Does Formula E have too much/not enough driving drama?

Discussion in 'Formula E' started by Domenick, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

  2. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I've only watched one Formula E race, and that was probably over a year ago, so my opinion may be outdated.

    The race I watched was set on city streets, which put severe limits on the speed of the cars, as well as making the race course rather cramped, and there was no place for watchers to get a good overview of the entire course.

    Just as bad or worse, it was set up as a sort of relay race, with drivers jumping out of one car and into another, because the cars' battery packs didn't have enough energy for an individual car to complete the race.

    But the worst part IMHO was the "Fan Boost" situation, where fans cast votes by phone for their favorite drivers, and the winner gets a boost of more power available from his battery for a short time. IMHO this turns Formula E into a sort of popularity contest, rather than a real race.

    According to what I've read, in the last Formula E season at least the cars were expected to finish the race, altho they have to limit speed so the battery pack doesn't run out of "juice" before the race is over. But so far as I know, they're still doing the stupid "Fan Boost" thing.

    * * * * *

    Here's what I'd like to see; here is what would get me to watch another Formula E race:

    1. Get rid of "Fan Boost"

    2. Allow unlimited battery pack swapping in pit stops during the race, in the same way that gasmobile racers can refill their gas tank in pit stops during the race. This would let the cars unleash their full power and speed. Also, perhaps it would actually be beneficial in developing practical battery pack swapping tech, which currently is pretty expensive and possibly over-complicated.

    3. Hold the races on a proper race course, ones with enough room for the cars to get up to high speeds, and in places where it's possible for onlookers to see a large part of the race course. EV racers have the potential for better acceleration than gasmobile racers, and it's terrible how Formula E races are held on cramped, narrow courses that cripple the cars' ability to accelerate and maneuver.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  3. WalksOnDirt

    WalksOnDirt Member

    1. I agree, Fan Boost is stupid.

    2. I think ICE car races have limits on fuel to keep the speed down. Something could be worked out, but probably not unlimited.

    3. The cramped courses are, apparently, part of the appeal. Or, at least they are necessary for racing in the desirable cities.
     
  4. Jack

    Jack Administrator Staff Member

    I simply want more sound, but I really enjoyed that video!
     
  5. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    I don't mind Fan Boost. It's really only a one-time short shot of extra power, that shouldn't make much difference overall. It's really meant more to help involve people in the race, and maybe add a bit of drama. It'll probably be back this season, but I wouldn't be surprised if it went away after audiences reach a critical mass.

    As for the narrow streets, that's something I don't particularly like either. Not all the courses have been like that. Some used more broad avenues, which really helps. I also like the idea of actual race tracks, but they would have to introduce more chicanes to keep the speed down. Too much speed means not enough distance.
    The other plus the in-town races have going for them is people don't have to drive 20 or 30 miles outside of town to attend the race. They can typically take mass transit, keeping the overall carbon footprint of the event in check.

    This should be an interesting season, with the teams having control over more variables. Speeds should be up. I'm going to make an effort to watch them live this go-round. Usually, I get someone I know with cable to record it for me, and I go over and watch after the fact. (I don't have a tv.)

    The car chassis are new this season. I know of one journalists who drove the first gen car and said it handled pretty horribly, so I expect there will be huge improvements in balance, which will also increase cornering speed.
     
  6. jdbob

    jdbob New Member

    Fan boost has been scaled back over the years so that it rarely makes any difference. The first year you could use it once per car. After that it was only usable in the second car and only if the battery charge was 50% or more. Also the difference between normal maximum power and fanboost power (200kW) has been reduced. The first season the max power was 150kW (so fanboost was 50kW increase), the last two seasons the max power has been 170kW (so fanboost was only 30kW increase) and this coming season the max power is 180kW (so fanboost is only 20kW increase). It just keeps getting more and more irrelevant.

    I've watched all races and there have been a variety of tracks. For instance Marrakesh and Mexico City are actual race tracks. Berlin (except for season 2) is a fake track built on top of the concrete plane parking area of the old Berlin Templehof airport. The rest are street tracks but they vary in how wide they are. Monaco is terrible, Montreal was actually pretty nice. The are four new tracks this coming season: Santiago, São Paulo, Rome, and Zürich. We'll have to wait and see how good those tracks are.

    As far as swapping cars, that was a limitation of the technology available. The batteries are an integral part of the structure of the car so not really practical to swap those. In season 5 they change from the 28kWh battery to a 54kWh battery to allow running the race without swapping cars. I suspect they will still need to pit during the race to swap tires, so really not much of a change. The are race series where they swap drivers instead of cars, is anyone complaining about that?

    Another change they are making this year is fastest lap. Originally it was 2 points then this last year they reduced it to 1 point. This coming season it will only be awarded to a driver who has finished in the points (top 10). This to me is a big improvement. No longer can you damage your first car, go back to the pits, change the aero on your second car for maximum grip and sit out on the track waiting for traffic to pass you so you can get a clear section.

    There are all sorts of different race formats people can watch. If you don't like Formula E for some reason then don't watch it, I doubt the FIA will care. You can always get yourself a six-pack and watch NASCAR.
     
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  7. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Easy on the stereotypes, there. I watch NASCAR only with Dom Perignon, which doesn't come in 6 packs.
    Hmm. Maybe it should come in six packs, though. And in cans. No need to go wait for enough people to share it with. No worries about putting an eye out with explosive uncorkings....but I digress.
     
