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#1628512 - 10/01/2019 19:02 Formula E, by gum
Jim_Clennell Offline
Club member 105
Forum veteran

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 16279
Loc: Corridor of Uncertainty
Off to Marrakesh tomorrow to see what all the fuss is about. If there is any fuss.

Hoping it will be an amazing experience and turns us into electric racing converts.

Either way, it's forecast to be 21 degrees and sunny, there's 10 of us going, sharing a beautiful Riad in the Medina and the flights were £75 return. What's not to like?
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#1628515 - 10/01/2019 21:34 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
GrahamL Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 17/12/2005
Posts: 3596
Loc: Pothole City
Originally Posted By Jim_Clennell
What's not to like?


I'd probably remove "Mountain hike" from your itinerary for a start. wink

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#1628518 - 11/01/2019 07:26 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
Jim_Clennell Offline
Club member 105
Forum veteran

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 16279
Loc: Corridor of Uncertainty
Indeed, but I'd probably not be wandering around parts of the UK in similar circumstances!
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#1628519 - 11/01/2019 09:50 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
neil_r Offline
Enjoying the ride

Registered: 16/08/2007
Posts: 793
Loc: Germany
Hope you have a great time.

I have been following Formula E for a few seasons now and it is usually quite unpredictable racing. There are more and more known names taking up seats too. No pit stops for a new car from this year - the batteries are getting better!

I like it but I will watch most top-rung motor racing given the chance smile

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#1628520 - 11/01/2019 10:29 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
andyps Offline
Club member 1482
Enjoying the ride

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 1151
Loc: Pontefract, West Yorkshire
Have a great time Jim, I'd like to go to Marrakesh generally, Formula E might just add to that.
_________________________
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#1628521 - 11/01/2019 11:22 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: GrahamL]
Edinburgh Offline
Club Board member
I AM a Coop

Registered: 04/03/2007
Posts: 10334
Loc: Auld Reekie
Originally Posted By GrahamL

I'd probably remove "Mountain hike" from your itinerary for a start. wink


Sorry, I'm struggling to "get" the significance of this.... confused laugh


Yes, seconded for a trip to Marrakesh....have to start preparing a big build-up for Mrs Ed laugh
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#1628525 - 11/01/2019 13:39 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Edinburgh]
GrahamL Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 17/12/2005
Posts: 3596
Loc: Pothole City
Originally Posted By Edinburgh
Sorry, I'm struggling to "get" the significance of this.... confused


https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8066184/morocco-beheadings-cops-arrest-isis-fanatics/

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#1628526 - 11/01/2019 13:41 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: GrahamL]
Edinburgh Offline
Club Board member
I AM a Coop

Registered: 04/03/2007
Posts: 10334
Loc: Auld Reekie
shocked

Must widen my sources of news....
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#1628536 - 11/01/2019 22:19 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Edinburgh]
Mark_S Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 19/12/2005
Posts: 4761
Loc: Haslemere, Surrey
I was reading this in the published press but never saw any coverage on the BBC news channel as the gruesome and intriguing story played out over a week or so. Typical rolleyes
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#1628537 - 11/01/2019 22:22 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Mark_S]
Mark_S Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 19/12/2005
Posts: 4761
Loc: Haslemere, Surrey
Just read the Sun article and it does not mention that a Swiss national has been arrested and that this was a "training attack" run under his auspices.
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#1628539 - 12/01/2019 06:20 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
MeanRedSpider Offline
Je suis un Coupé

Registered: 25/03/2006
Posts: 8628
Loc: Cambridge & Cotswolds
The problem I have with Formula e is the tracks- they’re so Mickey Mouse like kart tracks - where’s Eau Rouge or Maggots Becketts or 130R or even the Monaco tunnel etc

Until the technology has the capability to make proper circuit racing realistic, it will just be of passing interest.
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#1628541 - 12/01/2019 08:56 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
oxfordSteve Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 16/12/2006
Posts: 3915
Loc: The Faringdon Folly
I agree with MRS, the tracks are awful, from both a racing and visibility point of view. All the tracks seem to have at least on straight funnelling into a too tight, too narrow corner, resulting in the too obvious collection of carbon fibre bits on the track.

