The electric chain had hoped to become the new first class, but after booming in the early years, factory after factory withdrew.
The win in the end was perfect, of course. But this is how Nyck de Vries celebrated last Sunday from the podium, before joining the awards ceremony, bearing his glass and sprinkling champagne from one of these giant bottles, as the new Formula E world champion – a first of its kind.
At the end of the season in Berlin, eighth place was enough for the 26-year-old Dutchman to celebrate a second victory in addition to his driver’s title win: winning the team championship with Mercedes. So World Champion, finally all-electric too!
The FIA, the world motorsports federation, was only in its seventh season awarding Formula E the privilege of declaring the best “world champions”, meaning the series had moved on to Formula 1, the World Rally Championship, cross-division rally and the WEC endurance series. “Words let me down,” said de Vries, “Mercedes was very happy with this Formula E premiere. The world champion seems more straightforward than simple: the champions. But despite this upgrade, the question that has accompanied many racing series for some time arises again: What are the chances that the lineage will end soon?
Formula E components, launched in 2014, were actually quite tasty, if you weren’t concerned with the engine noise and glorious history: a technology that’s considered the future of cars; A decent field of twelve teams, interspersed with notable and powerful manufacturers such as Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes and Audi. And even the excitement: many of the 24 drivers could have won the title in Berlin on their own. Exactly what the organizers love: a competition open to the end.
But not all participants are still fully convinced of the concept of Formula E. After the hype in the beginning, when no manufacturer wanted to miss the connection in the supposed future segment, the farewell is increasing. Audi is withdrawing as a manufacturer because starting at the Dakar Rally with a hybrid prototype looks more attractive and the budget is no longer flowing so generously into motorsport.
BMW says goodbye with words that Formula E makers should not like: “The possibilities for technology transfer in the development of electric motors in the competitive environment of Formula E racing are ‘fundamentally exhausted'”. Mercedes is also putting an end to next season, the automaker has now announced.
Formula E would have liked to rise to be the new first class, or at least be equal. But public interest has not so far risen as hoped, although the automakers have moved their races to major cities in order to be friendlier and more family friendly.
Formula 1 also strives for sustainable technologies. From 2025, cars should start with internal combustion engines, which at best use pure synthetic fuel. Formula E has given motorsport a huge boost. The only question is whether the future does not belong to others after all.