Recently the first race of the brand new Formula E took place and it’s interesting to find out how the new category is perceived by Formula 1 drivers. Ahead of Singapore’s night race, Roman Grosjean gave Asia-Pacific media a 30 minutes interview session on the couch. Naturally Lotus results and position in the championship came up, but one of the most interesting lines of questioning was around Formula E.
Grosjean was asked if he was approached with a ridiculous amount of money, would he switch? He says no, but not just no, he says there isn’t a number in the world that would get him to switch. The response came instantaneously, without hesitation. His goal was always to drive in the top category and despite having a tough season reminds himself everyday how fortunate he is to drive at the top-level.
He seems laser focused and ultimately determined to reach the top step of the podium. He says he doesn’t do it for the money, which is probably easy to say when you have millions of dollars in the bank, but the brutally honest and very relaxed Grosjean appeared incredibly genuine. He grew up with the goal of succeeding in Formula 1 and a new category isn’t about to change decades of chasing that dream.
So for now it seems some F1 drivers see Formula E as an interesting experiment, but not the inevitable future for the top echelon of motorsport that some are predicting. It’s a reasonable assumption to make as the ERS system introduced this year, uses the power of recovered energy pumped into batteries and fired to the turnbocharger to spool instantly and eliminate that dreaded turbo lag. The next extension would be to replace more of the powertrain with and EV system.
Like KERS of last year, there definitely has been issues and if anything having the Formula 1 finances behind the development of battery technology will likely move not on vehicles, but laptops, tablets and phones past the days of Lithium-Ion.
It is still very early for Formula E and if one thing is for sure, the world will watch with interest.
Jason travelled to Singapore as a guest of G.H.Mumm for EFTM.