Paris is an FE spring­board

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Scott Mitchell

There needs to be greater ex­cite­ment over, and re­spect for, what hap­pened in Paris last week­end. Like, loathe or dis­play in­dif­fer­ence to For­mula E, but it de­liv­ered what must be motorsport’s great­est achieve­ment.

At the very least you can make a strong case in its favour. Just think for a mo­ment: on Satur­day there was a race on the streets of the French cap­i­tal…with the Eif­fel Tower in the back­ground!

Loic Du­val, the Audi LMP1 driver who com­petes for Dragon Racing in For­mula E, hit the nail on the head on Fri­day when he said tra­di­tional motorsport has be­come pro­gres­sively “more se­cre­tive”. He said this as we stood out­side his team’s awning, with a stream of French traf­fic pass­ing by just feet away – the road that would make up the pit­lane on Satur­day was still in reg­u­lar use un­til Fri­day afternoon.

That was what Paris was all about – it was proper heart-of-the­cap­i­tal, tak­ing-it-to-the-peo­ple motorsport. And it would not have been pos­si­ble for any­thing other than the all-elec­tric cham­pi­onship.

Con­ver­sa­tions be­gan with the pre­vi­ous mayor, Ber­trand De­la­noe, but his term ended in April 2014. The of­fice of his suc­ces­sor, Anne Hi­dalgo, pushed for the race in the city cen­tre – For­mula E’s orig­i­nal pitch had been to have it on the out­skirts.

With­out such sig­nif­i­cant po­lit­i­cal sup­port (FE also needed ap­proval from the dis­trict author­ity and the mil­i­tary body that looks af­ter Les In­valides) this event would not have been pos­si­ble.

The series is right to view this as a spring­board. Hope­fully the grav­ity of the achieve­ment, and the im­ages the event gen­er­ated, give scep­tics of the series and the place EVS have in motorsport some­thing to think about as well.

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