Exclusive: Formula E is on the right track, says Nyck de Vries
This year’s season opener in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, kicked off the first ever Formula E World Championship in February
The year 2021 is hugely significant if you are a fan of Formula E, the racing championship for the electrically powered vehicles. This year’s season opener in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, kicked off the first ever Formula E World Championship in February.
It was a ground-breaking achievement for a sport featuring electrically powered vehicles to be recognised by FIA, the motorsport's governing body.
And Dutch driver Nyck de Vries, who won his maiden Formula E race with the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team in Diriyah, spoke to Khaleej Times through the team’s Principal Partner NEOM on the future of the sport ahead of this weekend’s double header in Rome.
Formula E is still a relatively young sport. How do you think Formula E has evolved since you joined and what do you think about its future?
The championship has already established itself quiet a lot. Conversations are progressing about Gen 3 and speeding up the cars is becoming more of a priority. Fast charging is a big topic as well and how we will bring that to the championship races.
From a sustainability point of view and with regards to EVs market and technology development, I strongly believe and see that the world is quickly moving its focus into that direction and the interest is increasing very quickly. At the moment, I believe what is slowing down the process is neither the cars nor their range, but the infrastructure. If that can develop as fast as the cars, then we can see that the EVs will take over rapidly.
How did it feel racing in Saudi for the season opening of the first Formula E under the World Championship title?
It was super cool to race at night. Before the race in Diriyah, I was excited as I like the circuit in Saudi a lot, in fact it is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar – it is really fast in Formula E terms.
Diriyah’s circuit doesn’t have any slow corners and is very narrow and curvy, which makes it exciting from a driver’s perspective. It was my first experience during the night on a street track and it provided an unforgettable driving experience.
What are the aspects that you want to highlight which can draw more young drivers like you to Formula E?
I think there is already a big group of young drivers in Formula E and it’s now one of the biggest championships in the world. I personally don’t think that we have the need to promote and sell Formula E in our motorsport world. The fact that we have many manufactures, big drivers’ names already speaks for itself.
We have a bit more work needed however to attract the historic motorsports fans who are used to hearing the engines and the cars, and formula E is different experience.
You have been driving the all-electric Mercedes EQC which was gifted to you on your birthday. What observations can you notice in the car that has been taken or inspired by the car you drive in the Formula E race?
Ultimate, the goal of Formula E is to develop the future of electric vehicles technology on the track. That transition might not 100 percent or as quick as we like but the principles are the same.
How are your preparations for the Rome EPrix? And how do you feel about racing in double-headers?
I really like double headers as I enjoy racing. We are very much looking forward to Rome and it looks like a proper street track and we really need tracks like Saudi and Rome because that’s what Formula E is about and that’s is the DNA of the championship and what the cars are designed for.
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