Please, Formula E, Stop Trying So Hard To Appeal To The Youths

Illustration for article titled Please, Formula E, Stop Trying So Hard To Appeal To The Youths
Photo: Kin Cheung (AP)

Since its inception, Formula E has been known to do things… differently. Being different is not a bad thing—after all, if you’re willing to become the first electric open wheel racing series in the world, you might as well try out things that everyone else is too scared to consider—but… there is a point where it goes just a little too far.


FE is reaching that point.

As per, Formula E wants to try something new next season. The introduction of their Gen2 cars means they’ll be phasing out the mid-race car swap pit stop because the new batteries will enable drivers to last the whole race. At first, that seemed promising: the jump-out-of-the-car gimmick turned a lot of people off from the series. Get rid of that, throw in some faster cars, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

Except, of course not. Because Formula E has found a brand new way to make things… absurd.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag has (rightly) noted that, in a lot of cases, pit stops are the only things that actually keep the races spicy. Most of the overtaking is done by the end of the first few laps, so if you want to gain a position, you’re probably going to do it by having the quickest pit stop. So how does Alejandro Agag propose to fix it?

Mario Kart.

Oh, honey, no.

They basically want to introduce a certain section of the track where drivers will be forced to slow down. Once they do, it will enable them to access higher different power modes that will be made mandatory next season. The hope is that this will throw some strategy into the mix and so make races more interesting.


Per Agag himself:

“It would be like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster.

“I think it’s going to be great. I’m really excited about it.”

(Is anyone else getting the feeling that Alejandro Agag has not actually ever played Mario Kart in his whole entire life?)


People really don’t like gimmicks. FE has constantly been ridiculed for things like FanBoost, where fans get to vote for which drivers get a little bit extra power during the race. They’ve been lambasted for their pit stops. They’ve been torn apart for having a ridiculous DJ who plays edgy music over the noise of the race. It’s a little near-sighted to think that introducing yet another gimmick is going to make the racing more exciting. People are going to hate it. I have been a solid defender of Formula E long before the series had even taken to the track, and I hate this.

Thankfully, the FIA has yet to confirm that this proposition will become a reality. Agag has to work with the FIA to make any decisions about race strategy, but given the FIA’s rather abysmal track record for, say, knowing what race fans want, I can absolutely see them saying, “Yes, the Mario Bros, yes, that is what the kids want.”


The kids want good racing and good cars. We don’t want silly, artificial strategy. Formula E, you have massive potential to be the race series of the future. Please, please, please, don’t try to become Mario Kart. Be Formula E. Be better.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


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