Miami’s Formula E Race / Prost Takes the Win

Image courtesy of the FIA website

Image courtesy of the FIA website

I have just returned from a trip to Miami where I attended the fifth round of this year’s Formula E races.  Nicholas Prost, son of legendary F1 driver Alain Prost, won the race, with Scott Speed of Andretti racing coming in second. Formula E, the world’s first entirely electric racing series, debuted in Beijing in September 2014. If you haven’t heard of it before now, fear not – the buzz surrounding Formula E is just starting to get louder than the eco-friendly cars circling the tracks. Here’s what you need to know to get up to speed before the next race in Long Beach on April 4.

The Basics

Image courtesy of Andres Asion and Fortune International

Image courtesy of Andres Asion

Sanctioned by the FIA, Formula E is the innovation-focused, environmentally-friendly counterpart to Formula One. There are 10 teams, two of which are from the US. Each team includes two drivers and four electric cars. In order to level the playing field for the first season, the FIA is requiring all teams to use the same car, the Spark-Renault SRT_01E. For the 2015-2016 season, teams and manufacturers will be able to customize their cars according to specifications set by the FIA. The ultimate goal is to get people excited about electric cars and to inspire innovation in the general electric vehicle market. Amongst several celebrities attending the race, Richard Branson was probably one of the most prominent, putting his mouth where his money is. As with Formula 1 in the past, he sees significant developments coming out of Formula E to the cars we will be driving every day.

Image courtesy of FIA website.

Image courtesy of FIA website.

Why You Should Be Watching

  • Formula E car batteries are powered by pollution-free glycerine generators from Aquafuel. Glycerine is a non-toxic byproduct of biodiesel – Jalopnik’s Damon Lavrinc put Aquafuel’s claims to the test by drinking the glycerine fuel. He lived to write about it and he says it tastes “sweet and syrupy.” A truly non-toxic, pollution-free energy supply for electric cars could have interesting implications for the consumer electric vehicle market.
  • The batteries for Formula E cars only last for about half the race, so drivers are required to make a timed pitstop. However, instead of changing out the battery, drivers switch cars entirely and jump into a second fully-charged vehicle. This alone is quite the spectacle.
  • The FanBoost component allows viewers to vote and give the driver of their choice an extra speed boost during each race. Voting closes one hour before races start, and takes audience engagement to a whole new level.
  • Formula E may come to New York in a future season. Forbes reported last year that Formula E’s chief executive has been talking with city officials about hosting a street race in New York. While previous efforts to bring Formula One to the city have fallen short, Formula E seems particularly eager to work with the city.
  • As opposed to Formula 1, since the cars are much more evenly matched this is actually about the driver and not the engine. Five different winners in five races, only the most skilled and strategic drivers will prevail in the end.

My assistant, Kristin Herrara, and I were featured in The Real Deal’s coverage of the races. Check out the article here.

Image courtesy of The Real Deal

Image courtesy of The Real Deal

Thank you to Andres Asion and Fortune International, Town Residential’s Miami partner, for the photos.

Check out Andres’ footage from the Andretti Team pit here:

Check out the Miami Formula E highlights here:

Categories: Sustainable Living

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