Formula E Vs Extreme E: Which Competition Should You Follow?

Do you enjoy high octane racing from around the globe? Or have a general interest in the world of fast electric vehicles? Then you’ll probably love Formula E and Extreme E.

Formula E has been around for a while now, but Extreme E is a new face on the block, making it all the more interesting. After all, it’s a racing competition, but it couldn’t be any different from a vehicle standpoint.

Today we look at both to determine which is the right competition to follow.

*Spoilers*

It’s both of them, but you’ll no doubt choose a side of your own.

This will be of key interest to new viewers looking to learn more about Formula E teams and the Extreme E in general, seeing as it’s a new competition and all.

You ready?

What Is The Formula E?

Let’s begin by looking at Formula E before we cover the new race on the block.

In plain terms: the Formula E is the electric version of the Formula One in terms of competitive racing. In fact, outside of Formula One, the Formula E is the only other single-seat racing series recognised as a FIA World Championship and has been since the 2020/21 season.

It’s a single-seat motorsport championship, promoted/owned by Formula E Holdings — a company based out of Hong Kong and London. The company was founded in the summer of 2012, with the inaugural Formula E race taking place a few years later in 2014.

Breaking Down the Rules

Every race follows the same format, in that it begins with two practise sessions early in the day, one 45-minute session and another 30-minute session shortly after.

Unlike other competitions, all Formula E track sessions take place in one day (Saturdays, mostly), with the exception of something known as a 30-minute shakedown on a Friday evening to allow teams to prepare.

Then a qualifying session takes place where drivers are divided into set groups and have 6 minutes to set their best lap possible. The 6 teams that set the highest lap time will be given the best positions in light of the big race.

Every race, or E-Prix, takes place across the world, in city streets, leading to tighter races due to how narrow some roads are.

Some big-name circuits also make an appearance in cities like Paris, London, New York and Monaco.

The Formula E follows a very standard points-based system, awarding points to those that finish in the top 10. First place nets you 25 points, second place, 18 points, third place, 15 points — and so on.

Still with us?

The main race is 45 minutes long, which is one of the main differences between this competition and the Formula One.

The first race was staged on September 13 2014 and was won by one Lucas di Grassi, a Brazilian representing Audi Sport ABT. He won the race after a last-lap collision between two drivers.

Many of you reading this might have heard that name before; he was part of the Formula One for a brief period and is a key figure in the racing world, in general.

How is it Any Different From Formula One?

It’s easy to look at a race track and multi-coloured racing cars and assume you know it all, but you really don’t; 2+2 doesn’t equal 4 in this case.

Try not to write this tournament off as a carbon copy of the Formula One because it’s a very different game entirely. For starters, for each race, fans can vote for their favourite competitor through social media.

The driver with the most votes receives extra power to be used in a 5-second window during the second half of the race.

In terms of electric tech, every team is on a more even playing field to some extent. You see, tyres and the chassis itself is the same for every team competition. Teams tend to focus their R&D efforts on other parts, such as the gearbox and powertrain.

Performance still varies, but these rules certainly highlight some of the best EV tech available from some of the best companies out right now.

Furthermore, the Formula E attack mode is a reason to watch, too.

Attack mode is the closest thing you’ll have to a Mario Kart-type boosting system, where drivers are encouraged to pass through designated areas to receive a power boost (35kW).

There are some similarities between the two competitions.

For example, each team in the Formula E has two drivers out in the field and consists of multiple races within the same season.

F1 cars are still faster than some of the cars used by Formula E teams. The fully electric powertrain found in Formula E cars allow them to travel at around 280km/h, which is lightning quick, just not as fast as some Formula One cars.

Moreover, unlike F1, pitstops aren’t mandatory in Formula E races.

What About Extreme E?

Extreme E is known as “the electric odyssey,” which should tell you everything you need to know right there.

Extreme E racing is slightly different to Formula E, although it does share similarities with the street racing competition. After all, both showcase a range of electric vehicles competing for prizes/accolades.

Extreme E racing features both male and female competitors. But wait, there’s more!

The courses featured in Extreme E take drivers through deserts, rainforests and glaciers. Every location is wildly different, only they share a common thread, highlighting climate change and its impact on the world.

Motorsport has a wide fanbase, and the Extreme E racing league has already begun to make some serious headway; not bad for a competition that only started this year.

Founder of Formula E, Alejandro Agag, is also the founder of Extreme E racing. He’s gone on record in the past to say that Extreme E wouldn’t be a thing if it wasn’t for the Formula E.

Breaking Down the Rules Pt.2

Like the Formula E, the race format consists of one race weekend, starting on a Saturday and beginning with two rounds of qualifying time trials. The only difference is that some of the races take place on a Sunday.

