After much fanfare and news the inaugural season of the all electric Formula E series will kick off this September in Beijing. The series aims to be the pinnacle of electric motorsport and the series will definitely receive plenty of press attention in it's first season.
The series has a purpose built Spark-Renault SRT_01E car with plenty of interest and support from the F1 community. The electric motors for the car has been developed by McLaren whilst the battery system has come from Williams F1. With a link up with Renault and prominent support from Renault ambassador and 4 time F1 World Champion Alain Prost, it's clear to see why the series is garnering so much attention.
The F1 link doesn't simply end with the car however as previous figures from the F1 paddock have signed up to run teams in the series. The Amlin Aguri squad will be ran by ex-F1 driver and Super Aguri team owner Aguri Suzuki, with ex-Monaco GP winner Jarno Trulli taking over the Drayson Racing entry to field his own Trulli GP entry. Other significant entries come from Indycar teams Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, Audi Sport Team Abt, E-DAMS and Virgin Racing ran by Richard Branson.
With a highly professional car and line up of teams it's only logical therefore that so far the grid for the inaugural Formula E season is filled with seriously quick professional drivers. Over half of the currently confirmed grid, 10 of the 17 drivers, have previously raced in F1, whilst another 4 have previously driven or tested F1 cars in the last 5 years. The series has been enough to tempt ex-F1 drivers Jarno Trulli and Jaime Alguersuari to return to motorsport after several years out of racing.
A majority of drivers are dovetailing Formula E with other prominent series such as the World Endurance Championship, with the link between these two being relevant for the future of Formula E. In the past few years the WEC has increasingly become a haven for both ex-F1 drivers and talented youngsters who find themselves frozen out of F1 seats.
Although if Formula E can deliver on the abundant promise it has in the first few seasons, we could soon a shift whereby Formula E becomes the new haven for ex-F1 drivers and young hopefuls disillusioned with their chances of making it into F1.I, alongside plenty of others, will be eagerly watching how the inaugural season of Formula E plays out.