Herbert on Formula E: Part 1

Johnny Herbert On Formula E Formula Future

In the run-up to the launch of the inaugural season of Formula E’s all-electric single-seater racing, Formula Future caught up with Formula One race winner and television pundit Johnny Herbert to gauge what the legend from an era bygone thought about motorsport’s latest craze.

Formula Future:

As a Formula One race winner, what’s your opinion on Formula E?

Johnny Herbert:

It’s a bit like Formula One – it’s got all this modern technology and it’s the right time for it to appear. Many road cars today have some kind of electric propulsion and in the future most, if not all, cars will go that way. The formula itself is completely battery orientated and the cars look like racy single-seaters, which is nice.

Formula Future:

What do you think about the noise – or lack thereof?

Johnny Herbert:

I know they’re quiet – very quiet – with a little bit of whining from the transmission and some other noises. People criticise Formula One for being so quiet – well, Formula E is even less noisy! But if the racing works, like in Formula One today, people will stop complaining. I think the potential is very good.

Formula Future:

Formula E will race exclusively in cities. Is this a positive thing?

Johnny Herbert:

Racing at street circuits in cities is great. Formula racing needs to be seen in cities. We rarely see this in Formula One. Aside from some venues like Singapore and Monaco, Formula One races take place on racing circuits. It will be good to see top drivers racing around built-up areas.

Formula Future:

Do you think the public are ready for Formula E?

Johnny Herbert:

It’ll be interesting to see if this is the right time to be launching it. Hopefully, for sake of the series, it will be. It could be too early because people still haven’t quite got their heads around Formula One’s technology, or that they’re now quieter. In the future, I’m sure many racing cars will be like this. It could be the future, and if that’s the case, then everyone should embrace it.

Formula Future:

Are you concerned by racing cars becoming quieter?

Johnny Herbert:

In a way. I think humans love noise. If there is a fighter jet or the Red Arrows flying over Silverstone, everybody looks up and enjoys the noise and thrill of the occasion. If you go to a fireworks display, everybody wants to have the big noise and flashes that go with it. That sort of spectacle is what stimulates humans.

Tune in later this week for Part 2 of the exclusive interview.

Image credit: JohnnyHerbert.org

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