New Delhi: Formula E’s entry into India next year marks the return of a major motorsport event in the country and development has already begun to draw an ‘unfair’ comparison to the Formula 1 cars last entered in 2013. racing the outskirts of the national capital.
Vicky Chandhok, who headed the Indian Motorsport Federation when Formula 1 cars were pious at the Buddh . International Circuit over three seasons, it aptly summarizes the similarities (or lack thereof) between the ‘apex of motor racing’ and Formula E, an all-electric racing series that has made rapid strides since its debut season in 2014.
“There is nothing in common in the two cars, except four wheels, a steering wheel, a brake pedal and an accelerator. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and then Formula 2 and Formula 3 (both F1 feeder series) come in terms of performance.
“Formula 1 cars run on an internal combustion engine and you can’t compare it to an electric motor used in Formula E. That said, the arrival of Formula E to India is fantastic as it puts us back on the track. world map of motorsport,” Chandhok told PTI. †
In terms of speed, scale, budget and popularity, there is simply no comparison between the two FIA-sanctioned World Championships, one a 72-year-old series and the other just eight years old.
With electric cars expected to fill public roads in the next 10-15 years, Formula E is ‘racing with a purpose’, while Formula 1 is the pinnacle of performance.
When it comes to top speed, the turbocharged Formula 1 engines can reach speeds of over 360 km/h, while the Gen 3 Formula 2 cars, introduced next year, can reach speeds of up to 320 km/h.
Current Formula E cars have a maximum speed of 280 km/h. There is also a huge difference in cornering speeds.
A Formula E car is designed to race on street circuits around the world with a focus on durability rather than speed.
The inaugural race in Hyderabad is scheduled for February 11, with New York, London and Rome, among others, on the Formula E calendar.
Of Liberty Media By taking over the ownership of Formula 1 in 2017, the number of viewers has soared. As the 2021 season drew to a close, more than 1.5 billion people watched the epic title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton over the course of the 22 race season.
In contrast, Formula E reportedly attracted 316 million viewers over a 17-race season last year. The series peaked at 419 million in the 2018-19 season before the pandemic hit the world.
The best Formula 1 teams spent more than $200 million in a season until the budget cap was introduced, limiting all teams’ spending to $145 million.
On average, a Formula E outfit spends about $15 million in an entire season. The low cost has attracted major automakers including Porsche, Mahindra, Nissan, Jaguar and recently McLaren to test their electric programs.
“From a manufacturer’s point of view, it’s a fantastic series to compete with each other in identical chassis. Next year we will see the Jaguar and Mahindra, owned by Tata, race against each other,” Chandhok said.
Could a Formula E weekend boost Indian motorsport?
Chandhok, who as a racer and administrator has seen Indian motorsport for decades, has his doubts about whether one race can really make a difference.
“From an event point of view it will certainly raise awareness around motorsport in the country, but I think it will just come and go. It will not boost Indian motorsport,” Chandhok said.
‘Formula E prepared for possible fiscal and bureaucratic hurdles’
More than customs, it was the tax issue that drove Formula 1 out of India nine years ago. Race promoter Jaypee Group’s financial health also played a role.
While the Formula E race is fully supported by the state government of Telangana, the series officials will also have to deal with the central government before their arrival.
“Those problems in Formula 1 were more tax-related. We have very good tax advisors, we know the challenges, we know the potential risks and obligations we have.
“We have done our homework on that front. If everything goes according to plan, I see a long-term future for us in India,” Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo told PTI last month.
There is still a lack of clarity about whether Formula E teams will be taxed, but the one-stop customs clearance should make equipment imports easier.
The state and central government must also align for the event to run smoothly.
“With the state government involved this time, there won’t be any rumblings. When Formula 1 left India, customs clearance was the least of the problems. Messages from the tax authorities to F1 teams, drivers and F1 itself chased them away.
“I hope that the political differences between state and center will not become a stumbling block. I vividly remember that the Jaypee Group had to pay Rs 10 crore every year to the National Sports Development Fund to get the approval of the central government. Once approval came three days before the race.
“India will host a Formula E race which is the latest racing technology and we can be proud of that. It will give us global eyeballs,” Chandhok added.
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