Formula 1 is dead. Long live eeerm Formula E??

Boris Johnson recently revealed that a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK will be brought forward to 2035 so we can be carbon zero by 2050. In the not too distant future, our ‘personal mobility solution’ will be an autonomous electric vehicle that we will call up whenever we need it. This will be the final nail in the coffin of our century old love of the automobile.

No more lovingly polishing the beast in the driveway (it’s already banned in Germany) and no more excuses to treat your wife to a chrome exhaust or a pair of leather driving gloves. All this will be a thought crime – in some parts of woke Britain it already is. Sports cars will disappear and Formula 1, that great testing ground for automotive development will go the way of Linoleum. While we stress over whether our hummus pot is recyclable, Formula 1’s annual carbon emissions are about 256,600 tonnes. It’s done for.

It’s electrifying!

Unsurprisingly, “I’ve just bought a Nissan Leaf” is a conversation stopper, even at a vegan dinner party. Electric cars just aren’t sexy, but there is some light on the horizon for those who can’t live without a bit of four wheeled derring-do on their TV screen. Last Saturday a Kiwi chap called Mitch Evans won an accident strewn race in Mexico City without using any petrol and making hardly any noise.

To many race fans Formula E, the electric racing series, is a poor show. There is some truth in this. The drivers are all has beens and the upcoming ‘London E Prix’ will actually race through a shed called the ExCel exhibition centre somewhere in East London and nobody will bother going. However, Formula E is the perfect testing ground for electric vehicle development and it’s why Porsche, Jaguar, Mahindra, BMW, Audi, Citroen, Mercedes and Nissan have all piled in.

Electric vehicles are not perfect.

They drop minute and harmful particles into the atmosphere from their brakes and tyres and electricity still needs to be generated, much of it still from dirty fossil fuels. As for Lithium mining, don’t even go there. However, Formula E will be the laboratory for all sorts of innovation from braking systems to low wear, low emission tyres and high-tech lubricants that the drivetrain manufacturer puts in that you’ll never see – we are working on these with Castrol already.

EVs will spawn a massive growth of new supporting brands to service the biggest revolution in private transport since the introduction of the internal combustion engine. So far, the Formula E paddock is a bit short on sponsors. Where is the trusted international charging network, the ethically source lithium brand or the wiper free glass? For anyone interested in innovation and branding look no further than the EV revolution and Formula E. There’s tons to do.

Author: Richard Williams – Founder Williams Murray Hamm