The debate between Formula 1 and Formula E has raged on since the inception of the all-electric series in 2014. Motorsport enthusiasts across the globe are divided on which is the better series, but another pressing question is whether Formula E will ever be faster than Formula 1.
Formula E will not be faster than Formula 1 for a long time. While both are developing their cars and technology at astounding rates, F1 simply has more money at its disposal and a larger fan base, and this massive amount of continuous development means it will be faster for years to come.
Whatever your opinion on the debate, it’s fair to say that both series have produced spectacular racing. They are, in their own rights, the top form of motorsport featuring the best drivers in the world. But let’s compare the two in more detail.
Comparing Formula E To Formula 1
Currently, Formula 1 is a lot faster than Formula E. Rightfully so too, with over 70 years of development behind them, Formula 1 cars are a different breed to any other car on this planet. If you compare them directly to each other, it’s easy to get a better understanding of just how different the cars are.
It’s important to keep in mind that the rules do limit the speed of Formula E cars. Unfortunately, we will never be able to get a true comparison between these two magnificent machines. The only way we can have a true comparison is when both are designed and built under the same set of rules.
Formula 1 cars can go from 0-60 MPH in just 2.5 seconds. Formula E can still keep up with this fairly well, reaching 60 MPH in a slightly slower 2.8 seconds. During this initial phase the Formula E car can still keep up, but it is still clearly lacking in some acceleration.
However, it’s when they reach their top speeds where the Formula E car really starts to lose out. Formula 1 cars will max out (depending on their set up) at around 210 MPH. Formula E cars, however, cannot go over 175 MPH.
In terms of horsepower, it’s the same story. Formula E cars (although legally capped) produce around 355 horsepower. Formula 1 cars produce a monstrous 1000 horsepower. This is a huge difference, which can quickly explain the big difference in top speed.
However, it is not just the sheer engine power that makes the difference in the speed of these cars, but also the way they are built. Formula E cars mainly find their downforce from the huge rear diffusers built into the chassis.
This means that the cars do not need the huge front and rear wings that you would normally find on Formula 1 cars. This allows cars in Formula E to follow each other much more closely leading to better and closer racing.
Formula 1 cars produce a lot more downforce than Formula E cars, allowing them to corner faster. In fact, cornering speeds are a Formula 1 car’s biggest strength, and if you compare it to any other car around a circuit, the fast corners are where Formula 1 cars gain the most time.
Why F1 Is So Much Faster Than Formula E
There are a few reasons behind the inherent differences in top speed between Formula E and Formula 1 cars. Firstly, Formula 1 has had several decades to improve and develop their technology. As a result, they have become the fastest racing cars on earth.
Much Less Time
Formula E on the other hand, has had only 6 years to develop their technology. In the time since the sport’s inception, the cars have become faster and more efficient. It’s only the beginning, as Formula E cars will only get faster and more efficient as time goes on.
Formula E cars also only race on street circuits. These are generally much shorter than fully fledged racetracks, and therefore the cars do not need huge amounts of power, speed or downforce. The idea is to keep the sport simple and the racing as close as possible.
As the technology develops and the cars become faster, the sport will need to progress to full racetracks at some point in the future. However, for now they will remain on street circuits, and the speed and power of the cars will be kept down until then.
Research And Development
Formula E is quickly progressing. At the sport’s inception in 2014 the cars were slow and couldn’t even complete three quarters of the race distance without running out of battery. The drivers would switch cars in a “pit stop” halfway through the race.
However, in the 6 years since then, the cars have been greatly developed and are now much faster. They are also able to complete the full race distance without a ‘recharge’ pit stop.
Plenty Of R&D
Formula 1, however, develops just as quickly. The competition between the teams means that everyone is trying to get the edge over one another. This means that every single part of the car is being researched and developed for maximum performance and efficiency.
The performance race in Formula 1 will always be there, and there will always be teams looking to go faster and faster. This is why Formula 1 has produced the fastest cars in the world.
If Formula E were ever to be faster than Formula 1, it would need to adjust its rules in order to allow teams more freedom to develop faster cars. Without these limitations, the cars could easily become faster.
However, whether the FIA would allow Formula E to become the new Formula 1 is another question. Formula 1 is the flagship racing series, and it would be like parents buying the little brother their first car before the older one! But there are also safety implications, costs to think about and the question of whether or not Formula E will continue to grow in popularity in the future.
The Future Of Formula E
The future of both of these sports is certainly exciting. Both series have massive plans for the future, and it’s fair to say that both will be worth keeping an eye on for any motorsport fan.
Formula 1 will be going carbon neutral by the year 2030. This could potentially mean a switch over to fully electric cars in the distant future. However, they also have massive rule changes coming up that will shake up the entire sport. Whether these new rules will be good or bad for the sport and the racing aspect remains to be seen.
Formula E will keep developing their cars with each new season, bringing more exciting racing and faster cars with each passing year. At some point the cars might move over to longer racetracks. However, the street circuits are part of the Formula E ‘culture’, and they will not be moving on from it anytime soon.
Either way, both of these racing series are exciting to watch, and the next few years of developments will certainly be interesting for fans. In addition, the technological advancements made in both sports will be beneficial to everyday cars that we see out on the roads.
If the FIA remove the limitations and rules designed to slow Formula E cars down, I am sure that they could become faster than Formula 1 cars. If both series were under equal rules (with the mechanics of the power unit being the only difference) the cars would probably be closely matched in terms of performance.
Formula 1 cars are not only much faster than those of Formula E, but they also have decades of research and development behind them. The rules limit the performance levels of Formula E cars due to the fact that they do not need to race on long tracks. Without those rules, there could be a chance that Formula E would be faster than Formula 1.