Formula E has announced a plan that will give drivers with the most Twitter mentions an extra “power boost” on the last lap of the race. Never before has being popular mattered so much to racers, though I’m not sure if this is an amazing idea, or a terrible one.
The Formula E race cars are capable of up to 268 horsepower through the use of a special power boost feature, which drivers can use twice per race. The rest of the time, the electric motors are limited to just 178 horsepower. But there is a way to get an additional power boost, and that’s via Twitter. Drivers who get the most mentions during a race will receive an additional third power boost they can use on the last lap, potentially propelling them to victory.
I mean on one hand, this is a great idea that could give an underdog driver a huge advantage, and it also helps the fans feel like a part of the action. Of course this could also give an advantage to well-knowndrivers from more populous better-connected countries. O mean, who wouldn’t tweet for The Stig? But the boost isn’t going to be enough to win races alone, though it does open the door for other neat features.
On the other hand, it gives a very futuristic, almost Mario Kart-like feel to the whole race, and I could see other “power ups” being integrated into Formula E…perhaps even scenarios that affect the performance of fellow drivers. Imagine being able to “shoot” an opponent, knocking their power down by 50 ponies for 5 seconds? Or perhaps a system that reverses the controls of the race car for a brief time? Oh boy, that’s be fun to watch.
Ok, that last one is probably a terrible idea born from decades of frustrating my friends in Mario Kart. I also think a heat-seeking blue turtle shell is probably out of the question (though it could happen with a drone…). But this kind of fan interaction is something I wish more motorsports could do, and these pure electric cars have the most potential, as almost every performance parameter can be affected via radio signal.
What other Mario Kart-like features could Formula E integrate into its races?