When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Formula E, Revving Up A Green Rival To Formula 1

Donington Park test runs on Aug. 18
Donington Park test runs on Aug. 18
Philippe Bertrand

After the latest preparatory races in mid-August on England's Donington Park circuit, all eyes are now on the first world championship of electric cars, to be held Sept. 13 in Beijing. Get used to the name: it's called Formula E.

“Even if it will probably never overtake Formula One, Formula E should be considered the automobile competition of the future," says French racer and former F1 champion Alain Prost.

Formula E is the first championship organized by the International Federation of Automobile (FIA) for vehicles powered by electric engines. The competition was first conceived of in 2011 when the president of FIA, Frenchman and former Peugeot and Ferrari manager Jean Todt, felt it was high time they created an environmentally friendly competition.

But the project only saw the light of day in 2013, thanks to Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, son-in-law of Spain's former Prime Minister José Maria Aznar — and more importantly, close friend of Bernie Ecclestone, the president and CEO of Formula One Management.

As the owner of the GP2 Campos, Agag persuaded the FIA to organize a real Championship, now slated to begin next month in the Chinese capital. Malaysia, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Miami, Long Beach, Berlin, Monte Carlo and eventually London will all join in the game in the two years to come.

Keep the sizzle

Like Formula One, racers accumulate points through each race, with the winner raking in five million euros. For the first season, all teams are composed of two drivers, using the same car. The French automobile industry is central to the construction of the vehicle: a Spark Renault SRT_01E with a Renault engine, Michelin tires and a Williams battery. Each team has four cars since the battery only lasts for 40 minutes — meaning that in the middle of the race, drivers must make e-pit stops, and jump into another car!

In contrast with Formula One and its trademark noise and pollution, this new discipline offers the possibility of holding the races in city centers. “The cars should go and reach the audience, not the other way around," says Rob Arnott, manager of the Andretti team.

French F1 legend Alain Prost himself has just become the co-owner of the team e.dams Renault. “I wish I had committed from the very beginning, but we should remain cautious, since we are entering a whole new field,” he says.

During the summer, the final prep races in Donington drew in more than 6,500 spectators, attracted by the design of the cars, the speed (up to 270 km/h or 168 mph), the barely audible noise and the skills the pro drivers, including a dozen former F1 racers. “I’m already more interested in Formula E than in the GP2 Series because the cars in the Formula E are magnificent. I tried hard to get tickets for the London race. Formula E is the future,” says a young karting racer from Newcastle.

Contracts with top broadcasters such as Canal+ in France, ITV in Britain and CCTV in China are already signed, as well as advertising partnership agreements with sponsors like DHL. Which means that the host cities won’t have to spend a great deal of money to hold Formula E events. Says Jaume Sallers the marketing director of the competition:“We negotiated with local governments, and we both agree that we need their help more in organization than in finance."

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

The Gaza Ceasefire Is Over, With Western Diplomacy Weaker Than Ever

Diplomacy has failed to stave off a resumption of the war in Gaza. Yes, Israel made clear its goal of destroying Hamas is not complete. But the end of the truce is also one more sign that both the U.S. and Europe hold less sway in the region than they once did.

Smoke rising from a building after an Israeli strike on the city Rafah the in southern Gaza strip.

December 1, 2023: Smoke rising from a building after an Israeli strike on the city Rafah the in southern Gaza strip

Source: Abed Rahim Khatib/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Unfortunately, the end of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was predictable. In a previous column this week, I wrote that the question was not whether the war would resume, but rather when (and how) it would resume. Israel has made it clear in recent days that it has not yet achieved its goal of destroying Hamas in Gaza, and that it still intends to do just that.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Still, international diplomacy has not been idle. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel on Thursday: the United States was putting pressure on Israel so that, once the conflict resumed, it would inflict fewer civilian casualties — a more “surgical” war.

It is obviously too early to know if Blinken’s words have been heard. The only question is whether Israel will apply the same massive strategy in the south of the territory as in the north, or if the country will carry out more targeted operations, in a region with a very high population density.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest