Formula E is holding two races in Rome this weekend. It’s one of the series’ best tracks and three years ago was one of its most-watched events.
There are ways to rebuild the brand and reward the teams that have stayed loyal to it. But it requires immediate action, spending and some brave choices.
There’s nothing wrong with the racing, which is better than ever. The field is probably the most competitive it’s ever been and the new ‘duels’ qualifying format has worked out fantastically, to produce really thrilling sessions.
Teams are operating at a higher level than in any prior year in the series and drivers are being forced to be really clever to succeed. Which is why it’s frustrating that its audiences remain disappointing – if the wheels had simply come off, it would be easier to understand.
As someone who works in Formula E, I am very keen to see it succeed. Not merely for myself and because otherwise I’m not sure what I’ll do for the rest of the year, but because it’s a series I love and genuinely believe in.
There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about FE’s own mythology but it’s a series providing things people actually want: good, fun racing and a bit of technological hope for the future. So how could arguably the FIA’s most environmentally-marketable series be losing ground so badly?
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Formula E’s problem is one F1 used to have: visibility. It’s hard to watch. Broadcast contracts do not guarantee the races are actually shown on television or even a consistent platform – the much-lauded Channel 4 deal frequently relegates it to YouTube, as it will for almost the whole of the Rome round with only Sunday’s race making it to the main channel live.
It has a less visible platform than W Series, with which it shares a broadcaster in the UK, making for useful comparisons. On the C4 Sport YouTube the 2022 Mexico Eprix stream has been watched by less than 44,000 UK viewers; W Series’ last race at COTA 58,000. When you consider that one is single-make junior series and the other is a world championship in which six manufacturers compete, it’s clear that something has gone wrong on Formula E’s part.
Formula E held 17 races last year and produced a title fight that went down to the final lap of the final race. It drew in 316 million viewers, which was a good recovery from the dire preceding season. Only 236 million watched Antonio Felix da Costa claim his title over the course of the Covid-struck 2020 campaign.
But both figures are disastrous backslides compared to the 2018-19 season, when FE hit 411 million. Why was the steady growth that Formula E had seen since its start reversed?
Yawning gaps in the calendar and a lack of promotion between events do not help. Since 2020 there have been two periods between seasons lasting more than six months. This weekend’s event comes six weeks since the last.
There might be no solution to the huge gaps in Formula E’s calendar. The realities of logistics – and particularly of arranging a calendar at street circuits in the post-Covid landscape – might simply be too hard to get around.
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To say that FE has been disproportionately affected by Covid compared to other series, is absolutely true and the championship has taken some hard blows as a result. Without question, most of the damage that FE is still experiencing was caused by more than half of the 2019-20 season being conducted behind closed doors during the six-race Berlin finale, before disappearing for nine months. Last year’s calendar was almost entirely double-header events with long gaps between them.
Those were choices made by the series, though, and it has to look to the future by rebuilding its audience. If Formula E could, at times, be accused of having over-marketed itself it seems that since 2020 it has been doing the opposite and steadily eroding its own profile.
A stark example is the timezone-defying fact that multiple sessions of the Rome Eprix take place at the same time Formula 1 cars are on-track in Australia, despite Melbourne being eight hours ahead of Rome and previous races having been held much later in the day.
Formula E has plenty of good things to say about itself right now, from the on-track action to an exciting calendar including new races in Jakarta and Seoul and the launch of its ‘Gen3’ car on April 28th. But it feels like it is hiding away from anyone being able to watch it.
The series needs to make itself visible again, with better-timed races, clear and informative promotion and by filling the calendar gaps with content that it has an almost unique amount of access to. FE has access to its extremely big brands: Porsche, which F1 hopes is on the verge of committing to its series, won their first single seater race since 1989 last time out in Mexico and I still feel like no one knows. It has many highly marketable drivers, all of whom want to make the series work.
Although FE’s last two attempts at a behind-the-scenes documentary ended up released almost without fanfare after long delays, it should be able to put together plenty of content during and after race weekends – historically, it always did.
As the races have been confined to Channel 4’s Sport-specific YouTube channel, it feels like FE has almost given up making content for its own. While there is some helpful, explanatory stuff going up, if an FE diehard like me is not getting it algorithmically put in front of them, there’s not very much hope of anyone else knowing about it.
Since FE removed all its past races from its channel (which had been a really helpful resource for such a young series’ audience) it feels like it’s disappeared. Anyone who’s worked in digital content can tell you the only answer to that is to pay YouTube’s visibility ransom with some ad spending.
FE first built an audience when it was a far harder sell than it is today. The need to change cars mid-race is best forgotten and the early issues of getting to grips with electric racing made it more difficult for fans to take it seriously. But the series’ skill always seemed to be in being able to work with what it had.
To rebuild an audience, it needs to get back to that by serving up what people want (informative, clear content and, yes, jokes) and making sure that they see it. The past years have seen the spending go on influencer campaigns and strange horse-stealing CGI promo videos when really all Formula E needs to do is make sure people know about it via investing in and promoting its own channels – and making the races easy to watch.
The pandemic has, undeniably, hit FE very hard. But it needs to pick itself back up and start working with what it has, return to the core values of the series – environmentalism, innovation, exciting racing – rather than branding like the ‘#PositivelyCharged’ campaign that even I had to look up to write about.
It feels brutal to say this, but after nine years of covering Formula E I’d always felt confident that, despite the haters, there really was a fanbase and audience for the series and I can’t say I’m that confident about that, now.
The races in Rome will, no doubt, be excellent: It’s a big, technical track and the Gen2 cars produced extremely close racing. If tired F1 fans manage to find the coverage after the Australian Grand Prix I have no doubt they’ll find it was worth staying up for. Hopefully some of them do.
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102 comments on “The steps Formula E must take to recapture its audience”
Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
6th April 2022, 8:34
I’ve always (probably ignorantly) felt that Formula E doesn’t showcase electric powered technology very well. There are road going family saloons like Tesla’s that would destroy these things in a straight line. I appreciate the downforce and many other factors take away straight line speed and a Formula E car would smoke a Tesla around a circuit but you get the gist, it’s just not inspiring enough. There are Formula cars with simple 4 cyclinder 2 litre engines that compare over a lap with these things.
6th April 2022, 8:47
I’m unsure that this is entirely accurate or a reasonable basis of comparison.
