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Electric Currents

Beijing's Dramatic Start to FIA Formula E Electric Race Series

Talk about a dramatic start! The inaugural FIA Formula E electric car race delivered on excitement, in spades.

Here is the full one hour and twenty minutes of the race in Beijing on September 13, 2014 in case you, like me, missed it.

Due to the 12 hour difference in time zones and the fact that I was in air flying home from the 2014 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, I wasn't able to watch the the race in Beijing.  I wasn't aware until Saturday morning, US Central time, of the dramatic and potentially tragic end that came seconds before the lead car, driven by Nicolas Prost of e-.dams Renault would have crossed the finish line.   Thankfully, while the two Renault-Spark-developed cars sustained substantial damage, especially the Team Venturi car driven by Nick Heidfeld, neither driver was serious injured.  Miraculously, both walked away from their wrecks, though both were clearly angry and their teams bitterly disappointed.  

Because I am acquainted with one of the owners of Team Venturi and his communication's director, I immediately conveyed by email both my relief and own sense of disappointment that the race would end this way for two fiercely competitive drivers, adding, however, that the crash may have done more to help cement the legitimacy of FIA Formula E "than we can imagine."   

"The video of the crash is all over the 'Net," I wrote my friends.

To which Venturi's communication's director replied, the disappointment still clearly present, that in years to come, when the Formula E roll of honor is read, "Nick's name and Venturi won't be written or that Victory was ours," adding…

"We were so scared."

"Among all Nick could have been killed or badly injured. People are to quickly forgetting that ! , "  he wrote.   

That is something none of us should forget.  Racing, regardless of how its powered, is a deadly serious sport.  Thankfully, the cars are engineered to not only be fast but also to allow the driver to survive violent crashes like in the final exciting moments of the race. 

It should also be noted that because the cars are electrically-powered, there was no fuel to leak all over the track and thus little risk of a fire.  Another plus for e-racing.

Only forty-two cars were built for the inaugural 2014-2015 series, so both e.dams Renault and Team Venturi have their work cut out for them rebuilding their cars in time for the next leg of the race to be held in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 22 November 2014.

EV World extends its congratulations to Lucas di Grassi and Audi Sport ABT, who took the top position on podium, along with Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport) and Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) for placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. 

You can follow the entire series on the FIA Formula E web site.


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