Herald of the clean car, the quadruple world champion slams the door of the Electric Formula to join Renault in F1. Vroom vroom!
It is a rather unwelcome exit from the road. On the eve of the Grand Prix of the Electric Formula of Paris which will take place on Saturday over 1.9 kilometers around the Invalides, Alain Prost announces this morning that he is leaving the Renault e.Dams team where his son Nicolas is racing. The former champion returns to Formula 1 as special advisor to Renault (shareholder of Challenges). “It was becoming difficult to do everything between FE and F1,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe. It turns out that Renault made the decision to withdraw (from the FE) in order to focus on F1; it made sense for me to follow roughly the same timing. Prost says his decision is unrelated to any disinterest in FE. It prevents. This hasty departure from Renault e.Dams, of which he is a co-owner, is a bad idea. FE is only in its fourth season and Prost, 63, is one of the main figures. First by his sporting past (he is a quadruple F1 champion). And by the results obtained in electric Grand Prix. Out of 40 FE starts, Renault e.Dams recorded 15 victories. The team won three team championships and a drivers title. Last year, it was Nicolas Prost’s teammate at Renault e.Dams, Sébastien Buemi, who triumphed in Paris.
A withdrawal that weakens the electric formula
The withdrawal of Alain Prost weakens the FE. “It might have been better if he announced it a few days before the Paris Grand Prix,” recognizes Eric Barbaroux, organizer of the Parisian event. However, Alain increasing in power at Renault, he finds himself in a conflict of interest. It was therefore logical that the situation be clarified. ” The power of attraction of F1 is stronger, but Eric Barbaroux prefers to focus on “the positive spiral” of the FE, which has more manufacturers than F1. Today, Renault, Jaguar, Mahindra, Audi, DS run electric. “Next year, with the arrival of Nissan (which replaces Renault), Mercedes, BMW and Porsche and a Chinese brand, there will be nine. It is truly incredible. ” The budgets, around 10-15 million euros, are out of proportion with those of F1 (from 200 to 400 million). The FE enjoys a strong exposure – it is broadcast by 197 television channels (in France Canal +, C8 and Eurosport) – but hardly receives any rights. The competition is young, it must first be made known. The sponsors finance it: Qatar Airways, Visa, Michelin, DHL, Modis, Allianz and above all ABB.
A difference … sound
Specializing in electric charging stations, the Swiss-Swedish group, which has become an official partner, has invested some 150 million euros for the next seven seasons. “The budget for the Paris Grand Prix, around 10 million euros, will cost nothing to the State and nothing to Paris,” assures Eric Barbaroux. Two years ago, the event had some hiccups. Due to the risk of attacks, an important area had been dedicated to security and some of the fans had been deprived of a show. “Last year, 46,000 people came during the weekend and this year, we are targeting 60,000 spectators including 10,000 paying,” said Eric Barbaroux. The big difference between F1 and FE is sound. Exit the deafening vroom-vroom of thermal single-seaters. Instead a slight hissing sound. This allows FE promoters to organize the Grands Prix in town centers. Taking into account the limited autonomy of the cars, the competition lasts twice half an hour, the drivers having to change mount halfway through the race. Everything will change next year. Thanks to the progress made on the batteries, the single-seaters will run for an hour in one go. This technological performance also reflects on conventional electric vehicles. As with racing cars, their range has doubled in five years. Which contributes to the current boom.