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Heart of the city // Alex Lynn gives Formula E an introduction on BBC Radio 2

Published by Christine Blachford

Alex Lynn talks Formula E on Radio 2
Credit: LAT Photographic

This winter, I'm really enthusiastic about getting to know Formula E better and fully engaging with what has been and continues to be an exciting avenue of motorsport. I've previously wanted to get on board but been stopped by time constraints and angst over missing French drivers, but the time has come for me to put all that aside and start paying proper attention.

The sport has three seasons under its belt and is due to start the fourth next month, but I'm approaching it as something of a rookie. With that in mind, it was brilliant timing to hear Alex Lynn of DS Virgin Racing on BBC Radio 2's drivetime show introducing the sport to what I assume is a whole new audience. He did a great job of distilling the basics of what makes this electric racing series special, but also issued quite the challenge to Formula One whilst he was at it.

Formula E is effectively street racing with electric cars. They look just like Formula One cars, so they're single seaters, but they race only in city centres and of course, they're all electric, so completely different.

The big point of Formula E, because it is electric, we get to race in the heart of some of the megacities all over the world. Be that Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Berlin, everywhere we go, we race in the city centre. We take the racing to the people and that's the main thing about Formula E, is taking the racing to the people. And obviously the show is just as good as you'd find in any other racing because they're city streets so fast-paced racing in twisty circuits, it's a real show.

The future of the automotive industry is going electric and some of the biggest manufacturers are coming to race in Formula E, be that Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Audi, Renault. You name it, everyone's coming in to race in this championship, because it is the future of the automotive industry.

Since Formula E was first racing, the cars are now twice as fast, but also the main thing I want to stress about Formula E is, it's not about where it is at the moment, it's about where it's going. Electric technology is definitely the future of the automotive industry but that's where the racing is getting exciting because the car technology and the development of the racing is going at such a high pace that it's really a never-ending development.

[People] absolutely are [going to compare it to F1] but the thing is, where we race because we're electric, that's what gives us the opportunity to go to the heart of these cities. That's what gives us the opportunity. Formula One couldn't do that, because of the noise and also because of the emissions as well.

I'd say that Formula E has the opportunity to really, really take on Formula One as the most high profile racing championship in the world because of the way the technology is going in the future for the road cars. And when we bring the manufacturers to the racing, that's what makes this sport a global phenomenon.

Alex did a brilliant job during the short segment to sum up what is special about this single seater series, particularly when it comes to comparisons with Formula One. Essentially, saying there's no need to compare unless you're talking about the future of motorsport, in which case Formula E is a definite contender, if not the leading entry.

He also managed a quick plug for the first round of the new championship, which takes place in Hong Kong on the 2nd December, and I hope that lots of the Radio 2 audience will take a punt and tune in because I know I'll be watching!