Nicolas Prost is confident the new FIA Formula E Championship has the right ingredients to become a successful world series as he prepares to line up on the inaugural grid with e.dams Renault.
The Frenchman, son of F1 title-winning legend Alain Prost, is one of several high-profile names to be committing to the new 'green' series, which will see a 20-strong grid of electricity-powered single-seater chassis compete on inner-city street circuits, beginning in Beijing next month.
A bold concept designed to promote a more environmentally-conscious ethos, Formula E has also been charged with attracting a new audience to motorsport, an objective it plans to achieve by taking the series to
the fans with urban races, offering entertainment packages and initiating greater spectator interaction.
Indeed, Prost believes Formula E is onto a winning format, even if he believes the prospect of a single-day race format and unforgiving street circuits will make it more of a challenge for drivers and teams.
“I like the concept of a single-day format but if something goes wrong it is going to be hard to come back, even if you have a tiny crash or a problem,” he told Crash.net
. “I think they need to make sure you don't run into too many problems and you get a spare car maybe if it happens.
“We need to know exactly what the races are going to be like because it keeps adjusting. I think it is a new series and you'll have to react quickly in the first races to be competitive.
“The car itself feels like a heavy single-seater. The electric part, in terms of driving, is not different at all, but what is different is what is around it – the technology, the energy-recovery and managing energy – and also the tyres.
“You need to have the right balance [between speed and energy saving]. It shouldn't be saving energy all the time and you shouldn't be able to push all the time, because it is part of the game and concept to be sustainable.
“I am also looking forward to the street tracks, if they are good tracks. If you put [these cars] around Le Mans, it won't be good for them. Also, you are bringing racing to people, they don't have to come to you. I am really positive about this.”
Touching on the FanBoost initiative, which will see fans 'vote' on social media for which two drivers should get an extra 'boost' of power in each race, though Prost is aware he comes with a recognisable name, he is hoping the scheme isn't so influential.
“I think the fan boost is good but I hope it doesn't change too much,” he continued. “I am already worried because some of these drivers have so many followers, but Twitter isn't so popular in France! I think it is good to involve people, but it shouldn't have too much influence.”
Prost will be paired with Sebastien Buemi in the well-supported e.dams team, which is to be part-run by his father Alain and title-winning GP2 team DAMS, with French car giant Renault cominng on board as a title partner.