A Model S Plaid accelerates to 60MPH faster than an F1 car and I am unsure the top speed of the Plaid is greater than FE. Does this make F1 equally irrelevant? Furthermore, after a certain speed it is difficult to perceive the differences between cars (road or racing) unless they were sharing the track.
However, the fact that you believe this to be the case is perhaps more telling.
6th April 2022, 13:27
You are using data from that old F1 car they used on that test on youtube
The current F1 would destroy the Model S as they also have electric power while launching. The current FE is still limited on 250KW but this isn’t what the car can do the current model would beat the model S as it’s weight is much less then the Model S (still 2Wheel drive but they are coming with 4wheel drive)
6th April 2022, 23:06
They show it sometimes on tv but current F1 cars go from 0-200 kph in 4.6 secs including reaction time.
7th April 2022, 8:24
But they are talking about 0-60Mph which is harder to calculate. Also the temperature of the tyres are important to make them sticky.
6th April 2022, 17:06
I agree with you, but would add as the #1 reason I don’t watch is the sound….Nothing visceral about the FE without the rumble that gets into your bones…then to add insult, they just sound horrible. Even F1 is a far cry from the sounds that made them so unreal years ago. Go listen to a Nascar race, if those go electric, they’re done too. Speed 0-60 is nice, but the music of a well tune motor can’t be denied. Just look at the aftermarket for cat back exhausts, extra power it nice, but the sound is what sells them.
6th April 2022, 8:44
For me, there are 3 main reason I don’t watch very often.
Firstly, I don’t like the tracks they usually race on. I get that it’s probably great if you’re going to a race to have it in a city rather than at a proper circuit but on TV, it looks poor. On the odd occasion where they race on an actual track, it’s much more enjoyable to watch.
Secondly, the gimmicks. I don’t need to say any more there as it’s already been discussed to death. As soon as I hear fanboost mentioned, I’m looking for my phone or the remote.
Finally, the constant power saving. The whole thing is built around trying to save enough power to get to the finish. It makes it much less enjoyable to watch.
6th April 2022, 10:01
Gee, I’m sure glad F1 doesn’t have anything like this going on…..
Thankfully F1 doesn’t rely on any ‘gimmicks’ either….
And F1’s tracks? Well they are just the best. Especially recently, with classics such as Jeddah, Yas Marina, Paul Ricard and, sadly, the recently departed Sochi. Let’s not forget the upcoming Miami and Las Vegas, of course!
6th April 2022, 10:19
S, mate, I’m worried about you. The quality of your commentary has dropped to agonizingly low levels :( Come on man!
Petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) had made perfectly reasonable arguments on the subject of FE, and you just unleash a bitter rant about F1 as if that negated his arguments about FE, which it obviously doesn’t.
If he had stated that fish are wet, saying that whales are wet too neither negates nor confirms anything about the wetness of fish. Come on, S!
6th April 2022, 10:38
No bitter rant there.
Just making it abundantly clear that F1 and FE are not direct competitors aiming for the same audience or marketing space.
They are two intentionally different and unique series.
Saying that you don’t like one because it isn’t like the other that you do like is hardly productive, is it?
If ‘F1’s type’ is your preference, then FE isn’t for you. They don’t want you.
6th April 2022, 11:17
Then why is and has Agag continuously pushed for a merger of Formula 1 and Formula E, if they’re so different and not targeting the same audience?
6th April 2022, 11:37
Because Agag wants F1’s marketing reach, public image and, of course, their finances.
One day, F1 may well want Formula E’s FIA electric open-wheel series rights…
Today – and for the near future – they are separate series, doing separate things and attracting largely separate competitors, sponsors and viewers.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
6th April 2022, 13:50
I could be wrong, but I think F1 fans are exactly the sort of people FE wants to attract. I mean, who got into open wheel motorsport without first being exposed to F1 at some level? Maybe indycar fans in the states? I can’t imagine there’d be that many people inspired to get into openwheelers via FE.
6th April 2022, 14:22
S, I would disagree, F1 has stolen the FE audience — the young viewers FE was targeting (with the electronic music playing in the background during the race and Fan Boost) have been won over by Drive to Survive and are now watching F1. So yes, they are in direct competition aiming for the same audience and F1 (read Liberty, because Bernie wanted nothing but “rich” fans) have run a master class in marketing and entertainment.
6th April 2022, 11:08
Totally agree and in that order. It is unbearable to watch on TV. Nothing but fences. I have never managed to watch longer than 10 mins.
NS Biker (@rekibsn)
6th April 2022, 23:53
Guess that makes me half the man as I only lasted about 5 minutes.
I tried, really I did.
6th April 2022, 12:36
I agree with points 1 and 3. I am neutral to point 2.
Deifinitely, the street track make the race look bad.
Either the cars are too wide or the track to narrow.
Anyway, it makes the race looks slow and/or cumbersome.
Also it makes it look like the tech is not ready for high perfomance racing.
6th April 2022, 18:15
The only place I’m likely to hear “fanboost” is if I read this stuff out loud.
That’s the primary reason I don’t watch FE – watched a couple of seasons and then decided the gimmick content outweighed everything else.
The departure of various motor manufacturers is probably largely down to the restrictions on energy use/recovery – why compete in something where you showcase your ability to make decent powerchains?
6th April 2022, 8:52
I don’t watch (often) because I simply because I don’t have the time to follow F1 as avidly as I do (all practices, qualy and race) AND another formula.
I’m sure if I did have the time to watch regularly I would get into it more, and to be fair I have quite enjoyed the few races I have squeezed in, however as @petebaldwin states, some of the tracks are somewhat uninspiring.
6th April 2022, 9:10
I agree with @hazelsouthwell I watched the first few races this year, downloaded the app but even I missed some of the action as had no idea where it was being shown or the times it was on (they seemed a bit random). So I was actively trying to watch it but found it hard to know how too. The casual watcher is never going to put effort in and will only watch by accident. Then they had this massive break…. Help yourselves FE cause the first few races this year were quite good.
6th April 2022, 21:25
I caught the Mexico race on channel 4 and it was pretty good. But that was by pure chance and I have no idea when the next race will be on. Hazel’s right about it needing a regular slot (I’d say the same about F1 too).
6th April 2022, 8:53
“There’s nothing wrong with the racing, which is better than ever.”
