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

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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.”

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.