While many of the big names in motor racing initially seemed to distance themselves from Formula E, the electronic car championship set to begin next year, it seems as though many of them are now having second thoughts. The latest to announce plans to have some form of involvement in Formula E is Renault and with the massive financial backing from this company and its reputation in the electric car sector, this is certainly an interesting development.
It is likely that one by one the major sports car companies and electric car companies will finally fall into line. The Formula E championship has gone from being something of a “basket case” in the minds of many business people to one which is perfectly viable and one which will play a major role in the mass-market electric car market going forward.
Why has Renault decided to partake in Formula E now?
There is some speculation that Renault always planned to have a significant presence with Formula E even if the company was a little reluctant to step forward in the early days. Carlos Tavares, the chief operating officer of the Renault group, was quoted as saying “Formula E is something that we are looking at very closely. It is very probable to say that, if it happens, we will be involved in one way or another.”
The company has also reiterated its leading position in the electric car market with its groundbreaking and award-winning alliance with Nissan. The truth is that Formula E would be the perfect testing ground for all electric car technology in the future and it seems that Renault has finally succumbed to its attractions.
Will there be limiters to technology?
There is a growing opinion that Formula E should be very different to Formula One where there are a number of limiters to bring the teams and technologies broadly together. Renault seems to be very keen to run the championship where there are no limits and effectively the best technology will win as opposed to the best “team”. Whether or not this will make for good box office remains to be seen but the fact is that Formula E is and will be the perfect testing ground for future groundbreaking electric car technology.
If the championship organisers do decide to put some form of limiters to bring each and every team onto a level playing field does this not defeat the point? Formula E, perhaps more than Formula One ever has been, will be the testing ground for a major new industry and new technology. If limiters were placed upon the use of certain technologies and certain teams were prevented from performing to their best ability, why would the likes of Renault want to be involved on a long-term basis?
Slowly but surely momentum is growing within the Formula E community although we have yet to see the acid test of whether sports fans will tune in and turn up. If, as Renault would prefer, there are no limiters on this particular form of racing then it could attract all of the major sports car teams who would relish the opportunity to effectively test their new technology and their new cars in such an aggressive and challenging environment.
While we await confirmation of the structure of the Formula E championship, and whether or not there will be any technology limiters, slowly the number of teams interested in partaking continues to grow.