There's no doubt that Formula E is producing some great racing this season with six different winners in six races. Now Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag wants to tweak it a bit to add more fan involvement by letting fans vote for FanBoosts during the first ten minutes of the race.
"We are trying to convince the FIA to allow us to keep voting for the first ten minutes of the race, rather than stopping ten minutes before the start of the race. This will give the fans a bigger influence on the race as it happens, which will make it more fun," Agag told Formula E Zone.
Love it or hate it, the FanBoost system is meant to involve fans in the racing themselves. The FIA, however, is clearly in the "hate it" camp. Agag explains their opposition to Formula E Zone:
The FIA are not so keen on the idea of FanBoost because they say it is not sporting. They told us that the fans will alter the result of the race and they were not happy about that, but I told them that is exactly the whole point of FanBoost.
The whole idea of FanBoost is that you give the fans a real interaction with the sport, and it is the first time in history that fans can have an impact on a sporting contest.
Admittedly, I think the FIA is right to question Agag's plan: at what point does a race cease to be decided by the fastest competitor, and become decided via popularity contest instead?
To me, the Formula E season has produced great racing in spite of the gimmicky FanBoosts. The cars aren't so aero-intensive that they're impossible to pass, the drivers are great, and everyone is in fairly evenly matched machinery, all of which results in some great, close racing. Last week's race was fantastic, and winner Nelson Piquet Jr. didn't even use his FanBoost amid fears of overheating the car.
The FIA is right that it's not very sporting, either. Drivers without a dedicated following don't stand a chance against those who do in terms of getting that sweet, sweet extra power. That's not fair to newcomers to the sport, either.
To Agag's point, however, allowing fans to vote mid-race would do a better job of connecting the fans to the FanBoosts. I'd imagine some fans would vote on "who needs it the most?" over "who do I like the most?" after seeing the start of the race. FanBoosts might go to the guys who got stuck in traffic or caught up in a wreck, which would add an interesting element to the races.
Teams also wouldn't know if they get a FanBoost before the race or not, adding an additional twist in the plot.
Will Agag get his tweaked FanBoost system? He has an uphill battle to get it past the FIA, who has been skeptical of the entire idea of FanBoost since its introduction. Either way, Agag's plan seems better for FanBoost, but worse for racing.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.