Some racing observers jokingly or seriously compare Formula 1 and ePrix. True, the object of comparison is not the ratio of show and pure sport, but a certain leadership of the “electric” tournament in the technological aspect. However, it would be more logical to compare these series with completely different parameters. In the FIA Formula E Championship, the fourth season of which started in early December, the teams are allowed to bring to mind only some nodes – the motor-generators, transmission (which, however, almost everyone now has the same), suspension, cooling system. That is, from the point of view of “iron”, the electro-tournament is still very far from Formula 1. However, financial flows in the electric formula are spreading much faster than the real “innovativeness” of the championship grows.
If at first the participants had to pay five million euros for the annual application, now it can cost five times more! Moreover, this price varies from team to team – based on achievements, commitments to the organizers and other conditions. And the season itself already costs not five to seven million, as in the first year, but 25 million, if the team participates in the fight for the title. The very same racing electric car costs about 500 thousand euros. And here is the first piece of the mosaic: the newly established Chinese program NIO, which invests large sums in advertising its EP9 electric car, spends much more for the season than Venturi, which is serious, but without too much pomp, has been engaged in alternative energy in transport for over 15 years.
If at first athletes could earn up to 150 thousand euros per season, then in the last championship, for example, the same NIO Chinese paid Nelson Piquet Jr. 1.2 million. In this case, you will not say that after the Brazilian became the first in the history of the champion of Formula E, he achieved great success. The championship was also attractive for technical consultants: owners of a loud name and achievements in F1 can earn up to half a million euros in a season in an electric formula.
The very right to take a one-day electric run with all its tents and diesel generators costs about 10 million euros. But for this money, the organizers have the right to expect the arrival of the most famous riders: in Formula E has its own super license. More precisely, the electrolysis: no one gets caught in the peloton. But the points for this FIA super-license here can be exactly the same as in the 3.5-liter Renault Formula that has already gone down the racing sky. That, to put it mildly, is strange, given the ridiculous average speed on the circle at the electric car. Here you have a second piece of the mosaic: the championship is pulled by the ears in the FIA. Although these same officials, it would seem, recently, in every way they were in favor of diesel traction.
In motor sports, the advancement of technology has always been in step with the needs of advertising, but now even the organizers of the championships say out loud that marketing departments have pushed designers away from the helm. And here also the FIA President Jean Todt mentioned that by 2040 the company can call the current, familiar to us, motor racing and crazy waste of resources. By that time, of course, marketers will find new ways to promote products, but for now they are betting on Formula E. Immediately, five brands (Audi, Citroen with their brand DS, Jaguar, Mahindra, Renault) participate this season, and in a year they will become even more: BMW, Mercedes and Porsche will come.
What attracts manufacturers to this event? The effect of novelty clearly benefits the brands themselves: you could never buy a “green” image so cheap! If the season in the FIA WEC Marathon Championship for Audi cost 245 million euros, then in electric formulas everything is ten times less for everything! In this case, everyone has already forgotten about some diesel engines there – right there everything is on batteries. And now the entire mosaic assembly. It is unlikely that an ordinary viewer cares that in Le Mans, engineers had to bring to mind these very batteries and invent interesting packaging options for the “honeycomb”, thereby really promoting technical progress. In Formula E, standard batteries are used, but who cares when commentators continually tell us about the advanced manufacturability of these 200-kilowatt miracles? But the stock of their energy is still not enough even for an hour-long race – the riders, like in the first season, are forced to call in boxes for new electric cars!
The organizers of the championship just reported about a small profit, but then again invested in further promotion of their offspring: fans of motor sport turned out to be too conservative, and even neophytes, whose attention jumps from one big letter of the heading to another, are quite problematic. And those fans who didn’t like to see the races of high-tech vehicles traveling at the same pace as the Formula-4 junior, are wondering: why break an evolutionary model of engine development for more than a hundred years and offer a dubious revolution?
Obviously, electricity is a convenient way to transfer energy over long distances or in specific conditions. But when used in transport, it turns out that one type of energy is first converted into electricity at thermal power plants (nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, etc.), and then again converted into mechanical form. And any transfer of a type of energy is an inevitable loss in efficiency. True, the electricity to charge the batteries in Formula E is mined thanks to the huge diesel generator AquaFuel running on glycerin emulsion. Interestingly, the head of this company, Paul Day, informed about his idea in the past millennium, when he achieved steady operation of an old diesel engine on a mixture of diesel fuel, water and, oddly enough, castor beans. In 2002, Day even received government grants for project development. But now glycerin is use: just a byproduct of the production of biodiesel. Of course, if it can be used, it is very good. But if this would be really beneficial, then there would be no overproduction of glycerin. And if it were so eco-friendly, then the advertisements would have been made by the “green” wonderful new product – and they don’t really say anything about it.
The advantage of electric cars is considered to be that due to them cities can be cleaned of exhaust gases. Even if for a moment to forget about the incredible number of power plants that need to be built to refuel the entire rolling stock, the very idea of polluting the nature where we are not damaging it. Not better things with your favorite “green” chips: wind energy and solar panels. The first are effective except on the sea coasts, but in Frank Herbert on Arrakis. But the wind generators affect the transport of air masses – in terms of aerodynamics, people simply build artificial mountains, actively influencing the redistribution of clouds and, as a result, precipitation. They are so far so inefficient that it takes almost a hectare of panels to recharge one machine! And who will take to calculate how the change in the ratio of absorbed and reflected solar energy will affect the climate?
Does this mean that all these renewable sources of energy are nonsense? The same solar panels are installed on really interesting record machines, which for many years have been participating in special runs in Australia or in Europe. But they mention such competitions once a year – nobody spends tens of millions of dollars on their promotion, as is the case in Formula E, which is currently nothing but a marketing tool.
