LONDON, UK: A host of celebrities, VIPs, MPs, teams, drivers and press gathered at London’s Roundhouse to celebrate the official Global Launch for the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship.
Hosted by David Garrido, more than 500 guests attended the prestigious event – including motorsport greats Alain Prost, Damon Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi and Sir Frank Williams – which saw organisers reveal a number of key announcements for the world’s first fully-electric race series, which begins in less than three months’ time in Beijing.
The evening began with a video message from FIA President Jean Todt before guests were treated to exclusive footage of the team’s Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E cars driving on Westminster Bridge, together with the backdrop of the iconic Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The incredible scenes were shot the day before to provide fans with a taster of what a Formula E street race will look and sound like.
Formula E & BMW…
Formula E also announced that it is finalising a partnership with leading German automobile manufacturer BMW to become the official vehicle supplier for the series. The agreement would see BMW supply a fleet of its highly advanced fully-electric and hybrid vehicles to be used as course, medical and VIP cars at all race events. Two of the manufacturer’s vehicles – the all-electric BMW i3 and the hybrid BMW i8 – which will be used at the events were also unveiled to guests.
Jörg Reimann, Vice President BMW Brand Experience, said: “We have watched with great interest the continued growth of the new FIA Formula E Championship and the potential it has to significantly increase the interest in sustainable mobility. As a global manufacturer at the forefront of innovation and technology, BMW regards Formula E as a great platform in which to showcase our range of fully-electric and hybrid vehicles and to align our common goals. We are working on an agreement to finalise this partnership.”
Fans to give favorite driver power boost
The championship’s interactive Fan Boost was also officially launched during the evening which will allow fans to vote for their favorite driver giving them an extra ‘speed burst’ during the race, helping to aid overtaking. In a change to the first proposed format, the top three drivers with the most votes will each receive one boost, temporarily increasing their car’s power from 133kw (180bhp) to 200kw (270bhp).
Votes can be cast online at www.fiaformulae.com and via the official Formula E app (which launches September 1) with voting opening from the start of the previous race and closing shortly before the start of the race.
The online voting system (iframe) will also be hosted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.
Every time a vote is placed it can be shared forwards as a hashtag and appear in a timeline on Facebook or Weibo generating further social interaction.
Formula E to benefit local schools…
The evening concluded with the news that Formula E is to partner with the Greenpower Education Trust, designed to promote sustainable engineering to young people. The project sees students from 10 local schools designing and building their own electric race car, which will then race on the full Formula E race track at five of the 10 events, beginning in Buenos Aires on January 10 2015.
With their experience mirroring that of the Formula E teams and drivers – from the starting grid to the podium – it’s hoped the initiative will inspire young people to embrace sustainable mobility as well as being a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the children. The race will focus on the driver’s energy efficiency as well as speed, and each participating school will be given 200 free tickets to come and cheer on their fellow pupils as they search for the equilibrium between these two.
Jeremy Way, CEO of Greenpower, said: “Formula E is the most exciting motorsport innovation in a generation and could not only revolutionise the way people view the sport, but also greatly enhance the advances being made in the development of electric and sustainable automotive engineering. The values and objectives that underpin Formula E mirror exactly Greenpower’s own aims; we have been promoting the advancement of sustainable motoring and engineering in the UK’s schools and universities for 16 years and we are delighted that we can now take our initiative on to a global stage.”
The evening concluded with live music and entertainment with teams and drivers now focusing on preparing for the start of pre-season testing which begins at Donington Park on July 3 – one of five test days open free of charge to the public.
Formula E is the FIA’s new fully-electric single-seater championship is designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Competing entirely on city-centre circuits – with races in China, Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, US, Monaco, Germany and the UK – it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). Its 10 teams feature some of the leading international names in motorsport including Alain Prost and Michael Andretti, along with high-profile environmental supporters including Sir Richard Branson.