I had a thought or two about the show Formula E has to provide and came up with a ‘sound’ idea after a drink.
I love Formula E. I think the leap of faith the management took with the global racing series on first try is at least admirable - whether you like the series or not. I truly believe it could be the next Champ Car - as a show - as it was in its final seasons, only much better.
Champ Car - before its ultimate demise - toured around the world, mostly on city circuits and was a bargain next to Formula 1. What Champ Car or F1 wasn’t able to do, though, Formula E could.
Due to its characteristics, it is a ‘want’ series for many cities. The cities Formula E goes either want the cheap show, or they want to advertise their green agenda. In its first season, FE visited Long Beach, Miami, Monaco - as places famous for their motor racing heritage - and other cities F1 or IndyCar could never go.
This is one of the reasons I admire the series - apart from its illustrious selection of drivers and teams, also a throwback to some of the best years of F1 and IndyCar.
Now that development on certain parts of the powertrain package is open for every team, the series is just one chassis away to be eligible to a World Championship status. Here, take a listen into what they have to cook up.
However, I had a drink or two and started thinking about the series’ ‘FanBoost’ feature, where an increase of momentary power for each driver could be voted by the public.
I’d vote for something else. I’d vote for the sound of the cars.
You see, the most ingenious piece of advertisement I have seen in a very long time is Honda’s InterNavi solution, where the telemetry data of Ayrton Senna’s lap record at the Suzuka circuit in 1989 was fed back to computers and recreated in sound on the speaker-filled track to give an impression of the ‘ghost’ of the car being driven around with a trail of light marking the spot.
I believe, transferring that technology to Formula E races could improve the show to a great extent. Everyone is inspired by sound (or the lack of it) and most of the teams have had some sort of affiliation with a manufacturer or another racing team.
Virgin has been in F1 and also affiliated with Citroen’s DS brand, so there are plenty of engine sounds to choose from.
Dragon has Penske racing cars.
Renault e.Dams has a vast catalog of Formula 1 cars.
ABT goes with Audi.
Mahindra has MotoGP bikes.
Andretti still runs McLaren electric engines, and the two were paired in the past.
Team Aguri used to be a de facto Honda B-Team in the past.
NEXTEV has had the wonderful-sounding A1GP team.
Trulli has more than one F1 engine sounds to choose from and Venturi likes to keep it quiet.
My alcohol-fuelled mind came up with the following:
1. record and synthesize the sound of said engines
2. make the public vote for a noise before every race
3. equip with an engine monitoring system and possibly a GPS tracker
4. adjust the revs to the synthesized engine sounds
5. when at the track, add your location so that the system could transfer a noise sounding like cars were coming and going through headphones you are wearing at the scene
6. make it an option for home viewing as well
7. add speakers for the start/finish straight
By doing so - fitted with the inevitable delays in the process - you could race different-sounding vehicles from different classes and eras.
When the alcohol wears off, this might be the worst idea ever, but let me know what you think.