And this is where we differ, Hazel. There’s a lot wrong with the racing, which is precisely the reason I can’t really care about Formula E. For one, it’s not so much racing as it is literal bumper cars. A lot of overtakes require a driver to put their opponent in the wall, off the track, or just push them aside in general. None of which is ever penalised so fair game. I can’t call that racing even if I’m being as generous as I can. Then add to that some of the gimmicks to make it more arcade than sim races -if you’ll allow me the comparison with video games- and we’re even further from what I’d call racing.
Then there’s the usual issues, the uninspired tracks is one of the major ones, sometimes on literal parking lots. That are often appearing empty and devoid of any atmosphere.
There’s things to like too, the new qualifying format is fun, it could be a bit better organised with less downtime between parts but overall a good improvement. It definitely helps take some of the randomness out of who runs at the front and appears to better award being a better driver rather than just the most fortunate one. The pre-show is often entertaining, as is commentary (if you’re able to get the English world feed), so that’s good.
I think Formula E, once they get yet another bout of more powerful cars, really needs to move to a more traditional pure racing experience. Give us some real racing, but with electric cars. Ditch the gimmicks, get rid of attack mode, fan boosts, all off of it. And perhaps that will get interest to rise. They do need to move away from pay TV in countries where that is the option to watch FE, until you build legitimate interest, locking your product behind a paywall is not the way to grow.
6th April 2022, 15:49
Sorry, but this “bumper cars” line reeks of F1-elitism. The only reason F1 allows next to no car-to-car contact is because they are racing in hugely fragile, billion-dollar cars that are not built to do anything but do fast laps.
Many motorsport series allow limited contact, to a greater or lesser extent. Are you arguing that Touring Cars races are not “real racing”? If so, you really need to broaden your horizons dude – get down to Snetterton or Oulton Park or even your local stock car oval this weekend and you will see some real racing, trust me.
FE does not need to copy and paste F1’s rule book or ettiquette.
6th April 2022, 17:26
I think the problem is that these are professional drivers making amateurish, dive-bombing, push-aside moves that they wouldn’t do in any other category. It has been ingrained in the series over the years and the stewarding is too poor to do take any action against drivers moving all over the place on the straights and during braking to basically push the overtaking driver to the wall. This is of course primarily a function of the poorly designed tracks.
Otherwise, the calendar is simply rubbish. Not even low-cost junior series have such a shabby schedule that breaks any interest one may have in the season.
With Gen 3, the series has to move to better designed tracks even if it means less street races as the more powerful cars will look even more ridiculous on the current tracks. They also need to have a schedule with a regular cadence even if they want to reduce overlap with the other series.
Otherwise, I am not sure whom they are trying to appeal to other than the people residing in the area around the tracks.
6th April 2022, 17:48
I think it’s weird to throw this towards “elitism” when someone comments on driving standards in FE. You can enjoy it as much as you like, you do you, but I don’t find any pleasure in watching guys push other people off of the track or into walls to gain a position. If that’s racing for you, cool, it’s not for me, “dude.”
6th April 2022, 23:54
I don’t really get your reply, @graham228221, as it seems to me you’re barking up the wrong tree.
You seem to ignore the difference between open and closed wheel racing. Contact results are entirely different between the two, and therefor the rules and/or the stewarding on them are different too. FE may be open wheel in name, but they have these wheel covers. Then those tracks without overtaking space, so 1 + 1 = 2.
Furthermore, I don’t think @sjaakfoo would disagree on with you on the racing on Snetterton or Oulton Park. But let’s turn it around: Do you get to use your phone to vote for fanboost on Snetterton or Oulton Park? Do touringcars or any other formula that race there, have an attackmode? Would you still go there if they had? And if they did have it, would you still consider it ‘real’ racing, whatever ‘real’ might mean?
7th April 2022, 3:03
Also @sjaakfoo is rather twisting the use of English to make a point.
To suggest it is literal bumper cars is being justified because of literal contact. However it really isn’t literal bumper cars in terms of the image you are trying to invoke. A small point, but for me it is a turn off as soon as someone overstates a point or makes a inappropriate ‘literal’ comparison. Less hyperbole is required to be taken seriously.
6th April 2022, 9:08
Just a nuance difference.
It really is hard to watch.
Not because of the accessibility but the way the “races” are setup.
A badly designed Nintendo game with no attractive cars or fights on track. Mario does it better.
Not one f1 fan I know likes fe.
So get rid of the stupid game rules and give more freedom in cardesign and technology.
Put a Tesla as SC and no fe car is able to follow. Bit over the top, but still.
6th April 2022, 10:07
And there are a lot of other motorsports fans who don’t waste their life with F1 either.
Thankfully, F1 and FE are quite different.
I don’t want either of them to be like the other.
6th April 2022, 15:08
Agreed, but that’s not the intention of this article.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
6th April 2022, 17:20
I like Formula 1 and Formula e because they are different motorsports and don’t need to be the same. However, Formula e definitely needs some clear improvements.
One thing I think puts people off is the ridiculous title battle last year which essentially came down to luck, but the new qualifying format should correct that. But perhaps not all fans know about that so far, and it will gradually improve in popularity as we start having real title battles.
The big issue for many is obviously fanboost, which is honestly the worst gimmick in any major motorsport at the moment besides the chase for the championship scoring system in NASCAR. Getting rid of that would improve the size of the fanbase, I’m sure.
Also, as it says in the article, the races all need to be available on the same TV channel.
And finally, Formula e needs to sort out the rulebook. Every time someone gets a drive-through penalty for hitting a bump and going over the required energy amount dents the reputation of the series. There needs to be a rule that says for a brief spike, the penalty is only five seconds. The Valencia farce last year is another example of terrible rules that need to be sorted out for Formula e to be taken seriously, and it probably has been. Similarly, disqualifications for the likes of incorrect barcodes in the past give Formula e a bad name.
Then the entire Ad Diriyah weekend in series 7 was a joke. Firstly, when Muller and co had their laps deleted due to the yellow flag when Sette-Camara went off. On a one-shot qualifying system, that can’t happen, but I don’t think it applies anymore with the new format. Then throwing all the Mercedes-powertrain cars out of qualifying because an issue on their powertrains might have caused the Mortara crash. Ultimately, it was the cause, so it was okay, but the investigation should have happened before throwing them out of qualifying. And then in that race, Vergne and others were penalised for not using an attack mode when the safety car had come out with 12 minutes to go so there was no option too. Another thing, possibly, is the Lucas di Grassi incident in London. That was possibly my favourite moment in the history of Formula e, but it did make a mockery out of the series and the rulebook should have been stricter to stop that happening.
