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Transportation Earth

FIA Adds Rome To Formula E 2014 Inaugural Season 91

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mad-max dept.
New submitter muon-catalyzed writes "Formula E — the new eco-friendly forumula racing just secured a major european city. Rome joins a growing eco-racing scene after Rio de Janeiro agreed to be part of it in August. Additional cities are expected in the coming weeks, this should quickly lead to a solidified race itinerary, the FIA says. Having Rome onside won't get cars to the starting line any sooner, but it may underscore Formula E's advantages in noise and pollution over gas-powered leagues — when its cars can race around the Colosseum without creating a ruckus, other cities (and spectators) might just follow suit."
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FIA Adds Rome To Formula E 2014 Inaugural Season

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've got an eco friendly vehicle for ya!

    How about a fucking bike.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ka chow!

    • Less noise? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:12AM (#42168883) Homepage Journal
      Geez...half the fun of seeing a race, or driving a race car or a motorcycle is the freakin' noise it makes.

      A well tuned sports car engine is a thing of beauty...hell, even the sound of an old 70's muscle car can bring a feeling of lust into your chest.

      And I gotta say, the day they turn motorcycles electric...is the day a lot of people may give them up.

      The roar and rumble of the engine between your legs is part of that feeling of freedom when you hit the open road.

      I don't think an electric engine, with a mp3 player and an external speaker system will generate that same type of emotional enthusiasm....it may perform in a superior manner, but it just want "feel" the same....

      • by radja (58949)

        nah.. 99% of the fun is the crashes. F1 is too safe to be fun any more, and the competition itself is NEVER shown. get rid of the races, put the cars on a roller setup to see who built the fastest car, and show us the construction process. because it's not about the driver. it's about the cars and how they're built.

        • by Jesse_vd (821123)

          Spoken like someone who doesn't know a thing about F1, and clearly didn't see the end of the 2012 season

      • by chrismcb (983081)
        I've never been to an F1 race, but I have heard that the noise is incredible.
        while an electric engine is fairly quiet, don't discount the noise of the tires and the sound of the car travelling through the air.
        I participant in a sport, where we have no engines, so most of the noise we make is from the wheels. Yet when we race in the 60-80mph range, we sound like jet engines. A little quieter, but there is still some noise... From a vehicle without a motor.
        • I've never been to an F1 race, but I have heard that the noise is incredible.

          Not been to a race, but I did go to a test session years ago when they used the V10s. Nothing prepares you for how loud those engines are :)

  • Extreme racing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JanneM (7445)

    Racing at the very top is supposed to be about the most uncompromising cars possible. As Formula 1 doesn't allow all-electric vehicles it feels like a natural progression to have a separate league for the topmost machines in the world.

    • Re:Extreme racing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by b_dover (773956) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:30AM (#42167931)
      If this were true, F1 cars would be alot faster and more powerful (remember the turbo era of the 1980s?). F1 is about using the most advanced engineering and technology to meet the limitations of the "Formula". the "1" is just that its the formula that allows for the fastest cars, but its still limiting by its nature. The details of that formula is not important, so F1 could go electric. Having said that, the long history of F1, its connection with the evolution of IC engines and people not liking their sports screwed with, I suspect Formula E will separate.
      • Re:Extreme racing (Score:5, Informative)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:57AM (#42168117) Homepage
        Yeah, they've actually done a lot to limit how fast the cars go in the last decade or so. They got rid of all the little winglets that let the car have extra downforce, without compromising speed. They limit the engines to a certain number of RPM (18000 I beleive). They even limit how many engines you can use for a season and how many sets of tires you can use. You can no longer replace your entire engine between qualifying and race day, which changes the dynamics quite a bit. It's definitely not a "no compromises" sort of thing.
        • The last decade? F1 hasn't been close to "no compromises" since wheels with spokes fell out of favor, and mostly for good safety-related reasons.

        • Check the difference between F1 and Le Mans where they have had diesels [wikipedia.org] and now hybrids [cnet.com] competing. Totally different.
    • Re:Extreme racing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by robthebloke (1308483) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:32AM (#42167943)

      Racing at the very top is supposed to be about the most uncompromising cars possible.

      Maybe in the 80's. These days F1 technology is very much driven by road vehicle manufacturers & environmental concerns. For example, the current 2.4L engines (which year on year have been limited to lower and lower revs) are being replaced by 1.6L turbos in 2014, mainly as a result of pressure from manufactures such a merc & renault (and audi / VW, although they eventally decided against joining). If the majority of newly built road cars become diesel powered, F1 engines will switch to diesel. Similarly, if the majority of new road cars are electric, F1 will switch. F1 will do whatever the sponsors ask, and if that includes radically changing the formula, then so be it....

