Formule E : l’automobile nouvelle formule ?

E comme électrique. E comme écologique. E comme entertainment. Voici les 3 E qui caractérisent le mieux la Formule E, auxquels on pourrait ajouter le E d’enthousiasmant.

NOUVEAU

C’est à l’été 2012 que la FIA (Fédération Internationale Automobile) a annoncé la naissance du projet, celui-ci étant devenu réalité 2 ans plus tard. Le calendrier de ce tout premier championnat comporte 10 courses, du 13 septembre 2014 au 27 juin 2015 : Pekin, Putrajaya, Punta Del Este, Buenos Aires, Miami, Long Beach, Monaco, Berlin, Londres. 10 manches donc, et 10 équipes qui forment un plateau très relevé, avec un mélange d’anciens de la F1 (comme Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Sebastien Buemi ou Bruno Senna) et de pilotes ayant tapé à la porte de cette dernière comme Fabio Leimer ou Sam Bird. Notons la présence de deux femmes, la britannique Katherine Legge et l’italienne Michela Cerruti, et celle de 4 français : Nicolas Prost, Stéphane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny et Charles Pic. Les pilotes pourront atteindre les 240 km/h en vitesse de pointe, et passer de 0 à 100 km/h en 3 secondes.

AVANT-GARDISTE

Si nous sommes déjà habitués à ces « standards de vitesse » avec d’autres disciplines, la Formule E tient à affirmer son style et revendique son caractère avant-gardiste : bruit et look futuristes, communication offensive, mise en avant des réseaux sociaux et d’une stratégie social media, avec notamment le fan boost : le pilote qui reçoit le plus de vote sur internet gagne un « fan boost », soit un surcroit de puissance de 5 secondes. La Formule électrique entend innover jusque dans le format des courses qui se dérouleront en centre-ville, avec donc des circuits sinueux, ce qui promet des courses spectaculaires, voire… électriques.

Formule-E-Londres

Chaque manche durera le temps d’une journée, avec une course au timing « télégénique » d’une heure, où même le ravitaillement sera « différent » puisqu’il s’apparentera à un changement de voiture, la batterie ayant une autonomie de 30 minutes : changer de voiture à mi course, cela fera donc partie du sel de la compétition.

Les principaux partenaires de la Formule E sont le fabricant suisse de montres Tag Heuer, l’entreprise américaine de télécommunications Qualcomm, et DHL, qui sera le partenaire logistique. Des acteurs majeurs de la F1 et d’autres marques emblématiques du monde automobile sont également associés à la Formule E et espèrent profiter de son image novatrice où les nouvelles technologies, l’innovation de pointe, les transferts de technologie et l’efficacité énergétique sont à l’honneur.

Une démarche de responsabilité sociétale aux accents de green economy, c’est dans cet esprit que Michelin fournira les pneus, Williams les batteries, Renault les moteurs et Mc Laren les boitiers électroniques. Toujours concernant les partenariats, le CEO de la Formule E Alejandro Agag déclarait « penser à toute ces compagnies qui accordent beaucoup d’importance aux énergies renouvelables et propres. Nous pourrions être une alternative pour des entreprises qui n’ont pas encore trouvé une opportunité de sponsoring qui s’accorde avec leurs valeurs corporatives« . Et comme le développement durable se doit d’être ludique, la Formule E a choisi de jouer la carte de l’entertainment : des concerts seront organisés après chaque course, un e-village accueillera le public avec, entre autres, des animations, des démonstrations, une zone de vote pour le fan boost et un simulateur de course.

Le fait de courir en centre-ville, de miser sur les réseaux sociaux, d’avoir un style mi-sport mi-entertainment tend à rapprocher la course automobile des spectateurs-citoyens. L’idée est d’aller bien au-delà du sport automobile, de l’aspect sportif et de la compétition : on peut même parler d’un projet transversal touchant à des questions comme l’écologie, le développement durable, la mobilité ou encore le fait urbain. En terme de cible, le corollaire à cette démarche semble être celui d’un public bien plus large que les fans habituels de sport automobile, avec donc de nouveaux clients potentiels pour les marques. Le potentiel commercial de cette formule, apparaît donc, somme toute, comme étant prometteur.

prost_fe_4_30_14
Outre les partenariats que nous venons d’évoqués, la Formule E a su attirer des signatures dès son lancement. Des anciens de la F1 comme pilotes, et Freddie Hunt, le fils du célèbre James Hunt, champion du monde 1976, qui sera l’ambassadeur de la Formule E : « c’est un honneur d’avoir ce poste au sein de la Formula E et de l’utiliser pour présenter cette discipline au public, tout comme l’importance d’obtenir une mobilité durable et une énergie propre. Étant depuis longtemps soucieux de l’environnement, je crois que ce que la Formula E veut réaliser est fantastique et je suis fier d’en faire partie. » Autres signatures et pas des moindres, Alain Prost, comme « caution historique » qui sera en responsabilités chez E-Dams, et Leonardo Di Caprio, co-fondateur de l’écurie Venturi, qui viendra apporter sa touche plus people et ainsi compléter le casting de ce nouveau paddock.

EXISTENCE

Formule électrique et innovante, la Formule E affiche clairement ses ambitions avec certainement d’importantes retombées économiques, médiatiques, en terme de technologie et d’image, certes, mais de là à concurrencer la F1 et ses 64 ans d’histoire… d’ailleurs, il ne s’agit pas de mettre en concurrence ces deux championnats, alors pourquoi ne pas imaginer une fusion sur le long terme ? Et si cette fusion serait le championnat du futur ? En tous cas, au-delà de ces belles promesses et perspectives, la Formule E devra prendre garde à  l’anonymat, comme ce fut le cas pour certaines formules comme l’A1 GP ou le Speedcar. On jugera donc sur le long terme… ce 13 septembre 2014 sera-t-il le 13 mai 1950 de la Formule E ? Le chiffre 13 lui portera-il bonheur ?

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