6th April 2022, 22:05
Not often I agree with you, Erikje. But bang on.
7th April 2022, 17:34
Erikje, the world may end because we’ve found something that both agree on totally. :)
Let the motor manufacturers design high spec electric PU’s with as much energy recovery as they can manage. Just a limit on the total charge when they pull out of the pit.
No fanboost, no fancy bits of the course you have to accurately pass over to allow you to use excess energy. After all, if your recovery system is second to none, then you have effectively more available than others, so you don’t need the Nintendo features.
Then they can put the equivalent technology in road cars and encourage electric use in the public arena
6th April 2022, 9:17
“There’s nothing wrong with the racing, which is better than ever.”
Imho there is a lot wrong with FE. A little bit of contact is fine, but I personally do think it’s too much bumper cars. I hate attack mode, I hate fan boost (are we playing Mario Kart, where someone from behind gets a rocket???!?) and I hate, that the battery will be artificially constrained if a safetycar is on track.
The tracks are awful with many tight corners and those on a real racetrack have chicanes, where normally there isn’t any (except Monaco if I remember correctly).
What I personally want:
Streetcircuits and Racetracks. Racetracks without any artificial chicanes. Flat-out racing. If there is a safety car on track because of a wreckage, then we see some “qualifying” performance after that, as everybody has xy-percent more battery for the remaining racetime.
If they can’t get the 1h racing, then limit it to ~45min depending on the track.
Make it broadly available on Youtube / Twitch, free to watch and at best not at the same time as some “main” competiton e.g. F1, F2, F3, W-Series and so on.
Hazel Southwell (@hazelsouthwell)
6th April 2022, 11:31
The safety car rule has been changed to extending race time this season.
6th April 2022, 15:57
Yep. I’m in the States and have tried a couple of times to watch race replays but have just given up as I can’t seem to find them. I have no idea where/when the races are broadcast here. The fan boost B.S. and the arcane power saving (?) that goes on just puzzle me. A straight race on a real track might be interesting but I suspect FE is uncomfortable with comparing lap times vs other series, like F3 or even F4…….. I think there’s potential but it’s being wasted.
6th April 2022, 20:44
I thought we were discussing Formula E, not Formula 1?????
6th April 2022, 9:28
It just doesn’t have much of an identity yet and almost certainly has suffered because of the constant meddling in the series. I’m not sure people want or need another spec racing series and the electric motor factor doesn’t differentiate the series enough to give it a good brand yet.
I’d quite like to see them move away from being a spec series to allow more innovation in the sport but that’s unlikely to happen until the sport has a significant fanbase because the costs would rise for the constructors. Of course if you get an established fanbase they may want to keep the spec nature as that what attracted them in the first place.
Ultimately if we ever get cars that are pushing out power closer to F1 levels and remove the gimmicks there is a good series there at its core but the question is will the series survive until the technology gets to where it needs to be. They must improve the coverage in the media of the sport too.
6th April 2022, 9:34
I’ve found Singapore and Sochi the most tedious F1 races to watch on TV (& I’ve been to the Sing GP twice – also not that exciting in person).
For me it’s down to those tracks being mostly undifferentiated 2D tunnels delineated by concrete wire and hoardings.
FE was very watchable on the Monaco, Spain and Mexico circuits where it was opened up for at least part of the track last year.
Nobody is rushing out to buy a transformer after seeing the 423rd ABB sign anyway.
The competition was too random last year (and IIRC had its own RD problems) but I think the qually changes this year may allow some season long performance arcs to appear.
6th April 2022, 9:45
I quite like the racing, even if it’s messy, but totally get why people don’t. I enjoy FE and want it to grown, but for me though, the problems really are:
1. Showing up randomly on different channels or just on a digital service. It did this on Channel 5, ITV, BBC and now Channel 4. Why has it never addressed this? When it was on BBC iPlayer it was sometimes buried deep in the menu or missing entirely until about 5 minutes before the race, and that was a far better service than Channel 4’s offering, so in terms of accessibility it’s gone backwards this season. I’m out this weekend and with F1 to catch up on too, I may not get round to trying to navigate C4
2. Development. The appeal of a ‘formula’ is that teams must develop a car, and some parts are developed, but as far as I can tell the electric bits are mostly fixed spec, which kind of defeats the point. If I’m wrong about that, and I may well be, then FE has a perception issue and needs to promote what it’s doing to improve electic car tech far better than it curently does
3. Fanboost Fanboost Fanboost. It’s always felt like when they came up with the series there was some horrid out-of-touch marketing meeting about how to engage the ‘yoof’ and this was the result. Something which perceptually badly disrupts the purity of the racing, but in reality has little effect and is pointless. I’ve never known any fan to like it and I cannot fathom at all why it has persisted. It could be removed with barely any consequence to the racing. I can live with the other power up novelties as at least the rules are equal for all, but Fanboost has always been a massive own goal for FE
6th April 2022, 9:46
*grow. Edit button please
6th April 2022, 10:17
How many “Formula” series can you name (other than F1) that do allow development?
And how much development do they allow?
I look forward to seeing an exceptionally small list.
6th April 2022, 10:38
Maybe I phrased it badly, but why does it matter what other series are doing? It is a small list, because most are feeder series which need to be as affordable as possible. But FE is not that, it brands itself as the pinnacle of electric racing and is often at pains to promote itself as something different. Affordability/sustainability is still a big factor, but it is also a manufacturer and technology showcase. What motivation would Porsche have to enter if it had to do exactly the same as Mercedes? FE allows for some development and differentiation in the cars, so it’s not trying to be a spec series.
6th April 2022, 11:01
Which it is. Vastly different to F1, and to most other forms of motor racing. They have carved their niche.
Pinnacle or not (whatever that means) – it doesn’t need to have the same features that another self-described ‘pinnacle’ has.
There is very little about a FE car that isn’t spec. The chassis is entirely spec. The tyres are spec. The aero is spec.
A small amount of tinkering can be done with the battery and motor, but they all still need to be approximately the same performance for the series to work.
That’s not a technical competition.
What motivation would Porsche have to do the same as Mercedes? Great question.
Also, why do manufacturers go racing at all?
A: Marketing. Brand awareness, perception and sales. Making money.
