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.”