemed a big disorganised from a television fan perspective.
The way you can get caught in pit stops
Mitch Evans dropped a spot in the pits in yesterday's race not because his team was slow or he made a mistake but because his garage was blocked by other cars entering the lane. The nature of Formula E means the whole field pits at essentially the same time – it could have been the unique layout in Hong Kong but it is silly if it becomes a lottery getting in and out of your pit box.
It was certainly different not having the road of an engine while you watch. It is possible that the cars get something installed to help manufacture something that sounds like engine noise but I guess that is part of the appeal for manufacturers – hearing just how clean an electric car sounds.