The sporting and technical aspects are very much a secondary consideration.
6th April 2022, 9:58
Race on real circuits, on proper slicks. No fanboost, no gimmicks.
6th April 2022, 10:50
6th April 2022, 9:59
Crap tracks and crap gimmicks. Until they’re gone, I’m not interested.
6th April 2022, 10:12
I tried, but the racing was pretty bad, very slow and gimmicky, and the tracks make it really boring aswell. Once in a while i take a look, but it havent improved much. I hope they can spice it up more, hopefully by using more exciting cars, exciting tracks, better cleaner racing and less gimmicks.
6th April 2022, 10:51
I want to watch a race, not a videogame.
Race on real race tracks, get rid of all the other stupid things and let the drivers race
6th April 2022, 10:51
That FE even has this audience of, apparently, hundreds of millions of viewers (though I suppose Ecclestone’s old trick of ‘watching the highlights counts’ might factor into this) probably already makes it one of the biggest series in the world in terms of an audience. So apparently there’s an interest. It’ll be interesting to see if and how fast they can recover from COVID. Most cities should be open to having new big events now.
Personally, I tried watching FE a number of times but found the combination of formula cars on the small and narrow circuits a turnoff. I get the reasoning behind bringing electric cars to the cities, but I’m not sure it was a good idea to combine that with what are effectively junior formula racing cars. These single seater cars are made to perform at tracks like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, and Monza – fast circuits with fast corners. If you want to race on narrow city tracks with short straights and slow corners, why not put the drivers in a bunch of electric hatchbacks that are given proper racing suspensions and tyres.
6th April 2022, 11:14
I mean, it’s guaranteed to be “magic” numbers that don’t align with reality, but since everyone does the same trickery, it evens out if used for comparison’s sake like in this article.
Legitimately, the YouTube view counts say it all, FE has only 712k subscribers and most videos get under 50k views, only live sessions and race highlights (200k~350k viewers) occasionally breaking the pattern and overperforming on that. It wouldn’t be fair to compare to F1 (7,3 million subs and 7m~10m+ views on race highlights). But when we compare to W Series, we see FE is miles ahead. That gets 41k subscribers and generally under 20k views on videos, with race highlights sometimes getting 30k-ish views. So while I’ve no doubt Hazel is correct about the UK numbers (which are poor for either), overall it seems FE is at least getting more worldwide appeal and should be able to grow its audience better by improving on aspects of its show.
6th April 2022, 11:01
FE has never seemed interest in attracting actual fans, only in impressing sponsors who want to greenwash their image. E.g. the confusing screen graphics, where all cars are represented in light blue. For a first time watcher, it’s impossible to know which car is which and to follow the race. The drab circuits which all look the same on TV. Disqualifying the winning car for a problem that was known at the start, making the whole race a sham. Fanboost, which goes against every sporting principle and makes a laughing stock of FE. There just doesn’t seem any interest from FE leadership to improve things.
6th April 2022, 11:08
So many completely misunderstand what Formula E actually is, does and attempts to achieve.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – here on a F1 fansite.
6th April 2022, 16:07
Seems that would be a good reason for FE to re-think how they present the series. If ‘so many completely misunderstand’ is the problem with the ‘many’ or the presenter? I think it’s the latter….
7th April 2022, 0:14
So, do the honors then and explain – in depth, please.
ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh)
7th April 2022, 23:01
I understand it, I just don’t really like it.
8th April 2022, 6:38
SteveR and Coventry – OK I shall explain. FE is trying not to be F1.
And @ferrox-glideh – that’s perfectly OK and understandable. Take it or leave it.
Adrian Hancox (@ahxshades)
6th April 2022, 11:10
I am a motorsports fan in my mid 50s, and I will watch anything with a motor / engine race so this is not an F1 v FE rant, I enjoy both series – and many others besides. The problems have been laid out above quite clearly, but to add my voice – my issues with watching Formula E are:
1: The tracks – soul-less concrete street tunnels. I enjoy “knowing” a track and I’m sure we all learn new tracks quite quickly as many have easily visible differences (even Monaco – which I think is an anachronism). The barriers and fences remove any eye-catching interest from the circuit and makes it more difficult to really follow the action for me. Maybe my age I don’t know.
2: Where is it showing this week. I know when and where I can get my fix of Formula 1, 2, 3, Nascar, Indy, DTM, Aussie Supercars, MotoGP etc. etc. etc. I can find them easily and watch or record as necessary. As noted in the article above – if I want to watch FE I have to play hunt the channel or hunt the platform which to be honest doesn’t help it in a busy motorsports market. If I happen to notice it is on then I will go for it – but until it has a stable, consistent, visible home I cant say I will go hunt it regularly.
Anyway – ranting of an old man over.
Take care and me kind.
6th April 2022, 11:11
To me FE would be an option if they take it to proper tracks. Watching nothing but fences is horrible. Quite frankly I wonder why they bother at all to broadcast it. It is simply not good television.
6th April 2022, 11:13
Firstly, I will say FE has done very well all things considered for a new racing series… but to venture into this I will start with the idea Formula E lacks cultural relevance. Any Motorsport that isn’t backed by some cultural groundings (or loses them) is destined to decline. The electric road car buying market doesn’t seem to embrace electric racing the same way the original motorsports did. Tesla isn’t interesting in racing pretty much either.
So it’s very much harder to build that fundamental base of people who have a cultural interest in Formula E (and it’s important coz they are your solid fans. Not here today gone tomorrow fans). Formula E pretty much is relying upon petrol racing fans still as a draw because that’s a base who already understand racing. Everyone chats about IndyCar, but if that started today and didn’t have 50 odd years of history and the Indy500… it’d be a sideshow that no one cared about.
The culture issue is bigger that it may appear too. The problem with environmentally conscious electric racing is environmentally conscious people aren’t really sold on the idea that motorsport can be environmentally friendly. It’s just not. So FE can find itself in a no man’s land of trying to appeal to two very separate groups. If there isn’t a big number of young people getting their hands dirty with their own electric cars etc… it’s hard to develop that strong culture that you need for continued growth and success.
And without that culture, no one will care who wins and who doesn’t. It becomes disposable for a lot of people. F1, MotoGP etc… are still held up by the cultural infrastructure set up decades and decades ago.
FE needs to look at the fundamentals, and that begins with culture. Everything else is decoration. They’ve actually done VERY well to get this far be honest.
