Bruno Senna has admitted that it may take race fans a while to get used to the sights and sounds – and even the concept – of Formula E, but promises them that the series will be worth investing time in.
The Brazilian was recently named as one half of the Mahindra Racing line-up, alongside former HRT F1 partner Karun Chandhok, and is in the process of preparing for the inaugural series of races, which kicks off later this year in Beijing. Formula E, he admits, is very different to mainstream motorsport, and some fans may take more convincing than others, but Senna insists that it will be worth watching.
“I think that there are a few ways to look at it,” he claimed, “You will probably never convert the hard-core F1 fans – they like their screaming engines. However, for general motorsport fans who enjoy single-seaters, touring cars and endurance racing all together, I think they'll be more open to it because it's another great motorsport series.
“I think the big draw for the championship is that the visual aspect of the racing is going to be incredible – the cars racing around streets of cities will have such an impact that you will concentrate only on the spectacular sight on track. If we had started F1 with electric motors and suddenly changed to a combustion engine the shock would be the same. It's just a case of getting used to the differences and embracing them.”
Despite, having tasted life at the top of the motorsport tree, and subsequently found a home in sportscars, Senna is clearly fired up for his latest adventure.
“There are a few things that excite me,” he admitted, “First off, I love driving single-seater race cars so that's definitely a very big pull, alongside the venues where we will have the opportunity to race – street circuits always throw up some fantastic racing. But it's also very important to be involved in a championship which is developing technology which could potentially be used in the road cars of the future in order to make lives more sustainable. It's certainly a pioneering enterprise and something I'm very interested in as well as the fantastic technology surrounding it.”
As well as the new technology, there's also a new format to the race weekend, with all the action in one day, something very different to what Senna has been used to.
“I think it will be a very interesting for everyone,” he insisted, “Of course there are times when, if you've had a bad qualifying, it's nice to have the time to go away and get a good night's sleep before the next session so, yes, it will be more demanding, but I think we'll just get used to it because this is the format and it's the same for everyone. A lot of homework will have to be done before each event in preparation to make sure that we know as much as we can to maximise our time on track.”
Admitting that he is looking forward to returning to race in Monaco – round eight of the series – Senna is also hoping that other elements of his F1 experience will pay off in Formula E.
“I had two years driving the F1 car with KERS, so I understood that aspect of the car and hopefully this will be good experience in Formula E,” he said, “It is different, but there are always aspects that you can take with you and work on. Formula E is an efficiency race, so the more I know the better. I'm aiming to get as much homework done before the season so that I can maximise our potential and get the extra knowledge.”