When it comes to motor racing, it is not just the highest speeds which are of most interest to observers, it is also the continual advancement of technology and with these advancements taking place over the past century, it is a sporting discipline which is always evolving.
Evolution which has seen the introduction of electric technology in recent times and with environmental factors always being something of a pressing concern, there are big questions being asked of the combustion engine.
Questions that ask whether the engine still has a place of relevance within motorsport and with more and more formulas or championships going hybrid or fully electric, the day of the gas guzzler is one that could soon be numbered.
Because with the rise of Formula Electric over the past few years, it has certainly put its older cousin and rival Formula One in the spotlight and although their new owners are doing their best to greenify the global circus, it is that very global nature which has environmentalists concerned.
Concerns that come from the prospect of a 23-race calendar for 2023 and when you account for the amount of air miles that will be tallied up across the year, it will take a huge amount of work to offset the additional carbon that will be generated.
However, the transportation of the 20 cars, parts and staff is not the only concern for those who want to protect Mother Earth and with the petrol engine being one that is now largely outdated, there is a sense that Formula One is nothing more than a sporting fossil.
Today we celebrate our 3-Star FIA Environmental Accreditation ⭐⭐⭐
Remaining open-minded & conscious of the ever-evolving ways to reduce our carbon footprint. @FIAFormulaE #Sustainability pic.twitter.com/ATFHvAeC6l
— ROKiT Venturi Racing (@VenturiFE) September 20, 2021
Of course, it is not just the pinnacle of motorsport that is in the crosshairs of those who look for a greener racing future, it is also the manufacturers themselves and just like in many other sports, return of investment is one of the more underlying principles at play.
Because for those who sign the cheques within the automotive boardrooms across the world, the thought of rubber stamping a new racing project which includes petrol engine technology, is not all that appealing.
For example, you only have to look at Germany’s DTM as evidence of this and with both Mercedes-Benz and Audi pulling out to join the swelling ranks within Formula E, it almost served as the death knell to one of Europe’s premier tin top championships.
Thankfully though, the DTM still lives on after a pivot to GT3 technology and although the grids are looking healthy, there is no doubting that Gerhard Berger needed to introduce many a cost-cutting measure, so that the championship can survive.
While it is cost-cutting that is so prevalent across all forms of top-level motorsport and with a continual search for return on investment, more and more manufacturers are flirting with the idea of electric racing.
Such has been the boom in electric-based racing in the past few years, that there is also a considerable buzz amongst sportsbook apps and for those looking to bet on Formula E, there are now many markets available during each race weekend.
That buzz is also being felt throughout the motorsport community as a whole and with more traction being generated via social media than its traditional racing counterparts, there is a sense that Formula E is for the future.
A future that is almost now, as not only does it offer environmental benefits, it offers much more competitive action on the track and is a welcome break from the Mercedes monopoly that has been in Formula One since 2014.
Then again, that very monopoly is under threat by Red Bull this year and although Max Verstappen is best placed to finally dethrone Lewis Hamilton, it will only pass the baton of manufacturer dominance back to its former holder.
While with Formula E, five different manufacturers have produced a winner during its eight full years of operations and with this, there is a sense of fresh and more importantly clean air for the viewing public.
A viewing public that knows Formula One has the weight of history behind it, but that history can only take it so far and with Formula E racing up behind it, do not be surprised to see a change of motorsport leader in the next decade or so.