Why Formula E is so Much More Than a Car Race


September 30, 2016 | BY Keshia Hannam

Innovation, progress and sustainable economies: Formula E is the manifestation of everything modern Hong Kong stands for

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Photo courtesy of Formula E

Formula E is the future of car racing. Petrol fumes and rumbling engines will be a thing of the past after the first all-electric motor racing series – a first for the world of motorsport, and an international debut for host-city Hong Kong.

“Formula E is shaping the future of sports events, where entertainment and motorsport meet to create the ultimate event experience,” said Mr Alan Fang, Chief Executive Officer of Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong. Central harbourfront will be transformed for the weekend of October 8-9, with a two-kilometre track navigating through the urban circuit. The grandstands will be erected along the track’s main straight at Lung Wo Road and Tamar Park, and The Hong Kong Observation Wheel will gaze upon the hairpin bends with views of the harbour skyline. The total capacity for the three grandstands will exceed 6,000 seats, with organisers targeting a total event capacity of 30,000.

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Photo courtesy of Formula E

 Formula E is a big deal for the car manufacturing and technology industry. Technological advancements usually begin in the pits of world-class races like this, literally and figuratively. The new equipment is refined and filters down the production chain until it’s developed into the kind that everyday people engage with. The advancement of electric car technology will be driven by the uptake in users and consumer demand for the type of car seen in the Formula E races: this is good news for manufacturers focussing their efforts on sustainable technologies, as well as for the environment. Given the profit-over-conservation approach that many large companies take, it’s a positive sign that a commercial and corporate driven city like Hong Kong is hosting Formula E. Mr Fang cites the pulsing metropolitan as one reason for the choice to host the first Formula E in the city: “Hong Kong is one of the major hubs for finance and trading in Asia and many headquarters are in Hong Kong. Hong Kong seeks to be environmentally conscious and has a long history for the love of cars. Most importantly," he finishes proudly: “I am from Hong Kong.”

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Photo courtesy of Formula E

Spirits are high surrounding the upcoming race, as ticket sales, enthusiasm from sponsors and the passion of Hong Kong continue to exceed expectations. It’s this zealous excitement that indicates how ready Hong Kong is for an event of this nature. In recent years, Hong Kong has pushed to become a greener city; and it may still be far from an eco-friendly paradise, but an increased awareness of environmental issues has led to a slow introduction of greener policies and the prioritising of sustainable goals. Running in tandem with the Formula E event is the Metta eSummit: a two-day innovation conference that unites international leaders from within and outside Hong Kong to examine and create solutions to local and international issues. With talks from notable speakers like Ben Goertzel, Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society, and Christine Loh, Undersecretary of Environment for the HKSAR Government, the summit will undoubtedly attract much attention. The timing of the conference will provide much-needed support in furthering the goals of Formula E, reinforcing the message of environmental responsibility and sustainability.

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Photo courtesy of Formula E

The official partner for the event, Mettā, puts environmental consciousness at the top of their list. Launched in May 2016, the co-innovation platform aims to charter a path for a more sustainable Hong Kong beyond 2016. "Hong Kong is at crossroads, just like the world and business on a macro and micro level. The continued success and competitiveness of this city depends on how it can encourage and apply innovation across the board,” says Tony Verb, managing partner of Mettā. "Topics such as Smart People: “Preparing for Life with Smarter Machines” with Ben Goertzel who is the Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society, and Smart Economy: “Driving Transformation to Attain Sustainability” with Mats Hederos, CEO, AMF Pensions (Stockholm Re-Innovation); Ken Montler, CEO, Pangea Motors and Joe Lee, Co-Founder, Kuaidi Group.”


Buy your tickets for the Formula E event here