Formula E, Attracting F1 Drivers

Less than six months to Beijing. Well, the ambience seems to be quietening down on the Formula 1 tracks since the 2.4-litre V8 engin...


Less than six months to Beijing.

Well, the ambience seems to be quietening down on the Formula 1 tracks since the 2.4-litre V8 engines have been swapped with 1.6-litre turbo hybrids, reducing the earsplitting sounds that many F1 fans seem to relish, much to their dismay. Meanwhile, the Formula E world is working up to thunderous eagerness as the first of 10 rounds is set to take place in less than six months, on 13 September 2014, in Beijing.

Jarno Trulli, F1 Champion and now member of FE Club
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), organiser of this novel race, established the Formula E Drivers' Club in January to create a talent pool from which teams could pick their drivers for the upcoming inaugural season. The FE Club has attracted some recognisable names from F1, both emerging stars and veterans of the racing scene. Most recent additions include Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld and Jérôme d'Ambrosio, as well as Sam Bird, who almost clinched the title in last year’s GP2. See the full list of the Club’s members here.

Trulli is perhaps the most experience of the lot so far, with 256 Grand Prix races and the only one with a championship title under his belt. The Italian race driver won the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix while racing for Renault. "It's great to be selected as part of the Formula E Drivers' Club. This series has huge potential and I'm excited to see the technological progress of electric vehicles and their place in the future of motorsport," said Trulli.

Click on image for larger view of the Beijing Formula E track.
FIA has just lifted the veil off the circuit layout and location of the Beijing track, which will be set on the grounds of the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium, built for the Olympic Games back in 2008. The 3.44-kilometre temporary track will feature 20 left-hand turns as the drivers maneuver in anti-clockwise direction, racing pass the Beijing cityscape, the stadium’s mammoth structure and the aquatic centre. A unique U-shaped pit lane winds around a spectator section, granting fans a fantastic vantage point; drivers are required to change cars twice throughout the race as the car battery only lasts up to 30 minutes and are sealed according to safety regulations, inhibiting battery swaps. So, it will be interesting, and perhaps even amusing, to see the drivers also racing on foot from the depleted car to a fully charged one.

Lucas di Grassi
will be racing for
the Audi Sport ABT team
According to Lucas di Grassi, who will be driving for the Audi Sport ABT (the only team so far to have confirmed their drivers for the season), "The Beijing circuit is going to be an amazing facility and a tremendous challenge for all the drivers. The best overtaking spots are likely to be Turns 1, 2, 6, 19 and 20 and the unique U-shape pit lane is certainly going to take some practice to get right."

All Formula E races will be completed within the day, including practice, qualifying round and the actual race, to minimise cost and ensure minimal disruption to the host cities. The objective of the race, after all, is to promote sustainability.

images: fiaformulae.com, formula1.com

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