FanBoost has been a controversial part of the Formula E weekend since it was introduced at the first ePrix at Beijing in 2014. The idea was to be able to give your favourite driver a ‘boost’ of energy which would then help them during the all-electric races around global city centres. Unfortunately for FanBoost, bots soon became involved and the chance to win FanBoost became less about your fan engagement and more about how much money you had to pay to get you up the rankings.
It is sad that such new and captivating part to a race weekend became a haven for cheats after just a couple of races. Formula E have even tried to make modifications to make FanBoost fairer, but it is still widely known that fraudulent FanBoost is an ongoing part of the weekend three seasons on.
So what can be done to prevent any cheating in the future of the sport? Well, a crackdown on fake FanBoost votes has already been noticed by fans and media. Many drivers have been leading the FanBoost vote up until the installation lap of the ePrix, yet when the winners are announced they are nowhere to be seen, clearly being disqualified for one reason or another. This crackdown has though led to a predictable top three winning the FanBoost vote, race after race.
One driver that has voiced his concern on the matter is British racer and three-time Formula E race winner Sam Bird. Bird, who races with the DS Virgin Racing team, believes that teams and individuals caught swindling the system should face serious consequences.
“I think we should keep FanBoost,” Bird tells katyfairman.com, “however I think that there should be really harsh penalties for people that cheat.
“That is because it does go on and I think that it is just not in the spirt of FanBoost. There are fans out there that have really voted, so the people that have paid for robots and computers to dodge the system isn’t very fair and I don’t think it is right.”
The talk of FanBoost arises as Sam begins to discuss the long-term changes that will inevitably need to be brought into the sport to keep it as one of motorsport’s most entertaining and innovative championships.
“It is important to keep a form of pit stop available,” Bird states.
An upgrade in battery for season five means the need for a car change will soon be unnecessary. Although this longer-lasting battery will help show off the lengths electric power can go in the automotive industry, it has resulted in the death of an unavoidable pit stop. Unless a race car has sustained damage, there is no real need for a driver to pit with these season five batteries. The Michelin tyres are designed to be used an entire race distance and the car change that was a mandatory part for each ePrix will be gone. The need for some mid-race entertainment is crucial and so far Formula E haven’t conjured up a concreate plan, CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag even jokingly taking suggestions at a press conference recently.
Sam Bird, like many other drivers on the grid are also slightly clueless on what could be introduced in place of a car change:
“The pit stop is needed to keep it exciting for the fans during the race. Otherwise it’s just a spin race, you know, where you start is where you will finish. I think that’s important but how they do that and the ideas they have got for that, I don’t know.”
Formula E heads to New York City this weekend, a venue which is new to hosting the all-electric championship but hopes to be a hit with fans stateside. You can follow all the action through Formula E’s various social media platforms over the course of the weekend, with another entertaining double-header race weekend this Saturday and Sunday.