The stars of Formula E on why it's the most exciting series in motorsport

The competition is electric

Formula E in Misano
(Image credit: Future)

So you're thinking of following Formula E? The first test of course for any new fan is what does the 'E' stand for? And reigning Formula E World Champion Jake Dennis put it best. "Well it's not engine is it?" 

Jokes aside, the world's only single-seater all-electric series has a lot of reasons to love it. We're lovers of the best electric vehicles here at T3, so Formula E is right up our alley, but really it should be a top priority for motorsport fans in general. The thought of the world's highest-performance electric cars reaching speeds of up to 200mph should be enough to send chills up anyone's spine. Don't just take our word for it though. 

It's not every day that you get the chance to talk to a bonafide racing driver, let alone four of them in one day, but on our recent trip to Misano, Italy (near Bologna) that's exactly what we did. We spoke to Nyck De Vries, Jake Hughes, Stoffel Vandoorne and Jake Dennis who are all currently competing in the tenth season of the sport.

Of course, the elephant in the room is Formula One, and while it's great to be a fan of both, Formula E is far from a poor relation. For De Vries and Vandoorne, who have experience in both Formula E and F1, they can make direct comparisons between the two. So aside from the engines, what's the difference behind the wheel?

Vandoorne admits that "In terms of pure physicality, Formula One is the hardest because of the G Forces and the load that goes through our bodies." But that isn't to say he isn't working hard in a different way. "It's mentally very challenging," Vandoorne says "because of the amount of information and things to manage in the car, they're not too dissimilar (in terms of difficulty), just a different kind of skill." 

Managing battery charge adds a fascinating layer of strategy to Formula E. Particularly in high-power tracks like Misano, the demands on the battery create tight 'Peloton' races where no one can get too far ahead and kill the race (looking at you Mr Verstappen). 

When I asked Jake Dennis to sell the sport to new fans in a sentence, he summed it up in three words. "Watch Portland 2023." 

That was a particularly dramatic and chaotic race still talked about by fans and drivers, but there's plenty of excitement each race too. "There's no other championship with five different winners in five different races," Dennis said. The next day, Oliver Rowland's victory in the first double-header race made it six different winners in six races. 

De Vries agrees "Racing action is almost a guarantee, it's very unpredictable and that's exciting."

There are serious names on the grid too, Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan and this season Neom McLaren is bringing its signature shade of papaya to proceedings. One of their driving duo, Jake Hughes, certainly appreciates representing such a prestigious team. "It makes you feel ten feet tall." Hughes says, "It's the stuff of dreams really. I'm more involved than I've ever been as a racing driver." 

Of course, it's impossible not to talk about Formula E without the environmental message, and it means a lot to some of the drivers too. 

Hughes is one of them. He cites avoiding plastic cycling and carpooling as green steps he has taken, and those values are rubbing off on McLaren as a whole. "When I go to the MTC (the McLaren Technology Centre) now, everyone is using a reusable coffee cup. It sounds small but it starts small and becomes bigger."

"Everyone involved embraces the message," agrees De Vries, but he doesn't necessarily see electric vehicles as the sole answer to the climate crisis. "I believe In hybrid solutions and I'm certain electric vehicles will be part of that. But will it (electric cars) take over the world? No." he pictures a combination of methods like bio-fuel and hydrogen with different solutions being implemented where they suit across the world.

Don't let that fool you though, this is no tree-hugging love-in either, the drivers aren't here just to change the image of motorsport, they're here to win. Despite his too-cool-for-school demeanour, Jake Dennis sums that up well. "My job here is to drive a racecar as fast as I possibly can. I'm more aware of what's around me (environmentally) but ultimately I'm here to drive a racecar as quickly as possible and that should always be my number one goal." 

If you've been left a bit disillusioned by Formula One, or are looking to get into motorsport for the first time, I can't think of a better place to start than Formula E.

This season Formula E is streaming in the UK on TNT Sports.  

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.