'Formula E racing is fascinating'

'Formula E racing is fascinating'

Drivers need to be error-free: Karun

'Formula E racing is fascinating'

Electrically powered cars making a telling impact on the roads still might be a distant dream for many, but for people like Bruno Senna and Jarno Trulli, former Formula 1 drivers, powering such cars on a street circuit no longer is.

Formula E, the latest entrant into the motorsport calender, is a series which uses cars running on electrically charged batteries for its races. Recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the new series features a host of former F1, Indycar and Le Mans drivers plying their trade for the ten teams competing in the inaugural series that started in Bejing this September.

Karun Chandhok who drives for the Mahindra racing team, India’s only team in the series, says he has found the series fascinating so far.

“It is completely a new stuff. For me its fascinating. A learning experience,” says Karun during an interaction with the media here on Monday. “The quality of racing is very high. The 16 racers who the took the grid in Bejing are either a former F1 racer or a test driver, and apart from them, there are guys from Le Mans and Indycar. That itself shows the wealth of experience these guys bring on to the track.”

Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi won the first race on September 13 in Beijing while Chandhok finished fifth. “It was a good race. A learning experience. To finish in the top five in the very first race, I think its a good start. We will look to build on this,” says the Chennai born racer, looking ahead to the second race in Malaysia on November 22.

Every GP is a street race in the heart of the host city, and each one is a one-day event, unlike F1. “It has been one of the attractions for me. Taking the sport to the people is something that excites me. I have love street racing. That’s something I look forward to,” says the former F1 racer who was with HRT and Lotus.

“With the Formula E GP being a one day event (including qualification and final), you end up paying for your mistake instantly, because the team has no time to rework on the car. One needs to be error-free. That is new and something that we are learning about,” he added.

Chandhok also dismisses thoughts that the new series will be a threat to F1. “F1 and Formula E cannot be compared. They are in no way competing with each other. Both will co-exist in the same world,” he says.

Jules Bianchi’s crash in F1’s Japanese GP has raised questions on the safety measures that the teams take for their drivers. Though one can have a long debate on the safety measures involved, Karun says the drivers need to be cautious and more safety would rule out the risk factor from the sport.

“Accidents are part of a race. Jules was very unlucky. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. When we get into the car, we accept the risk involved in it. No one forces us into it. So I don’t think providing foolproof safety is the way out.

“We need to be more careful while on the track. We need to learn for such incidents and try to improve ourselves to minimise the risk. I think it’s the risk factor that makes the game entertaining for everyone,” he says.