6th April 2022, 11:18
I’ve only watched a couple of races, and only for a fee minutes. My main objection (here in the UK) is the hysterical commentator trying to hype it up, screaming that one car is catching up another etc. And when one car overtakes another…..
6th April 2022, 11:49
6th April 2022, 11:33
I get the ranting about all that F1 is and FE isn’t, but I think the article is spot on. While not a fan, I have enjoyed watching a lot of FE races, but more often than not I learned that there was a race with a article on this site spoiling the result, or I found it on TV only on an italian channel, or for some reason one race of the two-race week-end was televised while the other wasn’t. I am tired chasing FE on TV when the value of it is still quite far from the F1 excitement. Coumpounding it, the TV production has been bad lately and seemed designed for the attention span of a 8-year old. Frantic shots of cars without any continuity makes it very hard to identify which cars you are actually watching. When FE started, it was clearly oversold. Now it looks undersold.
6th April 2022, 11:48
Given I’m watching less F1, I now have room for watching other race series.
However, I’m a bit lazy and watch ones I know about and can find easily.
Hazel is spot on. FE is just too hard to find, and doesn’t promote itself well at all. I’m stunned at the number of times I see an article on here about a race result, or qualifying result without even knowing there was a race on.
Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
6th April 2022, 12:27
@dbradock: “…I’m stunned at the number of times I see an article on here about a race result, or qualifying result without even knowing there was a race on.”
Exactly! I completely mirror that sentiment. A great point.
6th April 2022, 11:52
Hard to disagree with the main thrust of the article. The slightly laughably named “TV” deals which are mostly relegating the races to streaming platforms are the main issue – BBC was at least upfront that most of the races weren’t on the main channels whereas C4 were much more cynical in their wording of it, somehow. I watch it on Eurosport, who to be fair to them have got reasonably committed at showing the races live and some of the quali live (and if not live then mostly giving a replay or highlights of it).
For me the series lost its way a bit in the last few years with the bad group qualifying format which generated entirely random grids and race results and meant essentially everyone went into the last race with a shot at the championship. It just felt a mess to me – you do need SOME sort of championship story narrative. The new quali system works a lot better, but that does mean the races are a bit more predictable in putting the fastest cars to the front. Though there is still quite a random element as the cars do have quite a large variability in speed at different parts of the race given the efficiency they are trying to hit, so a lot of the overtakes feel a bit bland, like FE’s equivalent of DRS drive-by passes, if someone is totally off throttle to save energy.
The tracks, as others say, are almost unremittingly terrible. Mexico is rubbish but it gets a great crowd by FE standards in the stadium so gets a pass. Rome they changed a bit in recent years, but its still for me their best bespoke street circuit. And once they went to almost-proper-Monaco rather than short-Monaco I liked that. But every other FE circuit is crap. The London one last season was a glorified go-kart circuit, not a world championship event.
In terms of gimmicks I can’t care about fanboost, it so rarely feels relevant in any way – but for not achieving much impact it annoys plenty of other folk who might watch, so just get rid. And attack mode is a bit…boring, if I’m honest. It’s used too defensively because it’s a “penalty loop” type lap to get it. Just let them activate when they want to, y’know, attack.
My main problem though is that it just hasn’t progressed that much in terms of speed or distance. In the early years you could see them increasing the distances as they got better in efficiency. But since they capped the race in terms of time you don’t get to see that progress, and there’s not much development going on. Its a small step forward to extend the race distance when the SC is out, rather than just steal the energy from them, but I’d like to see them commit to making the distances harder to hit rather than time limit it. Perhaps the Gen3 car will move things on another step.
Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
6th April 2022, 12:26
The article nails it – even as someone who feels quite plugged into Formula E, I never seem to know when the races are on.
When Formula E was announced I felt that in time it may usurp F1 as it becomes more “relevant”, but instead it’s become hidden in the schedules. It feels like Formula E and Extreme E should be more popular than they are, and I think it mainly comes down to marketing. The racing series are good and lot sof the drivers are familiar faces, but largely invisible.
….maybe they need a Netflix TV show to introduce more folk to it!
6th April 2022, 12:31
I will admit to not knowing a huge amount about FE, but my primary gripe is that it doesn’t feel like motorsport, or at least in a way that’s comparable to any other series.
There’s much to praise, and the series launched very well a few years ago. But given that it was designed from the ground-up to have artificial gimmicks (fanboost being the primary concern), is it aiming to entice diehards like us, or is it more concerned with the average person on the street who wouldn’t care as much? If it’s the latter, then Hazel is correct about the broadcasting issue – walling itself away from the general public is dooming it to fail.
I’d also broadly agree with Alan Dove’s comment above – the culture just isn’t there. A few years ago, it felt like a series that existed to make Twitter headlines, not real world ones. Don’t know if that’s still the case now though.
6th April 2022, 12:33
Nice article – I felt like a huge fan of Formula E in the early years, attending two of the Battersea Park e-prix and watching all the races. But in the past few years I’ve lost a lot of interest in it, but I struggle to really understand why as whenever I do remember to catch a race it is, as you say, almost always thoroughly entertaining.
I think my enthusiasm waned during the week-long Berlin rounds, I appreciate they were making the best of a bad situation but it just didn’t work for me. Probably that combined the complete farce in Valencia 2021.
I think FE could make two easy changes, and one harder change, to improve things:
1. (easy) Drop Fanboost. I personally don’t have a problem with it and I think it’s no more gimmicky than DRS or “designed-to-degrade” tires. But there is a huge portion of racing fans that seem to passionately hate it. Dropping it would make next to no difference to FE, but be a big symbolic gesture to “PrOpEr RaCiNg FaNs”
2. (easy-ish) Start to drop the focus on artificial energy efficiency. I just don’t understand why this is seen as important. Probably the biggest hang up with EVs for the general public is range anxiety, so why have we got Formula E cars running out of energy on the last laps of every race and crawling to the finish line? How is this a good image for the EV industry? And I don’t care about the “energy management is part of FE’s DNA”, the series is less then a decade old, it doesn’t have any DNA.
Give the cars a per lap energy usage limit if there must be an efficiency element, but ideally…
3. (hard) Allow wider power chain development, particularly batteries. Battery technology is obviously the key part of EVs, so if FE was actually making a difference as an R&D testbed in this area it would bring a lot of credibility and relevance. I suspect it would bring in a ton of interest from both “proper race fans” and the EV crowd, neither of which have many reasons to tune in.
