Why it is time you gave Formula E a chance

As season five of the Formula E championship rapidly approaches, I have been spying plenty of you on social media pondering if the hype for the all-electric championship is actually real. Well, Ladies and Gents, I am pleased to confirm that the rumours are in fact true: Formula E is one of the best championships motorsport has to offer.

Don’t worry, I was once like you. Living my life in the dark, thinking that roaring V12s were motorsport’s best and only offering and anything below that would send me to sleep – I grew up a nineties baby for goodness sake. Heaven forbid I was to ever find myself watching a motorsport championship which produced little to no noise at all (not true by the way), solely battery-powered even, but then along came Formula E. It was new, innovative and fresh and as my interest in championships like F1 took a dive, Formula E was there to remind me why I fell in love with motorsport in the first place.

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Made in Monaco: How Susie Wolff plans to turn Venturi Formula E Team into a Luxury Brand

Having defined herself as an influential figure in racing through her intense hard-work and talent both behind and away from the wheel of a racing car, Susie Wolff is no stranger to grabbing a challenge with both hands and overcoming it. Her grit, determination and willingness to learn and teach others makes her not only someone I greatly look up to, but also the perfect ingredients for a Team Principal for a ‘life after racing’.

“It was never in the game plan,” Susie tells me as we sit down for this one-to-one interview in the back of the garage for Venturi Formula E Team at Formula E Pre-Season Testing. Despite the torrential rain outside resulting in no running on track, the Venturi team remain busy with their season five driver line-up, Edoardo Mortara and Formula E debutant Felipe Massa, making the most of their time spent with engineers and mechanics.

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Allan McNish on Audi’s Formula E manufacturer renaissance

The last time I sat down for an interview with Allan McNish was at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this year. Months before our meeting at the world-famous exhibition, McNish was confirmed as the Team Principal at the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team – arguably a big jump for the hugely successful racing driver into managing a Formula E team. It is fair to say the start of the season for the team didn’t quite go to plan: disqualification, disappointment and disaster for then-series Champion Lucas di Grassi. Odds of winning the Constructors’ title seemed near impossible mid-way through the season, with McNish telling me that “the chances of winning the championship is a bit like a train that had already departed the station.” Fast forward just a little over seven months later and Allan and I reunited for another 1-to-1 interview. This time we are sat in the Audi Motorhome in Valencia as pre-season testing gets underway behind us. It is a very chilled environment, drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi continue to soak up laps during the three day test in a car that looks to be pretty competitive for season five, oh and Audi did the impossible and are the current Constructors’ champions.

“That sounds like a good analogy, doesn’t it?”, McNish begins with when I tell him of his ever-so slightly pessimistic attitude the last time we managed to sit down for an interview. “There was a few times when I look back and think, there is no way that that could ever happen,” he continued. “If you look at the points and where we were and the performance we had and the performance everybody else had, then normally, it wasn’t possible. I think it was partly due to, I would say, a reasonable car, because I do think the car was good. No, we knew the car was always good. We knew we could be competitive.

“Us taking advantage of every situation that came, I think that was one key factor. Another key factor was having two drivers that were competitive all the time. And that wasn’t the case with everybody in the pit lane. And the final one was, when it came down to it, we held our nerve, and not everybody did.”

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