Marrakesh on the other hand is bloody brilliant.
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#1628544 - 12/01/2019 15:27 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
MeanRedSpider Offline
Je suis un Coupé

Registered: 25/03/2006
Posts: 8628
Loc: Cambridge & Cotswolds
And F1 gets panned for gimmicks like DRS and driving to tyres but Formula E has “Attack Mode” and “Fan Boost” and runs to power restrictions. It’s OK as a spectacle but nowhere near as engaging as F1 for me.
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#1628547 - 12/01/2019 16:15 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
PeteP Offline
Ex Presidente and Treasurer
Forum veteran

Registered: 22/12/2005
Posts: 18804
Loc: Aldershot
Leaves me cold, all the cars look the same whining their way round the circuit with only the paint different, 50% of the race done and change cars?
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#1628549 - 12/01/2019 18:02 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
magooagain Offline
Club member 259
Forum is my life

Registered: 22/10/2008
Posts: 6484
Loc: ked
Maybe I didn't give enough time,but it's not for me. I'm realizing I didn't Annalise why I didn't like it,though by what's has been said from others here I now know.

Some nice locations though.
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#1628553 - 12/01/2019 18:11 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: PeteP]
MeanRedSpider Offline
Je suis un Coupé

Registered: 25/03/2006
Posts: 8628
Loc: Cambridge & Cotswolds
Originally Posted By PeteP
Leaves me cold, all the cars look the same whining their way round the circuit with only the paint different, 50% of the race done and change cars?


At least they don’t change cars any more - and there are now at least some different designed cars - though the shape looks the same. It will eventually get somewhere good I hope but it’s not there yet

The support race is Jaguar ePaces - that kinda sums it up right now
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#1628556 - 12/01/2019 19:45 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
Brilly1uk Offline
Club member 1034
My life on the forum

Registered: 20/04/2012
Posts: 1902
Loc: Glos
Work in progress I think - it somehow lacks "emotion"?
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#1628557 - 12/01/2019 20:01 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: magooagain]
oxfordSteve Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 16/12/2006
Posts: 3915
Loc: The Faringdon Folly
Originally Posted By magooagain
Maybe I didn't give enough time,but it's not for me. I'm realizing I didn't Annalise why I didn't like it,though by what's has been said from others here I now know.

Some nice locations though.


Wait. Who's Annalise?
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#1628562 - 12/01/2019 23:18 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: oxfordSteve]
Edinburgh Offline
Club Board member
I AM a Coop

Registered: 04/03/2007
Posts: 10334
Loc: Auld Reekie
Originally Posted By oxfordSteve
Originally Posted By magooagain
Maybe I didn't give enough time,but it's not for me. I'm realizing I didn't Annalise why I didn't like it,though by what's has been said from others here I now know.

Some nice locations though.


Wait. Who's Annalise?


Wash coop thoroughly, apply lateral thinking and it'll rub off smile
_________________________


So there, Photobucket...

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#1628578 - 13/01/2019 18:44 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
Submariner Offline
Enjoying the ride

Registered: 20/12/2005
Posts: 1187
Loc: Kent
Just watched some of the Marrakesh round, being a petrolhead it's all about engine sound for me. It's like watching larger scale Scalextric, that whine is just annoying...seems close racing mind but seems to have no 'soul' even with the over hyped commentary.

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#1628593 - 14/01/2019 11:09 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
Jim_Clennell Offline
Club member 105
Forum veteran

