Formula E, the pure electric racing series that has taken the world of motorsports by storm since the electric racing cars first raced on the streets of Beijing in 2014 has finally arrived in Rome.
Ahead of the race this weekend, the electric racing series which races across the streets of major cities across the world sought the blessings of the ruler of the smallest nation in the world, which is surrounded by the city of Rome on all sides, Vatican City.
A Formula E racing car, more than half the drivers on the grid, team personnel and officials of the racing series including the CEO and founder Alejandro Agag were given a private Apostolic Blessing by His Holiness Pope Francis at Domus Sanctae Marthae, the official residence of the 266th Supreme Pontiff of Rome. The Formula E contingent then attended a papal audience.
The papacy has always been revered by the giants of Italian motorsport with Ferrari gifting the 400th and final Enzo supercar to Pope John Paul II. The Enzo was auctioned off for charity by the pope and helped raise money for the victims of the Tsunami that struck south-east Asia. The Italian F1 team also gifted Pope John Paul II's successor, the German-born Pope Benedict XVI with the steering wheel of an F1 car driven by seven-time world champion Schumacher that bears the words: "The steering wheel of the Formula 1 world champion to His Holiness Benedict XVI, driver of Christianity."
However, it is under Pope Francis that e-mobility has come to the forefront in Vatican City. Last year, the pontiff was offered a choice between a Tesla Model S and a Nissan Leaf as a daily ride. So to see the Pope give his blessings to Formula E, won't come as surprise to EV anoraks.
The lights will turn green and electric racing cars will start streaming through the streets of Rome later today for the very first time. The Rome E-Prix's track inside the capital of Italy, Circuito cittadino dell'EUR is the second longest in the Formula E season behind Marrakesh and features 21 turns.
DriveSpark's Thoughts On The Pope & Formula E
Formula E has transcended to another level after meeting with Pope Francis and getting his blessings. The fact that series has become to quote a Bruno Mars Song ‘Hashtag Blessed' will not matter much to racing fans who will get to see cars race through Rome's streets for the first time.
Formula E supergeeks though are already looking five weeks into the future at the race in Berlin which will see former F1 Champion Nico Rosberg drive the second-gen Formula E car on the street circuit in Berlin's Tempelhof airport. With car changes set to go extinct next season and teams like BMW(2018-19/Season 5), Mercedes and Porsche (Season 6) joining the party in the coming years, the future for Formula E looks to be #Blessed.