      • Which is probably why, as the years go by, formula 1 seems less and less interesting to me. The main reason I used to watch it is precisely because it was about the peak of car technology. I watched it to see phenomenally powerful exotic cars that I would not see in real life, coupled with men with both the talent and balls to drive these machines to their limits. Sometimes on some very exotic circuits in far away places.

        I loved watching F1 and Rally in the 80's, then in the 90's, but afterwards F1 just wen

        • F1 is still at the peak of car technology even if the use of that technology is restrained. The most expensive supercars or any other race car are pedestrian in comparison.

          • Yeah, but I think it has become over-regulated. Almost all the cars are identical, with minor tweaks here and there. I guess for me, I used to watch F1 for the technological/engineering feats, as much as for seeing Senna work miracles in the corners.

            I loved seeing what method they used to gain an advantage. From "ground effect" skirts to seeing how much turbo power they could eck out of a tiny engine, to phenomenally high revving V12 engines, to one F1 car having 6 wheels, and another having a fan at the

        • by Jawnn (445279)

          Watching what are essentially glorified milk cars whizzing around quietly just doesn't stir my soul.

          Maybe there are people who will like watching this. I will give it a go if it ever begins, but I'm not holding my breath.

          Until this season, I would have agreed with you, but this was the most interesting season in F1 that I can remember. A battle for the championship that went down to the last race of the season, cars that, within the rules of the formula were continually tweaked and refined to eke out every possible advantage, and gobs of good close racing. Yes, there are only a handful of teams that have a realistic shot at the podium, but that handful all made regular appearances. It was not (quite) the Red Bull then ever

          • Yeah, it has been drawn to my attention that the current F1 season is a bit more like it. I stopped watching/following F1 a few years ago, as I had given up on it really, so that is new to me. I might give this season a try and see if it more to my liking, thanks!
          • Indeed. I think the greatest moment of this season was Vettel overtaking Jenson Button for 3rd with a few laps to go after starting last in Abu Dhabi. There was that split second when both cars wavered, and I thought they were going to collide. Vettel risked the entire championship to make the podium and eke out a few more points. That is the essence of a race car driver right there. Risking absolutely everything to win. Amazing.

            Regardless, I would like to see a little more relaxation in specs that ar

        • by chrismcb (983081)

          I don't know, but to me F1 looks like its turned into a glorified testing ground for technology to put into road cars.

          That is what car racing has pretty much ALWAYS been.

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        It's not necessarily only because of regulations, sometimes efficiency is an advantage in itself. Fuel is weight, and refueling is time, therefore fuel efficiency is a must if you want to win. Not to mention KERS which practically makes all F1 cars hybrids.

        • Weight is still directly related to winning, but refueling was ended in 2010 - regular pit stops are only for tire change now.
        • The engine power output is part of the formula, and so efficiency is not something the teams can use to get an upper hand. The engine formula is decided by whether the sponsors want to attach their names (and money!) to the cars. Since most car manufacturers are attempting to sell small economical cars (e.g. renault!), it makes sense to be involved in a high profile sport where the car engines have some parity to their road cars (although an 1.6L F1 engine will still produce 700+HP, it at least sounds close
          • Fuel efficiency is still important, no matter what the engine. if you can run a full race on 10kg less fuel, then you'll be faster overall by several seconds. That can make the difference between a win and third in some races.
      • These days F1 technology is very much driven by road vehicle manufacturers & environmental concerns.

        Don't forget safety. The "most uncompromising cars possible" will tend to fail catastrophically. For example, cars that use underbody aerodynamics to "suck" the car to the ground generate incredible levels of downforce - until they get too close or too far from the ground and the downforce very suddenly disappears. There are very strict regulations on this kind of thing these days.

        And of course, cost is becoming a bigger and bigger factor, with regulations designed to level the playing field, at least

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          If they really wanted to level the playing field, they would all be driving the exact same car, and the cars would be matched to drivers by lottery minutes before the race so as to prevent problems with unfairness and sabotage. The mechanics and car builders would be completely unconnected to the driving teams. Of course, that's not really what they want. What the rules are going for is to allow freedom within one team to perform better without having Ferrari win every single race.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            If they really wanted to level the playing field, they would all be driving the exact same car,

            Congratulations, you have failed to understand non-spec racing completely. The competition is between racing teams which include the engineers, mechanics, pit crew, and yes, the drivers. The companies backing the cars are competing. The drivers are simply the public face and the driving part of that competition; you cannot do without them, but you cannot do without anyone else on the team, either.

