Formula E picks up speed

December, again. The year feels like it’s disappearing faster than Cameron’s commitment to green policies. Formula E is accelerating just as hard, and November proved to be quite a month for revelations:

  1. Car makers Audi and Mahindra Reva joined the sport: Audi through the Audi Sport ABT team, and Mahindra with its racing division. Former Formula 1 outfit Super Aguri signed up too.
  2. Audi promised to support the ABT team with factory drivers if required, and former F1 driver Karun Chandhok said he was in advanced talks to drive for Mahindra.
  3. Another chap who used to be in F1, Takuma Sato, was announced as the second Formula E development driver. Rumours that he will race for former employer Super Aguri are not needed because the link seems so clear. The rumours began anyway.
  4. A media deal with Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi was confirmed, with the suggestion that the race coverage might be free to view in that country.
  5. We discovered that the “Brabham Formula E Racing Team” has been officially registered in the UK, though the team itself doesn’t appear to have yet broken cover.
  6. An interview with former F1 design engineer Chris Vagg uncovered the subtext behind team developments at Formula E and hinted that money and media has a lot to do with the selection process. Business as usual for the upper echelons of motor racing, then.
  7. Shakedown began of the Spark-Renault customer car that will be used by all teams in season one. The car was running at 25% power with a quarter-sized battery on a small track in France. All went well. Technical analysis by Chris Vagg explained why the real story of how well sorted the car is won’t be known until it’s tested properly. Pictures and video footage from the event appeared remarkably slick for a first day, despite us listening hard for swear words. Nope, not one.
  8. We published a graphic pinpointing the inner workings of the racing car.
  9. A report from professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) claimed that Formula E would lead to gazillions more electric cars being sold in the new few years. The credibility of the report was slightly undermined by its absence (Formula E promoter FEH simply sent round edited highlights), connections between the report’s author and the FEH head, and claims that an EY report into the financial state of F1 contributed to an “extremely careless” investment from British and US banks.
  10. A blog by tech giant Qualcomm, which is also a Formula E founding partner, took some of the shine off all the fluffy Miss World-style marketing about a greener future and world peace for all by saying it hopes the series will help it sell lots more products. Ah, the moral values of the free market economy remain unscathed.
  11. Top Gear called Formula E “a genuine agent for social change”. Hell began a new line in fetchingly proportioned ice sculptures and winter wear.

Much more is to come before the year is out. Eight of 10 teams have been announced; the ninth is due this week and the last shortly thereafter. We’ve been promised more news on drivers and the FIA has yet to officially approve the circuits and the calendar. Don’t go anywhere – it’s going to be an exciting December.

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