Formula E: Bold or brash with ideas of targeting youth, Twitter push-to-pass?


Formula E is thinking outside the box for who it wants to target. The question is whether its targeted demographic will buy what it’s selling.

The FIA-sanctioned electric racing championship that is set to premiere in 2014 has selected 10-14-year-olds as its target market. Series CEO Alejandro Agag told Sports Business Daily that children need to be attracted to electric cars if they want to buy them in the future.

That’s a reasonable goal in theory, even though it will probably be anywhere from two to six years from the time these kids start watching FE to the time they’d actually be able to drive and/or purchase an electric car. And I highly doubt there are that many 16-year-olds with the disposable income with which to purchase one when they hit that magical birthday.

If that seems out of left field, it’s quite sane by comparison to another idea the series has. Push-to-pass, a feature of IndyCar racing where a driver has a button on the steering wheel to provide a temporary horsepower boost, appears headed for FE. That’s fine and dandy, but, Agag said in the same SBD report that potentially, a driver who receives the most Twitter hashtag mentions during a race could be afforded an extra push during the race.

(Temporarily pausing to ensure my head stays intact).

Anyway, the series is already off-beat enough with its odd sounding cars and plan to have drivers switch cars during the race. These ideas seem to follow that line of unconventional, new thinking.

Could it work? Possibly. We do live in an era of mostly stale, spec-car racing, and admittedly a younger audience is needed to sustain motorsport’s evolution going forward.

But at first read, these ideas seem like daft marketing ideas gone awry instead of determining a way to make eco racing “sexy” and/or “cool.”

Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

Photo: Getty Images
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Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.