          • I did say level the field "at least a little bit," and it's inferred that it's in a financial sense. :)

            Of course they're not trying to equalise everything - it's a team sport, not an individual one. No matter what people think, it is fair that some drivers have better cars than others. And people often forget that one of the developers of the car is the driver himself.

            But reduce the financial gap between the back and the front of the grid, and you have a more reasonable barrier to entry, a chance fo
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Thing is whatever engine they have it will perform at the limits of what the FIA considers safe, which is the real limiting factor. They could easily go much faster, racing drivers seem to have reached their limit.

      • These days F1 technology is very much driven by road vehicle manufacturers & environmental concerns.

        Nah, it's driven by the teams' desire to lower costs. "The most uncompromising cars possible" led to budgets in excess of $100M per year per team, which was unsustainable.

        • Rubbish. If cost reduction was the aim, then it would be cheaper to keep the current 2.4L engines rather than invest millions developing new 1.6L turbos for the 2014 season. They are developing the 1.6L engines soley to try to temp the car manufacturers back (VW, Audi, and Honda specifically).
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:20AM (#42167879) Homepage Journal

    if they don't go 200mph, it's not really a contender.

    wouldn't be so sure about the creating a ruckus part either. however, formula 1 is so rule suppressed that the tech isn't that interesting nowadays, if they have wider variety in E it might be interesting. but going 200mph is going to create a ruckus, electric or not.

    and swapping the whole car at the pits? wtf dudes, just regulate the juice pack. easiest thing to regulate, everybody gets the same packs and that's the only fuel, after that it's a free for all. now THAT I would watch.

    • by physburn (1095481)
      Electric Vehicles can quite simply to engineered for high speed, the higher the voltage on the motor the faster it goes, simple. The only additional consideration is cooling the motor. Batteries can easierly be made ultra thin and stacked to high voltage, enabling very high speed electric cars.

      ---

      Motor Racing Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

    • by somersault (912633) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:57AM (#42168115) Homepage Journal

      You don't have to be going at 200mph for a race to be interesting. As long as everyone has a similar specced vehicle, it's the way drivers handle braking, acceleration, lines through the corners and overtaking that makes a race interesting.

      I really enjoy watching Touring Cars and rallies, but don't find F1 as entertaining. Touring cars tends to have packs of cars jostling for position and not so afraid to get up close and personal with each other. Rallying is of course just spectacular with all the drifting and varying terrain. I think it takes even more skill than being a good F1 driver. DTM is fun to watch too, it's like a mix between Touring Cars and F1.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        You don't have to be going at 200mph for a race to be interesting. As long as everyone has a similar specced vehicle, it's the way drivers handle braking, acceleration, lines through the corners and overtaking that makes a race interesting.

        I really enjoy watching Touring Cars and rallies, but don't find F1 as entertaining. Touring cars tends to have packs of cars jostling for position and not so afraid to get up close and personal with each other. Rallying is of course just spectacular with all the drifting and varying terrain. I think it takes even more skill than being a good F1 driver. DTM is fun to watch too, it's like a mix between Touring Cars and F1.

        you're describing karting.
        not formula. not a manufacturers competition.

        touring cars have _some_ differences too and le mans cars for example are extremely interesting tech. in dtm and some other touring car racing they add weights if you're beating the others so that tunes the field down. and rally was much more interesting with the stupid b class cars.

        however you might enjoy this new formula-e-mcclaren - because all the drive trains come from the same company. how the fuck is this supposed to advance techn

        • I'm not saying that cars in F1 or rallies are all the same, I know there are differences among the manufacturers. I'm just saying that the thing that makes races interesting is generally the driving, rather than the vehicles.

          I agree that single vehicle races are less fun to watch than multi-manufacturer races. I remember watching TOCA races a few years ago where some vehicles were diesel and some petrol. The diesels had much better torque and so powered out of corners better, but as a consequence they'd als

      • Thing about F1 though is the incredible g-forces, under turning and especially under braking. These are dependent on the extreme downforces that can only be generated at high speeds. So I wouldn't say that speed isn't important.

        Rallying, 100% agree.