6th April 2022, 12:38
I would watch it if I could but they put it behind paywalls that are more expensive than F1. Perhaps if I had time to become invested I might pay but it’s always been insanely hard to find out how to watch. So I gave up. They’ve really made it hard for themselves. I would love to support FE but it seems pretty clear they aren’t interested in fans or views.
6th April 2022, 12:51
I’d love to watch it but I already subscribe to F1 TV, unless they want to offer it as part of a package with that, it just isn’t going to happen. I’d be interested in the W series as well being part of it.
I also don’t know how to watch it otherwise in the states. Admittedly, I haven’t really looked into it either. I’m a cord cutter so I don’t have ESPN or Fox Sports.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
6th April 2022, 13:03
It’s not really all that different from lots of other forms of motorsport. Sure people will have a passing interest but if you’re interested in open wheelers, you’ll dedicate your time to F1. I don’t think FE can really compete. I love motorsport but I don’t care to watch FE with anywhere near the same level of dedication. The best cars and the best drivers (generally) are in F1.
6th April 2022, 16:34
If you are interested in open-wheelers, then you’ll watch open-wheelers and appreciate each series for what it uniquely offers, @tommy-c. They are all different – no one is objectively ‘better’ or more deserving of attention than the others.
The best of anything – sportspeople and automotive engineers included – are spread all over, and many don’t even do it professionally or full-time.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
6th April 2022, 20:59
I agree, but I think the viewer statistics demonstrate my point. FE will never have the fan base F1 has achieved.
6th April 2022, 13:14
Hazel is right. It’s truly a marketing issue. I watch F1, IndyCar and sometimes W Series and NASCAR. My next car purchase will be an eV. I follow several motorsport media outlets. And yet:
*I was unaware until a moment ago that FE is on its fourth race of the season.
*I know nothing about the Gen3 car.
*My primary takeaway from motorsport media is that BMW, Audi, and Merc have/are departing. And
that Merc announced its decision to leave after winning the driver and constructors championships.
*I have no idea when the next race is, unless something jogs my memory (like this article) and causes me to look it up.
*I do not know if I have access to watch the race, although this is likely because I use a streaming TV service instead of traditional cable.
*On the plus side I can name/have a positive impression of three drivers.
BTW would it have killed them to run FE once as a support series? I see they both run Monaco, and I *think* it’s the same circuit. Why in God’s name are they a week apart? FE might be the welcome break from the F1 procession!
6th April 2022, 15:28
F1 is not in the habit of bolstering the commercial value of what is a rival series.
6th April 2022, 18:22
It’s not though. They fall under FIA just like F2 and F3.
7th April 2022, 7:05
Not at all. It has FIA World Championship status. It isn’t single make and has manufacturers. F3 and F2 are billed as direct feeders into F1 and play a clear subservient role.
6th April 2022, 13:18
The duels qualifying format is better than what they had before but I still don’t think it’s that good. The initial segments with multiple cars on track is fine but when you get to the duals with 2 cars on track at a time & as they go through to the final it just for me lacks tension & excitement. It has a lot of the things I hate about single car/lap formats but now where your trying to watch 2 cars instead of 1 & when they use the split-screen layout you can’t watch both laps so it’s just distracting.
They have some interesting circuits but most are still uninspiring, flat & featureless circuits that just aren’t fun to watch.
The racing can be good but there’s still a bit too much bumper cars at times, It’s not as bad as it was but it’s still more touring car than open wheel at times.
And I don’t like the fan boost or attack mode gimmicks. Attack mode has seemed to be especially powerful more recently & has been producing half way down straights that is just as bad as the easiest passes you see in F1 with DRS.
There’s also just something about how Formula E races play out with the field yo-yoing around so much which makes them harder to follow & more difficult to understand when you look at the end result.
Energy management is maybe a bit more important than i’d like it to be but on the whole it doesn’t really bother me too much as managing various components to varying degrees has been an element of the sport going back to it’s inception & there has been times over the past in F1 (Especially in the mid 80’s) where fuel management has been just as big a factor.
Mal Ross (@malross)
6th April 2022, 13:19
Best (and most needed) motorsport article I’ve read in a LONG time. Nice one.
Fingers crossed FE and Channel 4 are reading this.
6th April 2022, 13:30
This should have never been a spec series from day one. What if F1 had been a spec series. Would we still have the same interest? I want to see a group of university students up against a Chinese company I cannot pronounce. I want to see team X come out with something that might catch fire on track or might just be the next revolutionary technology.
Battery and electric technology is in its infancy and this should be the testing ground for all kinds of new concepts. Think of the improvements that have trickled down from F1 into supercars and then into our own daily commuters. Those improvements are how you get multiple hatchbacks making over 300hp.
Electric racing is like F1 in early days. It is young and needs room to grow. Give me a cost cap, few rules, certain safety regulations, and let the rest evolve.
6th April 2022, 18:14
Good post above. FE currently competes against F1 and other series on the same terms, but FE is fundamentally unable to put on the same visual spectacle because the cars are heavier and slower (personally, even gokarts are better to watch because FE cars are just so unbalanced and cumbersome). FE simply cannot compete on the same terms.
By making FE a spec series theyve taken away the only angle they could create a unique product with, so it sits in no-mans land. The best angle they could take was to let manufacturers go a bit crazy with unrestricted designs and with constant in-season development pushing boundaries. Like that they could sell the angle of being the pinnacle of future engineering, while F1 by that standard then becomes the more conservative spec series.
Also fanboost is garbage and any sport with this sort of stuff is unwatchable. Hard stop.
6th April 2022, 14:22
For me one of the reasons for not following FE much anymore is certainly that I have better access to F1 (through F1 TV) nowadays, as well as the huge amount of F1 races filling many weekends.
But on the other hand, I feel the biggest issue to following it for me currently is eactly what you point to:
I rarely know when to expect the next race to be (those gaps, seemingly no stability in the calendar etc), and I really don’t have a clue where I would even be able to watch it where I live – I think it’s through cable (only offered in a few cities over here), satellite, or possibly through O2 TV subscription (VOIP), and I see no advertising or information on it online.
