Vernon Kay on Formula E: It’s not scalextric or milk float racing – it’s crazy!

The countdown to the new Formula E season is almost over, and Vernon Kay can't wait for the action to kick-start

Formula E Vernon Kay

Vernon Kay is gearing up for another season of Formula E chaos in 2019/20.

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The 45-year-old will present coverage – to be aired on BBC and Eurosport – and believes all racing fans would be wowed by the electric motor racing series.

Eight drivers from eight different teams won the opening eight races in 2018/19, and Kay is hoping for another blockbuster campaign this time around.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Kay said: “Whenever I mention Formula E, people are like ‘oh, scalextric’ or ‘milk float racing’ or ‘it doesn’t sound the same, I miss the noise’ but I’m like, ‘hang on a minute…’

“I’m competitive, I hate losing, the reason why Formula E drew me in is because the drivers actually race. The drivers actually compete.

“They have got to be better than their opponent. It’s not about how much more brake horsepower they can develop out of the engine because everyone’s car is the same.

“It’s about the skill of the driver and how they adapt and approach the street circuits we race on because we’re not on racing tracks, other than Mexico and Marrakesh.

“We’re in really tight circuits where you’ve got to really play the fine margins consistently to gain points over your opponents.”

The sport is frequently held side-by-side with its gas-guzzling older brother Formula 1, but Kay is adamant that the quality of Formula E racing is actually better than F1.

He said: “There’s no comparison with Formula E and Formula 1 in a sense because F1 cars are more powerful, the racing series has being going 60 years.

“This racing series is going into its sixth season – the technology is yet to peak. This is the birth of electric motor racing.

“For people to compare the two in that sense is stupid, but what you can compare is the quality of the racing.

“The quality of the racing in Formula 1 is good, the quality of racing in Formula E is better in my opinion, because drivers have to fight for position, get their elbows out and that’s why we always see bits falling off cars. It’s what makes Formula E really exciting.

2019/20 Formula E race calendar

“It’s all about stealing hundredths of seconds as opposed to seconds, in Formula E.

“Whenever we have qualifying there’s about 11 or 12 cars divided by hundredths of a second. It’s mental, it really is crazy!”

Aside from the obvious clean energy factor, Formula E is boldly attempting to revolutionise the sporting world with innovative features including Attack Mode and Fan Boost.

“The introduction of Attack Mode has really thrown the cat among the pigeons,” said Kay.

“When drivers go through a certain part of the track, they get an extra 25kW of power.

“And Fan Boost, people vote for a certain driver to get an extra 20kW of power for a certain period of time.

“Once you realise that it does make a difference to races, the numbers of people voting on Twitter will go through the roof.”

The season kicks off with a double-header in Saudi Arabia this weekend, and the 14-race campaign culminates in a pair of races around London in July.

A range of ex-Formula 1 drivers will feature in the driver line-up this season, including 11-time F1 Grand Prix winner Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne, and Kay can’t wait for the show to get on the road.

“It’s exciting, it’s as simple as that.

“I like watching rally car championships and find the adrenaline you get watching rally cars over all the humps and bumps and corners at 90mph, I get the same excitement watching Formula E because you never know what’s going to happen.

“I don’t need to sit on my pedestal and shout from the rooftops because it is what it is.

“If you watch it for 10 minutes, you’ll realise it’s good and then you’ll either stay or go and do your shopping.

“In my opinion, it is fantastic motor racing.”


Season six kicks off with a double-header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on Friday 22nd November and Saturday 23rd November. The races will be live on the BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website from 11:30am-1:00pm GMT.

Experience the thrill of electric racing at Formula E’s season finale on the 25th and 26th July 2020 at ExCel London. Tickets on sale now at: www.FIAFormulaE.com/london

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With new broadcast innovations, fans watching Formula E on the TV will be able to get closer to the action than ever before. Season Six will see the introduction of a new ‘Driver’s Eye’ angle – giving viewers the chance to see the action from the driver’s own view thanks to a camera inside the helmet. Driver telemetry graphics will also be used by Formula E, showing viewers the live ‘Stress Level’ as they take on some of the world’s toughest street circuits.