        Touring cars I just can't get into, though I am certainly not blind to the appeal. For me, it seems too easy to get away with driving like an idiot, bumping other cars, out-braking yourself and taking the guy in front out - you just don't see the same di
        • You can generate extra downforce at lower speeds with suction fans [wikipedia.org] :)

          The Red Bull X2010/http://gran-turismo.wikia.com/wiki/Red_Bull_X2011_Prototype_'11X2011 concept cars in Gran Turismo 5 use this concept, as well as very lightweight bodies and over 1500BHP. They are insane... if they actually created a race series with them, I expect quite a lot of the drivers would die :p

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Racing is only interesting if they are going at the limits of what matches the terrain. This is why you don't need to be going at 200 mph for a rally race to be exciting. But a 1/4 mile drag race that took 30 seconds would not be interesting, even if the cars were evenly matched. You could design a race track that would make watching stock Smart cars exciting but it wouldn't consist of a 1 km straightaway section. I think that F1 has lost it's edge specifically because it seems that they aren't really on
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I think that F1 has lost it's edge specifically because it seems that they aren't really on the edge of the speed envelope where technology really allows them to be.

          I disagree. That's where the postage gets cancelled. There's no need to be going as fast as a car can possibly go. Keep the tracks interesting and the race will be interesting anyway. What they should be doing is pushing the handling part, which is something that we could all benefit from.

    • formula 1 is so rule suppressed that the tech isn't that interesting nowadays

      On the contrary, I think it's fascinating the smart tricks engineers use to overcome the regulations. Mercedes double-DRS this year comes to mind, and the Red Bull's alternative version of the same concept.

      and swapping the whole car at the pits? wtf dudes, just regulate the juice pack. easiest thing to regulate, everybody gets the same packs and that's the only fuel, after that it's a free for all. now THAT I would watch.

      Agreed, car swapping sounds a bit crazy. But in terms of regulating the juice pack, that's effectively what we have now - there's no refuelling in the race, so there's serious tactical play going on all the time, trading off the weight of extra fuel with the ability to use the engine at max power for mo

    • by Motard (1553251)

      I was excited when I first heard about this series as I thought we'd see competing technologies competing on track. But this is just going to be a bunch of identical electric cars bought from a single source.

      Meh.

      • I think it's a chicken-and-egg problem. You have to have manufacturers interested in competing because an audience of fans (i.e. customers) exists. I imagine right now the electric/hybrid car buyer is not exactly a typical race fan. I know, I know a lot of people would like to have an electric car for a daily commute and then an ICE sports car for the weekend and special occasions, but, I don't think Prius and Leaf buyers are the typical race fan demographic. Yet.

        For the electric/hybrid car customer it'

  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:20AM (#42167881)

    A quick visit to the FIA site revealed no information regarding the original source of the energy that powers these cars. Without that, any discussion of the "greenness" of this endeavour is entirely moot.

    I'm getting really tired of this meme that electric cars are automatically green. They *can* produce fewer carbon emissions, but when all of the factors, (greenhouse gases emitted during manufacture and maintenance, as well as charging the batteries), are taken into account, electric cars may be no better than their internal-combustion counterparts.

    Because they produce no tailpipe emissions, electric cars are probably a step in the right direction. I just wish they were promoted as such, rather than being touted as the 'OMG-that's-wonderful' answer to climate change and sustainability.

    • Unless it was produced with and charged by 100% coal power or close to it, it will be "greener." In most places there is a huge difference.

      Of course then they're going to fly the cars and the teams all around the world, completely obliterating that difference, so you've still got something to nitpick on and pooh-pooh electric cars with.

      • Even if it's produced with 100% coal it will nearly always be more efficient that gas. An energy harvesting system that is several orders of magnitude larger, more complex, and capable of running much hotter is much, much more efficient than a 1.6L ICE. A traditional power plant generator can turn 40% of the energy in it's fuel into electricity. A combined cycle plant can reach 60%. The best an ICE can even theoretically do is about 35% due to material limits, an average car in average use is uses about

        • More efficient yes, but without modern emissions controls equipment (which many plants in the US and China don't have) still more polluting. That's how nasty coal is.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Formula has already done a lot in the development of efficient cars. There's a big difference between combustion engines, so even a mostly combustion-based race could promote emission reduction. And electric cars are important because once they become widely affordable our biggest dependance on fossil fuels will cease to exist. Switching to all nuclear will only require the political will.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    for most racing fans, the noise is a large part of the fun.
    you don't hear people say, "do you remember the whurr
    of the original prius. they just don't make 'em like they
    used to." no! you hear "do you remember the 93 era
    ferrari 12 cyl. what a scream!"

  • yeah they should really cut a hole in the floor of the cars and let the drivers use their feet to propel the cars. Maybe they can install a device to make the xylophone-style sound as they do it?
  • As long as it will be run by FIA, it will have overcomplicated rules, biased race control and barely any sports values.

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