Formula E returns annually to Red Hook for the New York City ePrix this weekend. Unfortunately Ars won’t be attending the races, which is a shame as it’s my last chance to see the Gen2 electric race car in action. However, I will have to do everything I can to be there in 2023.
Next year there will be major changes for the all-electric racing series, including a much more powerful, much faster race car and changes to some of the rules to make the races interesting. I can’t guarantee it, but I think there’s a good chance we won’t see the return of Fan Boost, which will make some corners of the internet happy.
What’s clear is that the series isn’t afraid to think differently, and it’s helpful to remember that we’re talking about a sport that’s only in its eighth season. Jamie Reigle took over as CEO of Formula E in 2019 and last week I spoke to him about how the series has progressed and what to look forward to in the coming years.
“Honestly, I think it was an element where we probably took things for granted. You know, the world is going electric and that’s why Formula E inherits the world,” Reigle told me. “You know, we have a great proposal and a great following wind, but that’s not a prerequisite for success from a sports perspective. And I think that’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on over the past few years, which is, ‘Okay, well , what would it take to be what we call a premier sport?'”
Many of the pieces are probably already there. The sport is contested by some of the best drivers in the world. It races against backgrounds such as the skyline of Manhattan, the harbor of Monaco or the EUR district of Rome. It has attracted manufacturers such as Porsche, with McLaren and Maserati set to join next year.
“But you have to be able to put all that together into a coherent story to be a really successful sport,” Reigle said.
Each racing series encompasses a mix of sports competition, technology development and entertainment, with more or less emphasis on one of those pillars depending on the series. (For example, F1 and Le Mans offer far more road-relevant technology transfer than NASCAR, arguably placing a higher premium on entertainment than either of those two.)
In addition, Reigle pointed out that the series also has its mission to accelerate the change towards an electric future. “So the sport, the technology, the show and the goal – we had to improve all of those. And now as we go into Gen3, I feel like we have the basic elements to, you know, hopefully be able to break through and that to keep that promise,” he said.