Special Report: FIA Formula E Championship Race in Putrajaya, Malaysia

LEAN, MEAN GREEN MACHINES. TAG Heuer’s motor-racing adventure continues with Formula E. Clarissa Santoso was trackside at Putrajaya, Malaysia

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 A chain of racers speeding down the racetrack

The FIA Formula E Championship created quite a buzz when its first race was held in one of the world’s most polluted cities in the world, Beijing, in September 2014. This new class of environmentally friendly racing then took to the streets of Putrajaya, Malaysia on Saturday, November 22. It marked the second race of the world’s first fully electric racing championship. Predicted to be a strong contender for Formula One, this sport has celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson as team backers.

Pioneering Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer takes part in the whole event as the official watch, partner and timekeeper. Formula E itself is committed to the promotion of sustainability and seeks to drive change toward an electric future. Like TAG Heuer, it is a pioneer in its field. “TAG Heuer has always been ahead of its time, always attracted by firsts,” declared Stéphane Linder, the CEO of TAG Heuer. “Formula E is the first major innovation in this sport within the last 10 years. Motor racing has been a part of TAG Heuer’s DNA since the very beginning. It is only natural that it would become a founding partner of the first fully electric championship. This race is a dream come true and the first step to a new era.”

In Formula E, the challenge lies not in just overtaking other cars, but also in energy rationing and saving—thus introducing new considerations including how much battery power is left and how many kilowatts the racers use per lap. All 10 teams, each with two drivers, competed using the new spark Renault SRT 01E machine during the inaugural Formula E season. During the exhilarating race in Putrajaya, Malaysia, four crashes occurred amid attempts by each team to conserve their battery charge in order to last the entire race. Virgin Racing’s British driver Sam Bird won the 31-lap race in 45 minutes. Beijing ePrix winner Lucas Di Grassi from Audi Sport ABT finished second, while Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi from e.damsRenault finished third.

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The race starts off in earnest

DRIVING THE FUTURE

The difference between Formula E and other nonelectric races is apparent not just in the absence of carbon emissions and the thunderous roar of high-performance engines, but also in the purpose it serves in a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important. The FIA Formula E is the brainchild of FIA President Jean Todt, who wanted to create a motorsport that demonstrated the potential of sustainable technology.

The championship represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for research and development around electric vehicles while also driving general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. “Formula E promotes interest and investment in electric vehicles and sustainable motoring. We look forward to participating in this noble and exciting endeavor, as we share its values: innovation, performance and sustainable development. And, at the core, a deep and abiding love for the world’s fastest sport,” said Linder.

Formula E continued to Punta del Este in Uruguay (December 13) and Buenos Aires in Argentina (January 10). Other cities that will play host to the series include Miami and Long Beach in the United States, and Berlin and Monte Carlo in Europe. From season two onwards, Formula E will operate as an “open championship,” allowing teams and manufacturers to showcase their own electrical innovations. Working to the technical specifications set out by the FIA, teams will focus their efforts on improving and developing battery technology in the hopes that this will then filter down into the everyday electric vehicle market.

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A racer speeding on the track

WATCHES ACCOMPANYING THE RACE

In line with Formula E’s theme of sustainability are TAG Heuer’s three Formula One watches. Heralded as the greenest representatives of advanced Swiss watchmaking technology, these automatic watches are racing-inspired wonders that deliver maximum precision with a minimal carbon footprint.

The Formula One Calibre 5 Automatic is decorated in alternate polished and fine-brushed steel. It has a black or white dial, a racing redtipped second hand and red touches on the flange. Strap options for the 41mm watch are steel bracelet, black perforated rubber or high-trend black NATO.

The Formula One Automatic Full Black is a black-on-black addition to the collection, featuring a black perforated rubber strap, black dial and black titanium carbide-coated steel case. As with the other Calibre 5 editions, the second hand is decorated with a touch of fiery red.

The TAG Heuer Formula One Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph is dubbed a “total performer,” a motor-racing instrument of ultimate precision, featuring three silver chronograph counters with red tip hands. The re-sculpted 44mm case is both rugged and beautiful, just like the green, mean machines blasting at the exciting racing championship.

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