Formula E Charged Up for New Season – Reasons You Should Watch it

The new Formula E season gets underway in Saudi Arabia on 15 December.

The all-electric series will take place in some of the most iconic and eye-catching cities in the world – from Marrakesh to Paris, with the season finale a double header in New York.

This will be the fifth season of Formula E, and promises to be the most exciting and interesting so far, with some big names among the 11 teams and 22 drivers.

So what is Formula E? And why should you watch it?

Compared to some of its carbon-belching cousins, Formula E is considerably more friendly to the environment.

The sport was developed with sustainability in mind, and the aim to “reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible”.

It does this by powering its cars with a battery that uses 100% renewable fuel, and tyres that – as well as lasting an entire race – can also be recycled afterwards. Meanwhile, spectators are encouraged to use public transport to get to events, with no public parking available.

One drawback with battery-powered cars is they have not had the capacity to last an entire race, resulting in the rather unusual (and somewhat gimmicky) sight of drivers having to swap cars mid-race.

That will no longer happen – this season’s Gen2 car is fitted with a battery that will last from start to finish.

With the car-manufacturing world looking to switch to developing almost exclusively electric cars within the next couple of decades, Formula E provides them with the ideal arena to develop and test new technology at a competitive level.

Perhaps the most significant addition to the line-up for this season is Felipe Massa.

The former Ferrari and Williams driver retired from F1 last year and will this season race for Venturi in the all-electric series. The Brazilian will be reunited with former Williams reserve driver Susie Wolff, the first female team principal in Formula E.

Stoffel Vandoorne – Fernando Alonso’s team-mate at McLaren for the past two seasons – has also made the switch to Formula E and will race for HWA Racelab.

Among the other competitors are Nick Heidfeld, who spent a decade in Formula 1, and former Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who is the reigning champion.

There will also be a strong British representation, with Sam Bird, Gary Paffett, Oliver Turvey, Oliver Rowland and Alexander Sims all on the grid.

Among the manufacturers taking part are BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Nissan, while Mercedes, who have dominated F1 for the past five years, will enter Formula E in the 2019-20 season.

When Formula E first arrived on the scene, one of the main criticisms of it was that cars were too slow for top-level single-seater racing.

In 2014, the top speed of the cars was about 240kmh, but this season they will be able to reach almost 300kmh. That means they are edging closer to their Formula 1 counterparts, which can zip along at up to 370kmh. However, the tight and twisty nature of street circuits will always make it difficult for Formula E cars to challenge an F1 car’s straight-line speed.

The Gen2 cars also feature a significant change in look.

With sleek bodywork featuring swooping arches, the cars have more than a passing resemblance to the Batmobile, marking a significant move away from the somewhat clumsy look of previous incarnations.

With faster cars and a bolder look, Formula E has a real chance of making motorsport fans sit up and take notice this season.