6th April 2022, 17:18
This is the big issue for me too. When I have watched it, it’s because I’ve accidentally seen it was on while browsing TV. I do like the racing (gimmicks aside), and would watch it more often, but I have no idea when the races are or what channel I can watch it on. If it’s been relegated to YouTube in the UK, then I’m even less likely to accidentally catch a live race.
6th April 2022, 14:38
Does it make kids want to shout “brrrrraaaamm!” and run around the house, wrestling an imaginary steering wheel? Surely that’s the fundamental essence of motorsport.
6th April 2022, 16:39
Any motorsport can do that if the kids’ interest is supported and encouraged.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
6th April 2022, 21:03
I’ve tried. No it doesn’t. They always stick to something resembling 90s F1…
6th April 2022, 15:10
For me, there is a huge elephant in the room: I utterly fail to connect with FE as car racing, because, somewhere inside, in some deep dark place, they are not racing cars to me.
Look, I know, rationally, that, of course, FE cars are cars. I know, and genuinely appreciate, that electric vehicles are the future, and that rightfully they should be so. I have no doubt that my next car will be electric, and I won’t miss my fossil burning car, the smell, the noise, the pollution.
But, yet, to me, electric vehicles are just that: vehicles, not cars. And, somehow, that turns me off from FE.
I mean, I happily watch Formula W. The racing isn’t always that particularly great, but somehow it still excites me. FE simply doesn’t.
I am not, nor have I ever been, anything like a “petrolhead”. Really not. I don’t have any conscious emotional ties to the internal combustion engine, and I found Top Gear with its fetich for things-that-go-WROOOM ridiculous. And yet, FE leaves me cold.
I know I probably shouldn’t feel this way, and, somehow I may even feel a bit ashamed of it. But I won’t watch FE just because I feel that I ought to. So, I don’t
It is different for other, and probably better, people. But I simply fail to connect.
6th April 2022, 21:59
Can recognize that. Its strange how for some of us the transition from petrol to electrical also has the subtle secondary effect of transforming a car into something much more emotionally sterile, more akin to a kitchen appliance. Its not that we cannot appreciate it will be better for pollution, noise and comfort, etc. but it is just not an adventurous vehicle anymore, and you certainly cannot be a brave and courageous driver if youre basically driving a high powered electrical bumper car from the local amusement park – dont know, but it just feels too pg-13 to be exciting.
6th April 2022, 16:02
Get rid of the annoying sound effects during the TV broadcast and maybe I’ll watch it again.
And while you are on it, get proper race tracks.
6th April 2022, 16:36
I realise that this site is now called “racefans.net”, but some of us have been here since it was “f1fanatic.co.uk”, and frankly, are not interested (due to time constraints and family life etc) in any other series. I have been a paid site supporter since around 2012, and I wish that the site had never changed from its F1 focus.
Nothing else comes close. I’ve been to Grand Prix, and back in the mists of time, even attended an A1GP event.
Formula E suffers from the same issues as A1GP does, to an extent: it’s a spec-series, and the major appeal of F1 (for me) is the technological battles between constructors.
Also, street circuits are dull.
6th April 2022, 17:20
Man, I really miss A1GP. I think they got a bit unlucky in launching with the new car at the same time as the global financial crisis. It offered something different from the regular single-spec series.
One thing I would say about Formula E is it does have technological battles in the drive trains, but the problem is that’s not very visible, and all the cars look the same, so that technological battle is not obvious or intuitive to understand.
6th April 2022, 17:29
The most underappreciated thing about F1 is the amount of copy your can write about, especially during the winter. Rule interpretations, which team will nail he regs etc… The create an enormous narrative. The fact people are trying to combat that is I find somewhat odd because it’s pretty much the bedrock of F1’s success as a sport.
6th April 2022, 17:50
The broadcasting of Formula E, W Series and Extreme-E are so poorly managed and promoted its beyond laughable.
I’m sure its easier to sign up to contracts that promise a dedicated YouTube or BBC Red Button broadcast, but at the end of the day the easy option is never the best option if you want to grow your audience.
I was excited when BBC first announced it had the FE rights, thinking they’d own it like they did F1. The reality? They didn’t even create a dedicated FE sports page (I even struggled to find out any details on races or the race calendar on the generic ‘Motorsport’ page!). Then C4 took on the rights and I thought finally, they know how valuable FE is and how they can make it their equivalent to a live F1 race. But again they did the same, if not worse, putting it on some random sports YouTube channel I never even know C4 had.
Fix the broadcast rights and channels, and everything else will follow. Not everyone has a smart TV, and not everyone watches their content on their mobile phones. That’s my opinion anyway!
7th April 2022, 7:07
Chicken and egg. If the broadcasters are seeing that the racing isn’t generating enough viewership (by whatever metric they actually value) why would they spend a load of money on it? It’s not like Formula E can just go “hey, fix your broadcasting C4 and BBC” to suit us at the detriment of something else.
6th April 2022, 18:12
When someone comments something in FE could be better, FE fans say “this is not what FE is about, if you don’t like it as it is you shouldn’t watch it.”
I thought that was a fair statement, so I don’t watch it. Perhaps many people did the same.
6th April 2022, 20:04
Formula E needs drama and storylines, which Extreme E has in spades. Perhaps the storytelling and reporting need to be looked at as Formula E has already got great drivers, teams, and manufacturers?
6th April 2022, 23:14
They made getting story lines hard the previous years people in the first qualifying where most of the timed doomed to the back of the grid so you had almost every week different people running everywhere making it all extremely random.
ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh)
6th April 2022, 21:34
Formula E is like a cut rate Indycar series with way too many street tracks and gimmicks (fan boost!?). I wanted to like it, and gave it a chance for a few years, but they eventually lost me. Of course, they had a lot of competition for my attention (F1,2, and 3, WEC, Indycars, Supercars, WRC, DTM, etc- that’s just four-wheel racing). Maybe I will come back to it when the racing becomes as important to the show as it’s “technology showcase” aspect, which is novel, but not particularly entertaining. Maybe electric karting would be better?
6th April 2022, 22:06
That on its own odd enough to make me ignore it.
7th April 2022, 13:53
I like watching things which I buy.
7th April 2022, 20:16
Having races and regulations that easier to follow and don’t require a 6-month foundation course in order to master its intricacies would go a long way too.
Gimmicky, finnicky and nerdy to the point of absurdity.
The essence of most racing is to go as fast as you can for as long as you can while outpacing everyone else.
FE, is anything but.
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