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 16279
Loc: Corridor of Uncertainty
Warning: long post ahoy.
Well, here I sit in the sunny courtyard of our riad in the centre of the old town in Marrakesh, (which is nice - thanks, AirBnB), and reflect on Saturday's main event.
Where to start?
Overall, we felt we had a fantastic time, with quite a variety of activities packed into a small area - the e-village. The circuit in Marrakesh is to the southwest of the medina/old town and not easy to get to on foot/via public transport. This is a bit of a problem for a sport that is supposed to trade on its city centre locations, but it's not a game changer in a city that seemed almost entirely unaware of the existence of FE, with no airport/billboard or obvious social media advertising.
We arrived at around 9am, hoping both to avoid the crowds and catch the maximum track time of the cars. The first disappointment of the day was that - contrary to the media stories - there would be no Jaguar iPace support race. In fact no support race of any kind, except a charity bicycle affair and a chance for spectators to pedal round the track on Boris bikes. Not a top quality undercard.
The E-Village is a slick operation, with a number of "zones" (charge zone for your electronic devices, food zone, game zone, etc.). There are sponsor stands for ABB, Allianz, Red Bull (of course), Nissan and a few others, plus the inevitable stage with giant video screen and sound system, emitting a mixture of local culture and "youth" activities at ear-bleed volume. An electric kart track for punters was a welcome diversion, with pretty fast karts and a decent track. Or so the young men of the group told me. I declined to embarrass them with my superior racecraft.
There's a definite accent on "green" touches/gimmickry: solar powered cars, free refillable water pouches, etc., though the old foe, plastic packaging and straws was much in evidence, as was a fairly lackadaisical approach to recycling.
We saw our first glimpses of the race cars themselves as free practice unfolded. The lack of noise doesn't diminish the fact (or the impression) that these are fast cars, but it does almost totally eradicate the drama inherent in internal combustion- powered racing. It might not be fair or reasonable, but it is a fact and one that stands squarely in the way of engagement with traditional racing fans. There are other things you hear that are drowned out in conventional racing: the crash and grind of carbon fibre bodywork hitting other cars or sliding over high kerbs, the squeal of tyres on the edge and the metallic scream of brakes. And of course, you have the sub-jet whine, like a cross between a tube train and a washing machine building up to a spin or slowing down.
As for that other sense that quickens the pulse at motor racing - smell - you get plenty of burning rubber and hot brakes and clutch, but don't expect the popcorn aroma of Duckhams Q or the modern equivalent.
In short, there's nothing that grabs your entrails and squeezes. Nothing like an engine. There, I said it.
Qualifying got underway and was reasonably entertaining. As the season is only one race old, the pecking order with the "2nd gen" cars is undecided, so it was impossible to say who would be quickest.
I have no favourites or pantomime villains as I do in F1, so it was just nice to see a couple of Brits do well, with Sam Bird taking pole.
I should mention at this point that EVERYTHING was in French (and - naturally - Arabic. I couldn't tell you whether it was classical or Moroccan). I don't know if this was because Morocco is Francophone (far more than I anticipated, but - bully for me - not a problem), or whether it is another of Formula E's deliberate distinctions from F1, but it left some English-speaking spectators scratching their heads.
Qualifying ended at 1pm, which left a rather oddly long 3-hour gap until the race started at 4. We filled it with (pretty unexciting) food, more cultural events, an autograph session and an e-race where the actual F-e drivers raced each other and fans on simulators, about an hour before the real race. Ideal preparation? Not according to the body language of the drivers.
Then we took to the grandstand for the race itself. The format is 45 mins plus 1 lap.
The gimmicks mentioned above include "fan boost" where fans vote for their favourite driver, who gets additional power unlocked for a short period and "Attack mode", where drivers have to deviate from the racing line for about 50 metres (thus losing time and sometimes track position) to drive over an activation zone. This allows them to use additional power for 4 minutes. They must take 2 Attack mode periods during each race. Despite watching attentively, I didn't notice any gains for anyone using fan boost (I don't even know who got it) and attack mode seems to cause so much disruption to the drivers' rhythm and concentration as to be pretty much worthless for attacking. It would be better named Defence Mode really, as it seemed to help more in preventing other drivers from getting by. Attack mode strategy seems to be in its infancy, as most drivers seem to take it right at the end simply to avoid penalties. With both fan boost and attack mode, the halos on the cars light up either blue or red, but this is a bit pointless, as you don't really have time to assimilate all the info. Or at least I didn't. Maybe once you know the drivers/liveries a bit better...
The racing itself was not too bad. Plenty of incidents, though mostly these were indeed caused by the narrow track design.
I understand the appeal of wheel-to-wheel racing against a backdrop of famous landmarks, but even in more "global" cities than here, what you actually see is scalextric between concrete walls, topped by advertising banners, turning every race grey.
On the plus side, the days of changing cars halfway through are gone and there was a reasonably comprehensible narrative of the race.
The 2 members of our group without grandstand tickets ended up watching on the big screen, as the general admission view was poor, which will sound familiar to anyone who has tried to watch F1 at Silverstone.
After the race, the podium took place in the e-village and was a pretty friendly affair, (though I didn't hear what da Costa thought about his teammate). Access to the drivers is undoubtedly far better than in F1, for what it's worth.
After the event, we left the circuit to try to get home. This was where the fun really started and leads neatly into the best bit of the trip: Marrakesh. What a place!