Each time consists of one lap completed by both participating drivers — one male and one female. Points are awarded based on finishing positions of every lap. Saturdays qualifying points determine starting positions for the Sunday races.

The fastest time on the Saturday earns 12 points, earning access to the first semi-final. In fact, the first three-point scorers will make it to semi-final 1. The three after that? Semi-final 2. Those that don’t reach the top six will compete in what is known as the ‘Shoot Out.’

Slightly confused? No problem.

Saturdays consist of:

  • Qualifying Round 1
  • Qualifying Round 2

And Sundays consist of:

  • The Shoot Out
  • Semi Final 1
  • Semi Final 2
  • The Final

Three cars battle it out in each race. Like Formula E, fans can change the outcome of who comes out on top. You see, in the final, the fans vote on who has which starting position.

And then there’s the ‘Super Sector’ rule, which was implemented for the Ocean X Prix in Dakar Senegal. The fastest driver to move through this sector earns five points for their respective team.

To make things even more interesting, every SUV is fitted with a ‘Hyperdrive’ boost, allowing them to move faster for a certain amount of time.

Only the driver can decide when to hit this button.

Differences Between The Two Competitions

Formula E is the urban competition, whereas Extreme E tackles the great outdoors beyond what you see on the horizon; that’s the easiest way to remember the differences between the two.

Extreme E racing is slightly different when it comes to the races themselves. Formula E requires drivers to coast to preserve energy. In contrast, Extreme E is full pedal to the metal from the moment the starting gun fires.

One of the exciting things about Extreme E is the fact that Jensen Button and Jamie Chadwick are billed as some of the contenders taking part. There are famous drivers on both sides; we thought we’d highlight these two as you wouldn’t normally associate them with motorsports.

Furthermore, F1’s own Lewis Hamilton leads his own group in Team X44.

Watching one race of either will get you hooked; we can guarantee that.

We’ve been hooked since the jump. Granted, we are E4TP, and we make a living off of talking about everything to do with electric vehicles, but still. Who can deny how impressive these races are?

So… Which Do You Watch?

Simple answer: you watch both.

Doing this avoids the hassle of having to choose, and both have enough differences to make each of them unique. They’re also in the same universe, more or less, meaning they were founded within the same vision by the same guy.

If you enjoy looking at picturesque landscapes and seeing fast off-road SUVs, then Extreme E will be to your liking.

On the other hand, if you care more about city-scapes and Mario Kart (thanks to attack mode), then Formula should take your top spot.

Know that Extreme E is a lot more high octane than Formula E in that it’s all about speed, whereas the latter is all about perseverance and making the right plays at the right time.

Some of you reading this might have already made their minds up.

So which is it? Are you leaning more on the Formula E or Extreme E racing?

Wrapping Up: Formula E Vs Extreme E: Which Competition Should You Follow?

Since its inception, Formula E has amassed millions of followers, with Extreme E bound to follow in the same direction. These competitions are supported by big named sponsors, with millions watching highlights on Youtube and fans watching live at home.

The inclusivity of these races, coupled with the eco-friendly premise, makes them a joy to watch. It, no doubt, has a significant effect on how viewers understand EVs, too.

The fact that you can vote on an app to give some drivers a boost in the race should be enough of a reason to watch Formula E.

Like we said, Mario Kart in real life, with your phone being the controller.

Extreme E should be narrated by David Attenborough, given how beautiful some of the race locations are.

Wherever you are, do yourself a favour, start watching these competitions. They’re familiar yet so different at the same time.

Formula E/Extreme E FAQs

In this final section, we’ll be covering some frequently asked questions left by you, the reader. Honestly, the best way to learn anything about either competition is to watch it, but we can understand your eagerness to find out more!

Who won the Formula E in 2020?

The winner of the 2019/20 competition was one António Félix da Costa, a Portuguese driver who claimed the title at race 9 in Berlin.

Where can I watch the Formula E in the UK?

Various channels have shown clips/full races of the Formula E. Channel 5 has shown the events in the past. Still, the BBC partnered with the competition to show Season 7 in full (2020/21 season) through iPlayer or the BBC Sport website.

Who is the best Formula E driver?

Everyone will have their personal favourites. But we like Oliver Rowland, who represents Nissan e.dams. In last year’s campaign, he had an excellent season; he’s a consistent driver, perhaps overshadowed by other teams in the competition.

What cars are used in Extreme E?

Like Formula E competitions, there is one design fleet to gawk at. Extreme E uses fully electric SUVs in their races, SUVs named Odyssey 21. This EV is built to handle the harshest conditions, capable of moving from 0-62mph in under 5-seconds.

Does Lewis Hamilton own Extreme E?

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton does not own Extreme E, but he does lead one of the teams competing. His Team X44 SUV is easily recognisable thanks to the giant spray-painted letters/numbers on the side.