Slip behind the scene of the trials of ZOE e-Sport Concept with Nicolas Prost!--
You are test driving ZOE e-Sport Concept for the first time, would you mind sharing with us your first impressions?
I am very impressed with the acceleration! Even if it is difficult to compare to a Formula E. We are clearly not on the same type of car: Formula E is a single-seater and ZOE e-Sport Concept, a city car with a sedan body. One weighs 880 kg, the other weigh much more. These two vehicles are very different. In terms of braking and cornering performance, ZOE e-Sport Concept cannot compete with Formula E because of its weight. But I am still very surprised by the acceleration. You really feel that all the power passes through the ground. You can tell that all the work done in Formula E has been used in this car, and, once again, there's an awareness of the sporting potential of electric cars, in terms of acceleration.
How do you see the future of Formula E?
Today, all lights are green! Many were skeptical or cautious at the start, but I believe that discipline has exceeded all expectations. Nine manufacturers are involved in ten teams. The show we provide on TV is excellent. I think this is probably the best car racing in terms of entertainment: with overtaking and big battles. And although, even if the electric cars are not the fastest, they still provide a satisfying level of performance that is close to a Formula 3.
Can you tell us about the Formula E championship audience? Who are the spectators?
It is quite complicated to know the exact audience. What I know is that it exists, that it is very present and that it is only growing. The Formula E is already in front of categories such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) which have been there for much longer. There is a lot of interaction through social networks, which implies a younger audience involved differently. I think part of this audience comes from the traditional autosport background, such as Formula 1 and other categories, but not only. At the races, we see a much younger public. When I say much younger, it is not only on average, it is really very young children who come with their parents probably more reassured by this discipline with the noise levels and things. Other very different populations are also present compared to those of traditional sports competitions. When I see groups like Greenpeace partnering with Formula E, it feels like the championship has managed to build bridges with the environment and has attracted people who would probably have hated motorsport and are now able to understand the relevance of such a discipline.
From your point of view, what is the future of the Formula E championship?
We must be careful about the development of the championship in the future. I do not think we can do much better than the first two and a half years. The future for Formula E is to keep growing in a controlled manner. It is important to move the technology forward, to improve the cars, as long as it doesn't create big differences between the teams, and it mustn't start to be too expensive. Budgets must remain consistent with visibility. We've seen many championships crash when they expand too quickly opening the competition to other participants too fast. I think that, so far, it's been managed well, but we mustn't get carried away! It is still the spectacle that is appealing. If tomorrow a team that's two seconds quicker than the others, there won't be any point in watching. We do know very well that budgets are important, but we must ensure that we keep a technical regulation that maintains a reasonable budget to ensure a show that meets the expectations of the general public.