The BBC has confirmed it will broadcast live coverage of every Formula E race on its Red Button and online platforms for the upcoming fifth season, with at least one race also due to be shown live on BBC One or Two. The announcement, which is expected to be the biggest boost yet given to FE in Britain, comes almost four years since the network stopped showing live coverage of Formula 1.
The BBC's interest in broadcasting the motorsport's top electric series comes as a surprise because live coverage is already accessible in Britain via YouTube. It also feels rather significant, given that the nation's broadcaster has shown little interest in motorsport since it surrendered the F1 rights to Sky.
Ali Russell, FE's media and business development director, told Autosport that "It's imperative that Formula E remained on a free-to-air network in such an important territory and key market for motorsport". He added "What better place to showcase some of the best and most competitive racing than on the BBC".
Formula E's upcoming season starts on the 15th December in Saudi Arabia. The new championship will use an all-new single-seater racer that - finally - can complete the full distance of a race, meaning no mid-race car swaps, and they'll be faster too. Races will take place in 12 global cities, including Hong Kong, Berlin and New York.
Will BBC coverage be enough to convert the British mainstream into FE fans? It seems unlikely. But the involvement of one of the world's biggest television networks in a championship that will soon have more manufacturers than F1 should not be overlooked. It certainly speaks volumes about where money, time, effort and the public's attention will be directed in the coming years. Perhaps F1 director Ross Brawn's suggestion that F1 could go all-electric in 10 years might not be so absurd after all.