Marc Priestley: I’m fascinated by the championship

The FIA Formula E Championship is always evolving and trying to find ways to improve our fan and viewer experience. With this in mind, we are very excited to welcome Marc Priestley into the fold.

As an ex-Formula 1 mechanic, passionate advocate of electric cars, and assured TV presenter, he’ll add some fascinating insight to our YouTube video coverage. But we’ll let him explain what he’ll be up to in his own words…

What is your role going to be?

In broad terms, I’m going to be presenting the majority of Formula E’s YouTube content. I’ll be attending every ePrix, I’ll be doing updates from the track with regard to what is going on in the event itself, but also – and more excitingly for me – I’ll be looking at the broader side of Formula E and how it fits into the automotive world, the gaming world and all the spin offs will form part of what we cover. And those are all things that are right up my street so I’m looking forward to it.

What have you made of the way the championship has evolved?

When we all headed into Season 1 it was a bit of an unknown. No one knew, even Formula E itself, how it would unfold. There have been some rocky moments but actually, you have to look at it now in Season 3 and say it’s been a great success. There are major manufacturers that are onboard, it’s being broadcast in many countries around the world, we’re going to some amazing cities – we’re going to New York, which is a massive tick for the championship – so I think you have to look at it as a big success. It’s also sparking much wider debate about electric vehicles and how their performance, how their efficiencies are transforming behind the scenes and I think Formula E has played a big part in that.

What elements of the Formula E car particularly interest you?

I’ve been fascinated by the way we are in a championship where the technology is homologated at the start of the season, so essentially once you’ve designed your car the technology is pretty much frozen. What’s been really interesting is the way people have learnt to use that over the season and lots of the development has been in the efficient running of that equipment and trying to make efficiency savings over an ePrix and how they make ways to use regeneration. Those things have been really interesting to me because they are the things that make your electric road car go further or faster and are all the things that are going to play a key role in people adopting EVs in the wider world. It’s been great to see big manufacturers coming in with a decent budget for developing the motors and the inverters and the drivetrains as a whole. We’ve seen some revolutionary tech coming through the systems, but as I say for me the software side is a really important side and is something that will directly transfer into the road car industry.

Formula E is unique in that it races on city street tracks. Are there any cities in particular that you are looking forward to visiting?

I was slightly disappointed to have missed Marrakesh because that looked like a good one. I’m hoping that remains on the calendar so I can go there in the future. We’ve all had a long wait for Buenos Aires, so I think the anticipation is great. I’ve never been there, it’s a great city that I really want to go to, so I’m really looking forward to that one. And we’ve had great races there before so the excitement level is going to be great, but New York is the one. Formula 1 has been trying to get there for many years – and it’s something Bernie Ecclestone had on his list for a very long time and never managed to achieve, so it’s a real feather in the cap for Formula E to get a race there. With Manhattan as a backdrop I think it’s going to be a spectacular event and I think it’s what a lot of people in the world are looking forward to seeing.

Has there been any talk of you having a go in the car?

Not yet, but let’s start some! I’ve been lucky enough to drive a lot of electric vehicles and some really high performance ones as well. And once you’ve been behind the wheel of an electric car, particularly a high-performance electric car like a Tesla, you can’t compare it to anything else. You can’t compare it to your standard petrol driven road car because the performance levels are night and day different. So I think even having driven those you get a little bit of an understanding of what the acceleration is like, what the regen is like under braking, because it does transform the way you drive. I would love to get behind the wheel of a Formula E car and I think it’s something that would be an incredible experience.