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Formula E not a threat to F1 – Ecclestone

2016 F1 season

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Bernie Ecclestone says he does not considered all-electric racing series Formula E a serious competitor to Formula One.

The championship, currently mid-way through its second season, features a large number of ex-Formula One drivers. It has also attracted involvement from car manufacturers including Renault, Citroen and Jaguar.

However speaking at the Advertising Week Europe 2016 conference Ecclestone said he doubts “the world will be all-electric, with cars” in the future.

Sebastien Buemi, Robin Frijns, Formula E, Long Beach, 2016
Formula E has delivered action in season two
Asked if he regretted not getting involved in Formula E when he was approached by them. Ecclestone said “not at all”.

“I think the people that are involved in there have more or less got the same feelings as me now,” he added.

“It’s not that I’m concerned that they’re competitive as far as Formula One’s concerned. But I don’t particularly see what it does that all the other junior formulas can do. Also make a bit of a noise.”

Ecclestone also reiterated his view that F1’s move towards hybrid power units had been a mistake.

“This power unit we have is an incredible piece of engineering,” he said. “It really is.”

“But I’ve said for a long, long time it isn’t what we need in Formula One because in the end we’re in showbusiness. If that engine developed all the technical advantages for the road cars there is another championship called the World Saloon [Touring] Car Championship, and that’s where it should be, not in Formula One.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 40 comments on “Formula E not a threat to F1 – Ecclestone”

    1. The automobile will never replace horse drawn carriages

      1. “There is no reason anyone in the right state of mind will want a computer in their home.” – President of DEC, 1977

        1. Computers in the future may…perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons.
          – Popular Mechanics, 1949.

      2. Just becouse automobiles and computers took over doesnt mean Formula E will take over…… That has nothing to do with it.

        I could see an future with highly efficient electric cars but by them Formula 1 has probably swapped over aswell. That future could also just aswell involve a myriad of different technics that aint promoted in Formula E at the moment. For those that didnt know an formula E car is basicly the ERS part of an Formula 1 car with a slightly bigger battery so what exaclty is Formula E doing that Formula 1 aint?

        1. You’re right but at the same time if you watched the Formula E inaugural season last you’ll quickly conclue that it was by far more entertaining the the f1 one season of the same year. Formula E title was battled the whole season uo to the last race and last lap of the season. It was thrilling and very exciting unlike our beloved Formula 1 where you already know the champions months before the season comes to an end. And that’s just one aspect amongst others. Formula E might definitely not replace F1 but it will challenge it in terms of entertainment and competitiveness and force F1 to offer more to its audience.

    2. One day, I can see as many as one phone per town centre.

      And I predict that the Internet will never catch on.

    3. Contrary to F1, what Formula E is doing really well is fan engagement. More people are talking about it, there’s loads of social media, the sport is accessible and attending a race is “fun”.

      Ok fanboost is marmite, but teams and drivers are engaging with fans far better than what the FOM limitations for F1 would permit.

      I particularly like the new playing aorund with 360 video, especially the stuntman jumping over a car. Very cool.

      1. Well said JC. The electric and thus silent nature (no I don’t like the added music) also means that settings can be inside cities much easier, which helps access and fan engagement, and from there Formula E puts in the effort.

      2. ” More people are talking about it “? Maybe it’s s geographical thing, but there are very few people I know that can tell me what F-E is. Meanwhile everybody knows F1. Literally everybody.

    4. He’s right, but watch everyone rally against him just because Ecclestone is saying it.

    5. The Blade Runner (@)
      20th April 2016, 12:37

      “Formula E not a threat to F1″

      Not as much as you are, Bernie…

    6. Yet.

    7. Gavin Campbell
      20th April 2016, 13:02

      Well Ecclestone’s definitley up to something, all this drum banging in the past few days – thats normally a hey look over there tactic by the little one.

      1. Probably means he hasn’t taken his medication.

      2. I think you’re onto something. First the talk about female drivers, now Formula E.

        I have a feeling Bernie is about to announce the new super-duper DRS with reversed grids and sprinklers on every track.

      3. Yeah also recently he said he realized the importance of social media.

        Is he opening up his eyes?

    8. Asked if he regretted not getting involved in Formula E when he was approached by them. Ecclestone said “not at all”.

      Thank goodness he didn’t!

    9. Must admit that while being addicted to F1 I find Formula E unwatchable. For me the coverage is chaotic and the sound is unbearable.

      I don’t know where they get these TV directors. Media Studies? Why can’t they train up someone who understands racing?

      And maybe process the audio to take it down a few octaves.

      1. Heh, that’s pretty funny you know, I actually know many people who never got in to F1 because of the high pitch whine of the old V-engines. Some (well almost all really) things are just not for everyone.

      2. Got to agree with the issues around sound. I’ve been to two races and they’re great to attend in person. Particularly since they’re a new series – I had pit access and a ticket for $35. But the balance of the sound on the TV is terrible. You can’t hear the announcers. And it’s not like these are loud cars. Hopefully production value will get better as the series continues to mature, but it is really hard to watch on TV because of the sound.

    10. I think FE will need quite some time before we can even speak of it as treat to F3…

      1. Yeah find out what fans want and do the opposite, I m sure that strategy will make them as popular as F1.

    11. So if Bernie thinks it’s not the future, then we can now be sure as hell that it will be

    12. So, I wonder who and when anyone ever really said that Formula E was a threat to F1?

      I really like Formula E and think that E cars are the future. But, still do not see it as a threat to F1.

