‘ It’s About an In­ter­est­ing New Cham­pi­onship’

The Economic Times - - Sports -

SENNA: I spoke to Fred Makowiecki, who was my team­mate last year. He’s been do­ing the tyre de­vel­op­ment for For­mula E. He said it was sur­pris­ing how much torque it has out of the cor­ners, it’s re­ally quite easy to spin the wheels. Of course, he’s been driv­ing on a race track and race tracks have a bet­ter grip than a street cir­cuit. And he said that it feels a bit like a For­mula 3 car: it’s not the most pow­er­ful car in the world, but it slides around a bit. CHAND­HOK: I spoke with Lu­cas di Grassi of course, (and) I spoke with Jarno (Trulli). I think they’re all pleas­antly sur­prised—that seems to be the gen­eral re­sponse. The car is bal­anced, it’s got more grip than you think and drive­abil­ity is pretty good. But driv­ing a test car and driv­ing a car in a com­pe­ti­tion is dif­fer­ent. A test car is just driv­ing around for re­li­a­bil­ity. They’re not chas­ing per­for­mance or lap time. Do you think the se­ries could serve to de­velop young driv­ers? SENNA: I think any rac­ing will de­velop your skills in a dif­fer­ent way. If you come into For­mula E as a young driver to learn strat­egy, your mind will work in a very dif­fer­ent way and as long as you keep fit for the big cars, it should be a good plat­form. I see For­mula E as a bit of an open-ended thing, wherein it’s not nec­es­sar­ily a step­ping stone to For­mula One, but it’s not a dead­end ei­ther. CHAND­HOK: I don’t think this is re­ally a de­vel­op­ment se­ries. I think it’s about a dif­fer­ent way of rac­ing. This is not on the lad­der to For­mula One. You’ve got ten races in the first sea­son. Ale­jan­dro said he wants to add more. Do you think the cal­en­dar will be too crowded for those who race in the sum­mer as well? SENNA: As long as it doesn’t clash, it’s okay. If you have a few weeks ev­ery once in a while that you don’t have to race ev­ery sin­gle weekend, it’s okay. If you did For­mula E and WEC, it will be only 20 race week­ends— the same as F1. So it’s not so bad. If you’re do­ing 25 races a year, then it be­comes ex­haust­ing. If For­mula E be­comes big, if it be­comes a 15-race se­ries, then you’re go­ing to have to dial down on the other se­ries. CHAND­HOK: Hon­estly, it’s quite tough for a new se­ries to do ten street events. For me, it works okay. If it’s up to me I’ll race ev­ery weekend. Noth­ing is too much. So, if it’s go­ing to be twenty races, it’s twenty races. The prob­lem is clash­ing dates. As people get used to the fact that elec­tric cars can race, do you think it will be­come just an­other rac­ing se­ries? SENNA: I think what is re­ally go­ing to keep For­mula E on the map is that it will de­velop tech­nol­ogy straight from the race to road cars. We see more and more au­tomak­ers mak­ing elec­tric or hy­brid cars. Ev­ery­body is go­ing to­wards that, ev­ery­body is try­ing to stay away from com­bus­tion en­gines and petrol. And I think this is where For­mula E will re­ally have its tri­umph. We have al­ready seen Audi tak­ing a small in­ter­est in For­mula E and I think we’re go­ing to see more man­u­fac­tur­ers go­ing in ev­ery year to try and take ad­van­tage of it. CHAND­HOK: Two things to keep in mind (in case of For­mula E)—one is that it is a world cham­pi­onship. So, we’re any­ways go­ing to new mar­kets, in­ter­est­ing mar­kets, where it’s go­ing to be new for the people. Point B is that you can’t un­der­es­ti­mate the fact that we’re do­ing it on the streets, in the cities. You can have a race in the mid­dle of Lon­don and you’ll get a crowd. I think that’s the trump card of the se­ries, the fact that they can run on city streets.

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