The 2014 season is not only exciting because of the new engine regulations in F1, but also because FIA launches the Formula E Championship. This is a good thing, and not just for the pandas.
The cars that will race in the Formula E series (like this Spark-Renault SRT-01E) might be slower than an F1 car, but this electric championship turns those qualities into advantages.
Less speed and noise means the cars can get closer to the audience, not to mention that races can be held even in busy cities like London, Rio de Janeiro, Miami or Los Angeles. And if you can't make it there, Fox Sports will bring it to you in America.
Since you know everything about the series already, I'll keep it to the basics:
The cars will have a max power of 270 horsepower. During the race however, they'll only use 180 to save some juice. The remaining 90 is available with a push of a button. With a weight of 1,763 pounds, that gives the cars an acceleration of 3 seconds flat and a top speed of 140 mph.
The aluminum/carbon fiber body comes from Dallara just like in IndyCar or GP2. The electric motor is a McLaren product, linked to a Hewland paddle shift sequential gearbox. Tires are Michelins, but the teams are free to choose brake materials as long as the caliper pistons are circular. And don't expect complete silence.
The FIA promises the following:
Formula E cars are far from silent producing a modern, futuristic sound, combined with the fusion of the tyres on the track, the car's aero package and the electric drivetrain itself.
At high speed the sound produced by one SRT_01E will be approximately 80 decibels, more than an average petrol road car which produces around 70db. Meanwhile, and purely for reasons of safety, an artificial sound will be used when the cars enter the pit lane to ensure they can be heard by mechanics and officials.
Los Angeles, Miami, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, London, Berlin, Rome, Putrajaya, Bangkok and Beijing coming up in 2014. The electric fun starts in 85 days.
Photo credit: Máté Petrány/Jalopnik