    13. “But I’ve said for a long, long time it isn’t what we need in Formula One because in the end we’re in showbusiness.”

      I am not saying he is wrong, but I got into it as a sport. I never really understood my mates who were into the WWF (or WWE) because its not real, its theatre.

      If its not a sport anymore, I am glad I know before I waste any more money on it.

      1. Fully agree. F1 needs to decide whether first and foremost it’s elite sport (which derives entertainment value from skill and authenticity) or whether it’s entertainment via a sporting/gaming format like WWE or Total Wipeout.

        All this talk of randomness and spicing up the show speaks to entertainment but kills any chance of credibility as elite motorsport on a par with Champions’ League football say or the Olymics.

      2. This quote, for me, sums up 100% what is wrong with F1 and the way its being run / managed at the moment. If Bernie knew anything about what us fans want (or at least the majority of us, I hope!), he’d stop parading his “show” on dull, lifeless circuits that prohibit good racing, and bring the SPORT back to demanding, exciting circuits that test the drivers, thus “livening up the show”. Surely can’t be that hard can it…?

      3. Totally agree with Chris and @pukktpie, Bernie has now admitted F1 is not an elite sport but is “Show business”. I wonder if he has told the elite sportsmen employed by this farce that they are not competing, they are just putting on a show. We must surely realize now, that mug punters are being conned out of their money by pay TV subscriptions and by bookies who promote this circus as as a sport. In this circus, Bernie is the ringmaster and the biggest clown of them all. After this admission of F1 being “show business” but promoted as a sport, are they breaching the Trade Practices Act with false advertising?

      4. In this context you could argue that the engine specifications are irrelevant to the integrity of the sport though, so you might as well go with the most entertaining.

    14. If the first race I attended when I was eight years old (in 1969) had been “Formula E”, as opposed to the US Formula 5000 (L&M Continental Championship) that it was, I would never have fallen in love with racing at all.

      1. That is flawed thinking. You cannot assume that you as a child of the 60’s would have the same thoughts and feelings as a hypothetical you as a child of today would have. You grew up in a very different time and that shapes and effects your thoughts over your whole life.

        1. Yes, one can’t know. I’m simply saying that I don’t believe that I would have been as excited by what amounts to full-scale slot car racing, as opposed to the ground-pounding, normally-aspirated, fuel-injected V-8 monsters that was Formula 5000. And yes, I am presuming that an eight year-old of today would have a similar reaction.

    15. Formula E is the future of racing. This was being said when the championship started two years ago, and it is fair.

      We’re gonna have some less and less fuel in the future and, from around 2050 or even before, Formula 1 will be a Formula E bis in my opinion.
      Transportation means will have changed, and even though I don’t own a cristal ball, I think we’re heading for a renewable, electric world.

    16. If Formula E is the future of racing! Looks like I will be attending plenty of historical race meetings in the future. The whole point of motor racings is the show. The noise, the smells and the speed. Formula E is slow, lacks any noise and is about as exciting as watching paint dry!

      Formula E is racing is certainly not the future! Or we have to hope its not. We can have electric road cars fine. But motor racing needs to be preserve with the combustion engine. More noise! bigger engines and more speed is what we need. Leave electric cars to the road.

      Plus the growing number of ex F1 drivers in Formula E is no issue. They simply don’t have the money to buy their way into F1 otherwise if they were any good they would be driving for a top team. Formula E will crash and burn just like racing series of the past.

    17. Even if electric cars take over, Formula E still won’t be a threat to F1. F1 would adopt electric technology, and FE will be discontinued.

      1. I agree with you, in the last three years all we have heard on forums is “let’s go back to v10” (but nobody watches the forumulas where we do have these engines) rules for next year are wider cars with bigger tyres, bit like the 80’s … Whilst FE has risen from nothing to a sport where we are talking about this, WEC has risen in popularity to where they have to extend the pit lanes, and they are using V4’s

    18. Considering the article posted above it ( this seems like a very “head in the sand” statement indeed.

      Formula E understands exactly what the millenial generation look for in entertainment, and while Fanboost is a bit iffy, it’s also got lots of things nailed:
      – The racing is good, cars seem to be able to follow each other closely and there’s plenty of action up and down the grid
      – Tickets to an event typically cost in the region of ~£30, much more affordable than the £100+ you have to stump up for a Grand Prix
      – By hosting events in the middle of cities rather than far flung circuits, they attract a more casual crowd in a way that few circuits can
      – It’s technologically forward thinking! Whilst the V6’s are undoubtedly remarkable for the developments they’ve driven (50% efficiency is very impressive), these cars are electrically driven! Look at how much interest the Tesla Model 3 has attracted (400,00 pre-orders in a month), electric cars are the future and there’s no way F1 will be fully electric in the next ten years.
      – And this is a big one…there’s no CVC draining the sport of money!

      It’s an exciting series, one that is forward thinking, exciting to watch and unlike any other category. I think its popularity will increase rapidly…watch out F1!

    19. The mistake was not the switch to hybrid engines. The mistake was limiting their development from the get-go, locking Mercedes into the beast it has become and everyone else into the also-rans.

      The power units should have had three years of open development (though with some form of cost control on them), THEN start locking it down.

      Of course, that’s just one of F1’s many problems, and while perhaps we would not have gotten three years of Mercedes 1-2s, there are plenty more issues that go well beyond the engines.

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