Sports

Formula E: The fast and the eco-friendly

As the world continues to find eco-friendlier options for all aspects of life, James Molloy investigates Formula E. It’s the fastest growing motorsport in the world – will Ireland join the races?
High speed, low emissions. Is there a better answer than Formula E to a sustainable future for motorsports? Photo by Tom Verdoot via Pexels.com

The idea of Formula E was conceived in 2011 in Paris when Spanish businessman, Formula E chairman Alejandro Agag and fédération internationale de l’automobile (FIA) president Jean Todt met in Paris to discuss the possibility of an all-electric international single-seater championship.

Now in its eighth season, it shows no sign of it slowing down with new teams like Jaguar, Nissan, Porsche and Audi joining the championship in recent years and with new locations being added all the time.

The official Formula E website proudly states that the founding mission of the sport was to “race through the streets of the most iconic cities in the world – with a grid full of the best racing drivers and teams around – to show just what sustainable mobility was capable of”.

The cars used in Formula E are similar to those used in Formula One, the body style of the car is ostensibly the same, the key difference is, of course, the use of batteries rather than an engine. 

Although the cars are slower, with a top speed of 280 km/h as opposed to 360km/h in Formula One, this can be seen as a small price to pay for an eco-friendlier motorsport. With constant improvements being made, Formula E could close the speed gap sooner rather than later.

Back in 2017, Dublin made a bid to host an E-Prix with former Fine Gael TD Noel Rock advocating for Dublin’s inclusion in the racing calendar. 

“Dublin would perfectly fit the bill for such a race, and it would make for exciting viewing,” said Rock.

“I fully support Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council exploring the possibility of acting as a host city and I would expect that the Government would support such a bid if one was to be made in the future,” he continued.

The benefits of Dublin hosting a Formula E event would have seen a boost in economic growth and tourism, along with the possibility of Ireland becoming a permanent location for the Formula E racing season. 

Unfortunately, Dublin was overlooked for the race. Instead Marrakesh, Hong Kong, Rome, Paris, Berlin and many more reaped the benefits of the popular motorsport.

The Formula E Ireland Fan Site gave some insight into the future of Formula E in Ireland “I kind of feel like we might have missed our chance with it. There was a thing a few years back about potentially holding a race here when the series was still finding its place.

“After Battersea cancelled their contract, we could have had a chance to slip in and be the English-speaking race location on this side of the Atlantic, but the series has grown so much now and has cities all around the world looking into hosting and bringing FE to big, exciting locations.”

So, as the motor sport continues to grow what will the future look like for Ireland with regards to the possibility of hosting an E-Prix? The Formula E Fan Site holds onto the hope that someday Ireland will host a race “honestly, I’d absolutely love it if I were proved wrong.”

Currently, only one driver who hails from the island of Ireland has taken part in the Formula E championship – Portadown native Adam Carroll. 

Carroll took part in the 2016-17 championship driving for team Jaguar and coming 21st in his solitary season in the motorsport.

With the success of Formula E, Alejandro Agag has also gone on to create Extreme E which is a climate-conscious electric rally series. 

This form of E-Motorsport could fit perfectly into Ireland as there is already an established rally scene across the country. However, time will tell as to whether Ireland will capitalise on the ever-growing world of electrical motorsports.

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