  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Not at all to disagree with your point that if the races are to be held in those cities, they have to be on actual streets in those cities, but...

    Just look at the video collection of collisions and accidents that Dominick posted. Quite a few of them are from cars trying to drive a straight line past a single corner that sticks out... and failing to miss that corner. That's a very unsafe driving course, and it's only there because the city streets make the course so cramped.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  9. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Well, that's the typical sort of parochial remark one expects from the Colonial bourgeois. *Sniff* ;)

    Dom Perignon does come in 6-packs. (Make sure you hold your pinkie up, and your nose in the air, when clicking on the link below!)

    Dom Perignon 2009 6-Pack with Marc Newson Limited Edition Container
    .
     
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  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Or, they could allow battery swapping in pit stops to avoid having to trade off speed for distance, just like a real car race!

    Unlimited battery swapping would unleash the full power and speed of Formula E racing, making for more exciting races. Not to mention real race courses allowing much better views from the stands!

    The battery pack's case is an integral part of the Tesla Model S body, and yet Tesla was able to set up a battery pack swap station for Model S cars.

    Bottom line: If the cars were designed for battery swapping, then the packs could be swapped.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  11. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I'm just expressing my opinion. My opinion is no more important than anyone else's here... and no less so, either.

    If I wanted to watch NASCAR that would be easy; the Kansas Speedway is only about 2.5 miles from our house! We actually have some cousins who are really into NASCAR and they bought season tickets the first year. Once they came to watch, but wound up watching the race on my big-screen TV in the home theatre room. When I watch racing I prefer open-wheel or Formula 1 racing, but to be sociable I sat down with them and watched the last half-hour or so of the race. When it was over, I said "The last ten laps were run with no changes in leadership in the leading three cars. That is something you'd never see in open wheel racing, unless it was under a yellow flag!

    My cousin started to argue with me, but her husband quietly said "He's right".

    No harm no foul to those who like NASCAR racing, but I prefer races that are more exciting, with cars faster and more maneuverable. EV race cars have the potential for even better acceleration than Formula 1 race cars, so I find it quite frustrating that Formula E racing has been set up to limit power and speed. :(
    .
     
  12. WalksOnDirt

    WalksOnDirt Member

    Sure, but look at how popular that video is. People love collisions.
     
  13. galderdi

    galderdi Member

    I agree with many of the points raised. The capability of the cars will increase and eventually will provide an equal visual spectacle to F1. But as a spectator the missing roar is a major downside. It is/was an audible reminder of the awesome power being produced. It is also an audible queue to know when the driver is pushing hard. But then again that sound has been slowly erroded from F1 too.

    I am not a big fan of artificially adding noise to Formula E. But maybe the manufacturers are missing an oportunity. There are noises that come naturally from the electric motors. Maybe they should investigate ways to allow that sound to escape to give formula E it's own unique sound track. I know mine makes a fairly deep whir as it revs.

    At a grass roots level electric race cars like mine have the potential to open up opertunities for grass roots competitors. In recent years it has been a real struggle to find locations where our events can be held. Back in the day we could get away with a shopping centre car park. But not anymore. For one thing most Shopping centres are now open 7days a week. But even if we find one that is available we would get too many noise complaints. But once EVs like mine are the majority we should be able to hold races in suburbia without being kicked off by the police.
     
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  14. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    Formula E needs more mechanical grip - they should use slicks, in my opinion. This would bring up the cornering speeds, and that would lower up the lap times.

    I think they should do some race tracks, and some street courses. The narrow stuff is a nightmare.
     
  15. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    I'm not a fan of all the crashes in corners, which lead to yellow flags. Agree most street courses are not wide enough. Some people love crashes, though. I don't understand why.
     
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  16. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Hear, hear! I agree 100%.

     
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  17. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    I'm already excited about the 2019-2020 season starting, I believe, in November. Will be interesting to see if Porsche can compete in Formula E as well as they do in many other forms of racing. They certainly have good drivers, as both Andre' Lotterer (moving from DS Techeetah) , and Neel Jani are both LeMans winners.
    Also glad to see Nissan and Jaguar will be back. I remember some epic Nissan-Jaguar-Porsche battles in the old IMSA GT Prototype battles of the 1980's.
     
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  18. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    Any news on battery improvements? If they can up the power, say another 50kW, that would help. This second gen cars are much better than the first, but we need more mechanical grip, so maybe slicks? I saw one of these cars on the Goodwood Hillclimb, and in the 250kW "qualifying" mode, it was pretty darn quick - I think 4th or 5th overall? That includes the world record VW ID.R run.
     
  19. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    The only thing I saw mentioned was not really battery related, but attack mode power level will go up by 10kW to 235kW for next season.
     
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  20. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Sorry to see "Fan boost" is still being used in Formula E. :( Real races are about testing the ability of the cars and the drivers. "Fan boost" turns Formula E into something of a popularity contest.

    I've watched exactly one Formula E race. I was puzzled at the references to "Fan boost" by the race commentators. After the race I looked that up... and pretty much lost all interest in watching another Formula E race.

    Here's hoping they dump the "Fan boost" nonsense. If they do, then I'll consider watching more races.

     
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