True, this alignment, apparently, it remains to exist for long. New players in Formula E represented by Mercedes and Porsche teams are already hinting that they are not averse to lifting restrictions on battery redesign. The old guard in the face of the Renault team (which Nissan will replace next season) opposes this, speaking in favor of the current standardization of nodes. Armaments race and DS Performance director Xavier Mestallan-Pignon are frightened: “The closer you are to perfection, the more expensive each step is ahead.” Even the participants of the championship have not yet been imbued with the corporate spirit. So, Andre Lotterer, who came to Formula E on the advice of colleagues, although he noted a particular interest from the point of view of the driver (you need to be able to take care of Michelin road tires and closely monitor energy consumption), but still did not fail to recall that there will still be perform in the Japanese Super Formula. “I want to burn fuel and make noise,” said the German.
The resources of the planet must be protected – it is clear to every sensible person. But why not continue the evolution of the internal combustion engine, providing it with recovery systems? In fact, even Le Mans has not yet provided an exact answer as to which motor to use more favorably: a multi-liter slug or miniature turbo. Unfortunately, it’s already impossible to answer the question due to the races, open rivalry of different technological ideologies: marketers are desperately afraid to harm the brand’s image and actively vote not for design competitions, but for those where the regulations limit all inventive activities and equal chances of participants “. Advertisers need to have immediate returns, and with a long and expensive process of finding the best technical solutions this cannot be achieved.
We can say that the FIA Formula E championship does not answer any of the questions raised by the progress. Where do you get electricity, if not from power plants, which are not only powerful and targeted (which is much more dangerous than distributed emissions from car), affect the atmosphere? How to improve the efficiency of batteries? And what is most important, how to make the process of their production and utilization more environmentally friendly and, attention, less energy consuming? Indeed, in China and India, with the local specifics of technological processes, so much lead and other “joys” are emitted into the atmosphere, which the producers of ICE never dreamed of! All these problems face those who really think about the future of the planet. Formula E, alas, offers simply the cheapest way to advertise a “green” image.
“Formula E”, like any other car race, is not only and not so much expensive entertainment, as a platform for the development and implementation of the latest technologies that ensure reliability and safety is no longer racing, but the most ordinary cars. In this case there is one decision: electric cars. In Berlin, famous for the development of a network of electric rail transport, the vast majority of cars drive on gasoline or diesel fuel. Those who advocate for eco-traffic are confident that the regular holding of Formula E stages in the capital would be a powerful impetus for the introduction of innovative auto technologies into the urban environment. The major profits of large-scale car races come from the sale of rights to broadcast. The spectacle against the backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Chancellor and other metropolitan sights might be more interesting to the audience than the dull views of an abandoned airfield. Who knows if the organizers would like to move the German Formula E stages from Berlin to a more picturesque place next time?
For the first time in history Zurich ePrix will be held
After 63 years of bans on automobile racing, Switzerland is returning to a large motor sport. FIA Formula E Championship, or Formula E, is a class of auto racing that uses electric cars. The championship debuted in 2014; today it is considered one of the most prestigious competitions for electric cars. For the first time, one of the stages of the championship will be held in Zurich. As part of the 2017/2018 championship, 12 races will be held in 10 cities. In addition to Zurich, there are also Mexico City ePrix, Hong Kong, Paris ePrix, New York, Rome ePrix and others. The race in Zurich will be held on June 10th. It starts on the very shore of Lake Zurich near the beach Mytenkvay. Pilots of Formula E will pass through the streets of General-Gizan-Kwai, Stockerstraße, Drykienstrasse, Generalferstrasse, Gothhardshtrasse and Alfred Escher-Strass. In some sections of the route, riders will be able to accelerate to 220 km / h. Most of the Swiss will be rooting for Confederation natives Sebastien Buemi and Edoardo Mortara, who are respectively Renault and Venturi Formula E Team.
For over 60 years, car racing in the Confederation has been banned. This decision was made after the tragedy at the race in Le Mans (France), which occurred in 1955. Then, as a result of a major accident, the wreckage of a racing car flew into the crowd. 84 people died. This catastrophe is considered the largest in the history of motor racing. In 2015, the Swiss government made an exception for Formula E racing, allowing one of its stages to be held in Zurich.
Tickets for Hong Kong ePrix
So, a regular ticket to a Formula E race in Hong Kong costs 300 local bucks (HKD), or, in the usual equivalent, about $ 39. Children’s ticket with access to all events will cost 19-20 dollars. Nicely! Among the attractions of the track for Formula E in Hong Kong is the famous local Ferris wheel. At the same time – the most expensive stand for spectators. Merchants hurry up and began to sell tickets for this wheel during the race. Formula E from the height of bird flight – a little expensive, but it seems to be worth the money! It’s 307 US dollars, by the way. Children and the elderly are cheaper – 154 evergreens: double discount.
Punta del Este ePrix
“The track is located near the sea, so there is always sand in the paddock! I have never been in Argentina or Uruguay until last year. It was great to discover these two countries of South America, in which a large number of fans of motor racing. Weekend in Punta del Este was one of the best last year, I think everyone in the paddock wants to go back there. ”
Changes in the track
“This year, the first turn looks completely different, before it was a bunch of right-left turns, now left-right. The main purpose of this change is to make leaving safer. Now it will be easier for us to leave after the pit stop, besides there will be an opportunity for overtaking. Also appeared a couple of scans made a little slower than last year. FIA managed to keep the best in the track and eliminate some shortcomings. This is a unique track with lots of fast, narrow chicane. A really fast track, I like to race here.”
“In Formula E, it’s always difficult to overtake because of the need to control energy, and if you have a pace, you have to break through the grid. The track in Uruguay is one of the most difficult for overtaking, so the qualification plays a big role here than on other tracks.”