We managed to flag down 2 taxis from the 5-lane melée outside the circuit. We immediately executed a u-turn across the other 5 lanes, and set off at speed, until a policeman told us we couldn't go down a side road. No problem, we did another u-turn, up a pavement, across a building site and emerged just the other side of the policeman, to his obvious displeasure. Too late, we were gone! I wasnt in the original Italian Job film, or indeed any Bond movie, but I now feel that this oversight has been fully corrected. We drove down pavements, up ludicrous kerbs, along alleys populated by donkeys and fruit stalls, with locals on foot, on mopeds or in Dacias (EVERYONE has a Dacia) scattering before us. We arrived back in about 20 minutes (though curiously, I felt 10 years older) through traffic that would have paralysed any city in the UK for hours. For about 4 quid each. Amazing!
The place we are staying in is a traditional Riad, which is a large house in the old town, accessed through an anonymous door in a wall and built around a central courtyard, open to the sky. Ours sleeps 10 in 5 bedrooms, most of which have a shower room attached. The decor is a combination of plain whitewashed walls and dark blue wood and ironwork, with intricately patterned tiles on the floors and some walls. Photos on the walls suggest the owner of ours knew Pope Jean Paul II, Yasser Arafat and knows several other (living) world figures.
There are 2 staff, who provide breakfast, housekeeping, taxi-booking duties, as well as the most sumptuous evening meal for under £10 a head.
We paid just over £50 each for the 3 nights, which seems like a bargain. The Souks or local markets are right outside the door and there is character by the mule-drawn wagon load. There are also LOTS of tourists, mostly from Scandinavia, who seem to completely ignore the advice for women to keep their hair and arms/legs covered. This seems odd, because it's not about whether you have an issue with women's rights, it's about respect for your hosts and their customs. That said, nobody seems unduly bothered; everyone is really friendly and although there are the usual tourist rip-offs (you'll get a monkey stuck on your head and left there until you pay for a photo), it feels a lot less threatening than other places I've been, some of them in Britain.
You do have to remember that it's not Europe, though. Phone data disappears faster than you can say "turn off roaming" and people will remind you that this is Africa.
We fly home this evening and it feels like a lot longer than 3 days (in a good way).

Would I go to Formula e again? Maybe, in the right circumstances, but it needs to change. It feels as though it's emerged from a marketing brainstorming, without finding out what the fans actually want. It has potential, especially with younger people who will (probably) grow up in an environment where electric power is the new petrol, but it has some way to go to seduce me.

Would I come to Marrakesh again? You bet.

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Jaaaag!

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#1628598 - 14/01/2019 13:51 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
MeanRedSpider Offline
Je suis un Coupé

Registered: 25/03/2006
Posts: 8628
Loc: Cambridge & Cotswolds
Great review of both, Jim - TLDR - where the D stands for DID!
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#1628607 - 14/01/2019 18:10 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
barnacle Offline
Club Member 18 - Minister without Portfolio
Forum Demigod

Registered: 17/12/2005
Posts: 31978
Loc: Hemel in the Hempstead
Sounds like these cars need the old kids bicycle trick - a bit of cardboard sticking into the spokes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcOHzW2e3jU
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#1628638 - 15/01/2019 13:23 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
adder58 Offline
I need some sleep

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 3297
Loc: Paddock Wood, Kent
Top Reviewing there Jim smile

Did you bump into young Max (Sitting on the naughty step) at all wink

Now sit there and write out 100 times.. I will not shove Ocon....
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#1628656 - 15/01/2019 22:46 Re: Formula E, by gum [Re: Jim_Clennell]
Edinburgh Offline
Club Board member
I AM a Coop

Registered: 04/03/2007
Posts: 10334
Loc: Auld Reekie
You're a worthy successor to AA Gill Jim, I'm left wondering whether you've ever been involved in journalism...

It's easy to forget the slap in the face that the way of life you describe above gives one, or "culture shock" as it's traditionally called. Yes it's often ridiculously cheap, incredibly colourful and - temporarily perhaps - stimulating.....but living in possibly similar surroundings many years ago didn't half underline for me the things we take for granted back here in the UK.

Perhaps the lenience shown to the bare-skinned females is becoming more widespread in order to cater for/encourage tourism from the western world - it's certainly generally true in Dubai for example.

You've not sold me Formula E though....


Edited by Edinburgh (15/01/2019 22:57)
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