2014: our year in brief

What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago, the Spark-Renault racing car hadn’t yet been tested with its full powertrain, there were no confirmed drivers and the Trulli team wasn’t even a glint in anyone’s eyes. Formula E seemed a long way from being ready for its September debut.

And yet, here we are, three races into the first season and with a mountain of content built up over the past 365 days. We’ve worked with DHL and Renault, we’ve supplied photography to five of the 10 race teams, and we’ve produced the first dedicated Formula E magazine. It’s been an epic year.

Here are our favourite pieces from 2014. Thanks for sharing the journey with us so far: roll on 2015. 

January

  • “We want to win in Beijing.” Our two part interview with China Racing boss Steven Lu charted the history of the relatively unknown team and set out its lofty ambitions.
  • Beijing circuit confirmed. In the second part of Lu’s interview, we published the first confirmation that the Beijing track would be held on the streets around the city’s Olympic buildings.
  • On Cohabitation. Another first, this was our detailed look into the design, finance and construction of a new facility at Donington Park, which would house the global Formula E technical HQ
  • From Vegas to videotape. Following a promotional run of the Spark-Renault along The Strip in Las Vegas, we brought you this behind-the-scenes article describing how the footage was put together.

February

  • What’s in a motor? With the Spark-Renault still wrapped in many, many layers of secrecy, we discovered what would prove to be the motor powering the car. We speculated how the unit – the same as that used in the McLaren P1 – could have been tampered with to achieve the significant power boost Formula E figures were quoting.
  • Safety cars: unplugged. Lots of techy stuff on wireless charging and how that would be implemented in the Formula E safety cars, six months before the actual cars were unveiled.
  • Secret sauce, circuits and superfast construction. If you want to know how Miami’s race has been planned, this is still the piece to read, more than a year ahead of its time.
  • Positive results at Spark-Renault test. Test driver Antoine Leclerc told us that private tests were going well with the final-spec powertrain.

March

  • Cheat sheet. We published this helpful guide to the Spark-Renault, complete with a technical illustration from noted motorsport illustrator and analyst Craig Scarborough. The sheet went on to form an integral part of the preseason guide we published in time for the public preseason tests at Donington Park (and we updated it here).
  • Mobile data and a “kiss on the balcony”. More insight from Qualcomm, this time on how to make sure that a series built on social media could maintain great coverage during the events.
  • The KW conundrum. An explanation of how you can describe a battery in both kW and kWh units to help prepare all non-volt heads for the summer’s electric racing programme.
  • 3000bhp, 300mph and a man called Leo. A first look at the Venturi set up, its land speed record programme and its connections with a Hollywood A-lister.

April

  • Welcome to HQ. A seminal moment, this: the first time Shivy shots are published at Current E, and the first time that glorious, clear, high-resolution shots reveal what will become the Formula E technical base at Donington Park.
  • In pictures: Spark-Renault details. More Shivy magic, capturing the display car at Donington Park to give car geeks the first proper close-up shots of components.
  • Runway to racetrack. Studio-style photos of the Spark-Renault, taken at Donington Park. These still look bloody epic.
  • Science, sex, sizzle – and sustainability. We nabbed Nicki Shields for her first public words as Formula E’s world feed anchor and pitlane reporter. This was the article that convinced her other half to marry her sharpish. Honest.

May

  • Donington HQ launch: in pictures. We attended the launch of the sport’s new base and took lots of photos of people who would become very familiar over the summer, including Sam Bird, Jaime Alguersuari, Karun Chandhok (who was denying that he had a contract at this point…the pictures indicated otherwise), Alain Prost, Lucas di Grassi, Nicki Shields and Jack Nicholls. We handed out a lot of business cards.
  • Parts puzzle: Spark-Renault spy shots. The first pictures of the electric racing car components published anywhere (sent only to us by the chap who posted these at his Twitter and who then removed them very swiftly!).
  • Predicting the performance characteristics of the Spark-Renault. Still trying to get under the skin of what the new racing car might be able to do, an engineer submitted this paper to us for publication and discussion. It’s still worth a look now.
  • High definition. A first look at the camera technology being used to capture on-board footage in Formula E.

June

  • Generating results. Another Current E scoop that went a little under the radar, this was the first published piece linking the Aquafuel generators to Formula E. Official confirmation didn’t arrive for another three months.

July

  • Batman, Bond and Formula E. Stunt driver and former Top Gear Stig told us he’d love to be involved in Formula E. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re still hoping.
  • Nationwide Vehicle Contracts joins Current E. The car lease company signed up to promote its range of fuel efficient vehicles with us. The relationship helps keep Current E running.
  • Shiv’s top shots: days one and two. The Current E team covered all five days of preseason testing at Donington Park, with detailed analysis pieces and plenty of gossip. But none of that compares to these jaw-dropping photos by Shiv.
  • Shiv’s top shots: days three and four. More mouth-agape imagery from the man who has become THE Formula E photographer.
  • We published the first edition of our Preseason Guide, which was distributed free of charge to spectators with their tickets. It was also published online, for even greater accessibility. We also published the first details of the private test day, here.

August

  • When supercars breed. The first detailed independent article examining the Williams connection to Formula E and the story of the battery development process.
  • BMW does wireless. Following on from our Qualcomm piece earlier in the year, we took a good look at the recently-revealed BMW i3 and i8 safety cars and their wireless charging systems.
  • Package tour. We explored DHL’s involvement in Formula E, with some surprising revelations about how the race calendar came into being.
  • Test day schedules simulations galore. By this point, our sources were really coming into their own. Details of race simulations to be held on the last day of testing were only published at Current E.
  • Shiv’s top shots: day five. More gorgeous visual imagery from the man with the camera.
  • Preseason Guide and Behind the Scenes at Mahindra Racing supplement. An updated guide was sponsored by DHL, and we got inside information from the Indian racing team on strategy for testing. Again, the publications were distributed free of charge at Donington Park and posted online.

September

  • Beijing race day. The Current E team made it to Beijing for the first ever Formula E race. We brought you build up news and pictures from the two days before the race, and then this live trackside blog on the day itself.
  • Shiv’s top shots: Beijing. The best of Shiv’s shots from the first event, including the now-iconic shot of Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld walking down the pitlane immediately following their dramatic collision.

October

November

  • Out now: Beijing 2014 magazine. We ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund our first publication, which was successful. Teams, team principals and drivers all bought in, along with Formula E fans. We published the magazine online too so that everyone could read the first and only dedicated Formula E magazine.
  • Putrajaya race day. The Current E team was trackside in Putrajaya for the second race, with more live blogging direct from the media centre.
  • Shiv’s top shots: Putrajaya. More superb images captured by crack cameraman Shiv.

December

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