KSI coming to Formula E will be the jolt that motorsport desperately needs

41w ago


To the wider world, motorsport can seem extremely inaccessible. It is hemmed-in by subscription television deals, ridiculously steep ticket prices and circuits that are slap bang in the arse end of nowhere.

Even if you can afford Sky or Virgin television, you're faced with F1 or BTCC pundits that are almost always racing drivers from a decade or more ago, former team principals that literally have nothing else to fill their time with or bumbling presenters from your mum's favourite breakfast show that just fancied having a pop.

Formula E has always been up for pushing boundaries and having a bit of a laugh along the way – why can't the rest of motorsport think in the same way?

Why would a youngster want to tune into that of their own accord? What can possibly make that seem appealing compared to simply jumping on YouTube and going through your subscriptions at the weekend?

Of course, some young people will be introduced to motorsport through their parents, but otherwise it just seems like hours of middle-aged men commenting on a sport that has left them and their freshly pressed shirts well behind. Motorsport needs a complete upheaval if it's going to attract a wider, younger audience, and Formula E has absolutely nailed it by signing up British YouTuber KSI.

He rose to fame through engaging FIFA videos and has quickly ascended to being a rapper, boxer and one of the most in-demand influencers out there

The all-electric racing series has bagged KSI along with numerous other influencers to headline the race weekends that will be streamed live on YouTube. No television barriers, no hellish monthly subscriptions; Formula E is fully opening its doors to the demographic that motorsport has been desperately trying to engage for years.

A presenter that won a couple of F1 races back in the early '90s means absolutely nothing to the millions of millennials on the internet. These are people that have ridden the wave of Fortnite, spend hours watching gamers on Twitch every week and almost certainly tuned into the KSI vs Logan Paul boxing match, arguably the biggest match in amateur boxing history.

They didn't watch the fight because they're out-and-out Floyd Mayweather fans, they watched the match because the YouTuber that they can relate to was taking on a fellow monstrous internet star, with a combined subscriber count of over 38 million people.

These are young people that don't know (or care) who Johnny Herbert is and have no clue who Max Verstappen's dad is. But the fresh outlook that a millennial will bring to Formula E will thankfully leave behind any inherent gripes that some 'stalwarts' of motorsport bring to the table. They'll (almost certainly) find the Season 5 car extremely cool with its angular aero and dramatic halo design, as well as not having any pompous views on the sound that the cars make compared to internal combustion engines.

The early Formula E cars may have been a tad docile, but the Season 5 machines are seriously cool

This fresh audience won't need to adjust or move on from the 'good old days' – Formula E will be their starting point, their initial gauge of what an exciting, vibrant motorsport should be.

If you're sat grumbling and tweeting about 'how much of a joke' this decision to use influencers is, then you are absolutely part of the problem that motorsport is trying to tackle. So many old-school racing fans sit on their high horse about the level of knowledge that's needed to even think about taking part in a race weekend, almost as if you shouldn't even be in the stands watching if you don't know your tyre compounds from your KERS systems.

Jaguar Racing recently took its Formula E car to the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb course, engaging motorsport fans in an accessible way that F1 teams simply can't hope to emulate as it stands

The people who genuinely think KSI joining the Formula E machine is a bad idea were probably also those that turned their noses up at the electric racing series in the first place, only recently coming around to the fact that it is actually pretty damn exciting and, in many ways, outstrips Formula 1.

If motorsport is to be taken up by the audience that is currently obsessed with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, then recognisable faces of the internet like KSI will be pivotal in initiating their first exposure to the paddocks, tracks and cars that are moving the game forward. Drop in the fact that my generation will be the first to mass-buy electric cars and introducing Formula E to the millennial audience couldn't make more sense.