It’s fitting that the championship was decided at the last few corners in the final ePrix of the season; months after the slow burner in Beijing produced just as much drama on the final corner. Formula E may have had its sceptics (and still does) but we’re fortunate that the season was as brilliant as we had all hoped.
Formula E has had an electric start, and that’s great news for everyone.
I still remember that first test at Donington last summer. I arrived at the track and was walking towards the entrance via a road, which had a 15-foot wall next to it. On the opposite side was the double right hander in the second sector of the track – I could hear the cars perfectly but had no way of seeing them.
Initially I was a bit taken back by the sound but once I saw the cars in the flesh, attacking the hairpin at the end of the lap, my worries immediately went. These were race cars, and I could see the potential there and then. The cars also looked fast, and I think that’s important for any racing series – the horsepower-to-weight ratio of the cars might not seem impressive on paper but once I saw the cars tackling Donington, I believed in the series.
Beijing was frustrating. I remember talking up the series to a lot of my close friends and family but let’s face it, that race wasn’t great. Ironically it was the horrific accident between Prost and Heidfeld that got people talking and not the racing itself. I was disappointed, as many of you were, but I was also realistic – the teams and drivers were still learning and without a safety car, the teams were right on the limit in terms of battery power. I hoped Beijing would be a one off, and boy was I glad to be right.
Multiple Winners, Safety Cars and Drama
The season came alive in Malaysia and it just kept on giving after that. The on-track action was brilliant and picking a winner ahead of each race weekend was almost impossible. Malaysia, Argentina and Uruguay were all brilliant races and once the Formula E circus arrived at Long Beach, I knew we were onto a winner. People loved Formula E – it was evident from the screams, cheers and gasps of the crowd and the reaction I was seeing on twitter. For every negative comment about the noise or fanboost, there were hundreds of positive comments about the quality of the racing, and that made it a winner in my book.
We were also treated to an excellent finale in London, where Nelson Piquet was crowned champion after a nail biting finish. Piquet opening his visor to wipes away tears will no doubt remain one of my favourite ever motorsport moments. It’s in those moments you forget about the noise, the technology and the ever-controversial fanboost; I was reminded that Formula E is a sport, and a great one at that.
The last time I was truly on the edge of my seat during a motor race was the 2008 Brazilian GP. I remember screaming and shouting at the TV in those final laps, trying to make sense of what was going on as I, a Ferrari fan, desperately tried to work out whether Massa had done enough to leapfrog Hamilton.
I don’t like making comparisons between Formula 1 and Formula E because they are so different, however during the closing laps of the London ePrix I was reminded of why I love motorsport and competition. I was once again screaming and shouting at the TV, but this time as a neutral who appreciated the spectacle for what it was. I’m a believer in Formula E and the roadmap it’s set out, but even if you’re not, just give the racing a shot, because it’s genuinely brilliant.
The future is bright for Formula E and I can’t wait for testing to start again. It’s been one hell of year – let’s hope 2015/16 is just as good.
Written by: Anil Parmar