Formula One is seeing a bit of a resurgence after a few abysmal seasons that took the snore-fest to unprecedented levels (blame Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS if you have to, but it’s probably FIA where you should direct your hate mail).
Be that as it may, it’ll be a long time before Formula E can even think about competing in popularity, even though it has built up quite a strong fan base in a relatively short time. The EV competition is currently in the midst of its third season, but seeing how far it has evolved in such a short time gives us a lot of hope for the future.
The Formula E rules might seem a little restrictive at first, with the teams only allowed to tinker with a few bits of the vehicles, but even so, a side-by-side lap comparison between season one and the current season shows how far the electric single-seaters have come.
The video shows Sebastien Buemi – the reigning champion and the current leader in this season’s table – driving his vehicle at the 2015 (on the left) and 2017 (on the only side left) Monaco ePrixs, and the difference is obvious from the start.
It may not be timed, but if you pause the moment the 2017 Buemi crosses the line and then start a timer, you’ll see it takes 2015 Buemi almost five seconds to complete the same 1.09-miles (1.76 km) lap, which is huge in motorsport. Comparing two random laps – even if performed by the same driver – is not exactly scientifically accurate, but it’s still enough to give us an idea of how the series has changed.
And things can only get better for Formula E. Starting with the fifth season, the cars will finally get a larger, 56 kWh battery pack (doubling on the 28 kWh of the current one), meaning they will be able to complete a race without the awkward car swap. Along with the relatively slow speeds and the eerie silence, that’s probably the biggest caveat of the championship right now.
As you probably know, the series is also about to launch a spinoff, the much awaited Roborace where AI-driven electric cars designed by Daniel Simon will race around the circuit to find out who builds the best robotic pilots. It seems it’s not just truck drivers who need to fear the autonomous revolution after all.