Saturday sees the return of Formula E, the all-electric series that by all accounts is shaking up the state of motorsport as we know it.
This weekend’s double-header in Hong Kong, with races on both days, will kick-off the fourth season of Formula E that despite initial concerns over its attractiveness has proven a huge success. That’s often been proven by attendances, with crowds regularly clocked at more than 20,000 and 45,000 turning out in Montreal for last season’s finale.
But now there is a new way of measuring its success, and that can be directly seen through the number of manufacturers flooding to the series. Reigning Formula One champions Mercedes will enter the sport in 2019/20, joining Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Citroen and Nissan, who will replace Renault next year.
One man who has seen the sport grow is Britain’s Oliver Turvey, who balances his role as McLaren test driver for the F1 team with full participation in Formula E with NIO, which claimed the inaugural title three years ago with Nelson Piquet.
“It’s been really impressive actually to see how Formula E has grown,” Turvey tells The Independent. “I joined at the end of season one in the final race in London and really each season the championship has taken a step forwards. Certainly during season three there was huge progress and the level of interest in Formula E has grown year-on-year and certainly now the number of manufacturers coming into Formula E has been really impressive to see.
“It’s becoming one of the biggest championships out there and certainly one with the biggest number of manufacturers in.”
When it comes to motorsport, most series bar F1 struggle for recognition beyond the average petrol head, but Formula E is able to offer a unique attraction in that it takes the sport to the people. Races, known as ePrixs, are not held on established race tracks but on public roads in city centres, and the calendar this year certainly offers a level of luxury and prestige that can match the F1 circuit.
After Hong Kong, Formula E will visit Marrakesh, Paris and New York City just to name a few, while new additions in Santiago, Sao Paulo, Rome and Zurich – the first time that Switzerland has held a motor racing event in more than 60 years.
British driver Oliver Turvey is preparing for this weekend’s season opener in Hong Kong (Getty)
“It’s the close competition,” Turvey adds of its appeal. “An extremely competitive field across all the…