Formula E “will overtake F1 in 10 years” – Branson

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Former Formula One team owners and sponsor Richard Branson predicts the sport will be overtaking by Formula E within a decade.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Why the idea that drivers could be given the choice whether to use Halo or not is a non-starter:

If that was done, all teams would refuse to apply Halo due to the 10kg net weight increase, whether the drivers wanted Halo or not and regardless of the safety increase its proponents suggest exists.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Andrew, Richpea, Wasif1, Willian Ceolin and Alex Tunnicliffe!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

The F1 Fanatic round-up will return on December 27th.

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

109 comments on “Formula E “will overtake F1 in 10 years” – Branson”

  1. Formula E is great, it has close racing on tricky tracks with top drivers but I don’t see why, publicity aside, people keep saying it will overtake formula 1.

    The cars are obviously getting quicker all the time but due to the nature of the tracks they will hit a limit in terms of safety and even if they changed the series to traditional race tracks F1 will just take the best elements /technology and continue to be the top sport.

    1. Yep. F1 cars are already more advanced than FE when it comes to “clean” technology.

    2. I know it is up to preference but the only thing Formula E has got going for the spectators is entertaining unpredictable racing. It’s like open wheel Nascar in that way. Drivers make mistakes all the time, plenty of overtakes, people come from the back to win, etc. It might sound good but it’s lacking something very important F1 has. The best drivers racing the best cars on the best tracks!
      My biggest problem are the tracks. They have no character whatsoever, even their Monaco version is pretty meh for Monaco. People used to complain about Tilke, but they just put some chicanes, some straights, put a hideous hairpin and wohooo it’s a track. The cars are way too slow as well. The field are mostly F1 rejects or rejects from other series. I would also complain about the sound of the cars, but there is no sound to complain about. FE has a lot of interest from big manufacturers but I don’t see it really attempting to do anything about its spirit of racing. So far, F1 seems to be doing a better job at being applicable to car makers than FE has at improving its racing.

      We’re in a position to inspire people from both race fans to governments to play their part in tackling things like climate change.

      Politically, anything is possible unfortunately. Maybe some countries would only want to host clean racing because of climate change. If anything this justifies F1 moving to hybrids and it may go some way to get backing from governments.
      I just don’t think it would be FIA’s plan for FE to overtake F1. They would just shoot themselves in the foot. FE is not meant to be the pinnacle of racing and it’s not meant to be a feeding series. Ideally, FE would stand on its own and attract money from manufacturers but I don’t see them becoming faster than F1 at the moment. It could just be a transition series until F1 turns electric when some crazy new tech comes out.

      1. Don’t forget that Fanboost monstrosity, by itself a reason for me to never look at a race..

        1. yet DRS……..

          1. … a completely different kind of evil and any sort of comparison between the two is ridiculous so actually I have no idea why I brought it up in the first place…

            If that would be the rest I guess we agree!

          2. DRS ruins every battle on track because it eliminates battles by making all passes boring.

            Fanboost maybe ruins one battle and even then it is a tradeoff because if you use the fanboost you use more energy momentarily but you need to save energy later to get to the finish. Use little more now, need to save little more later. Fanboost is pretty awful concept but it has pretty clear tradeoff so even if having that option is beneficial it is not total overkill like drs.

        2. Don’t forget that Fanboost monstrosity, by itself a reason for me to never look at a race..

          Same here. I refuse to watch even a single race knowing there’s fanboost. And I was set to follow FE as I do F1 until I heard about fanboost and realized it was not a serious championship.

          1. Other than being being hilariously awkward and dumb, Fanboost has effectively no effect on the championship or on almost any individual race. Most of the time it’s used by a back marker alone on track. The races themselves are actually pretty fun to watch since everyone is in very similar cars. I’d give them a chance if Fanboost is what’s stopping you.

    3. @glynh, whilst this is a view that is routinely espoused, will it necessarily be the case that people would accept F1 being electrified?

      We have seen bitter complaints from a minority of the fan base who refuse to see the sport in any other way than with a high revving engine, be it a V10 or a V8, because that is what they grew up with. That sector of the fan base has already kicked up enough of a fuss that we are seeing moves to water down the regulations for 2021 to appease them – tell that sector of the fan base that F1 might go electric in the future, and they would probably scream the place down.

      At times, I wonder if the fan base of F1 has become too reactionary to be able to accept the idea of electrification and would oppose such a switch, making it very difficult for F1 to adapt to changes in other series such as Formula E. Indeed, I get the impression that some fans would rather kill off the sport than see it going down the route of full electrification as a pointless nihilistic act.

      1. @anon
        F1 as the major historic racing series? I think you have a point.

        My view is already here.

      2. I’m not sure why you make the assumption that some fans prefer V10/V8s because ‘that is what they grew up with.’ I think that’s completely glossing over the issue. If you ask many of them, I think they’d say it’s the feeling of the raw power, the sound, the difficulty they present the driver, etc. It’s easy to dismiss things as ‘nostalgic’, but then we can’t learn from them. Maybe a more visceral experience WOULD be the thing to make F1 exciting again, but if we ignore possibilities because they were done before…. well, that’s silly, isn’t it?

        1. PantoneZ, it’s a reasonable argument to make from the age statistics provided by fan surveys from recent times and observable patterns in older fan surveys that a sizeable chunk of the fan base will have grown up in the V10 and V8 eras.

          The Motorsport network has noted that the average age of the fans that responded was about 35, and their statistics indicated that around 50% of the fan base are, from their age bracket, likely to have been born between the early 1980’s and early 1990’s (whilst approximately 25% more will have been born somewhere between about 1995-2001).

          Now, it seems that a number of fans have recollections of coming across the sport just before becoming a teenager or in their early teens, so that trend suggests that the average fan now probably began to first watch F1 some time between the early 1990’s to about 2005: that fits roughly with the time frame when V10’s became the dominant engine type, whilst the younger end of that category will have been coming in around the transition from the V10 to the V8 engines.

          It is certainly consistent with the fact that, when most fan surveys asked the fans which drivers or which eras they enjoyed the most, it usually corresponds to who were the strongest drivers and teams from about 20-25 years earlier. It’s also consistent with the fact that, when the 2015 fan survey asked what decades the fans preferred, the profile of the preferred decades mapped fairly well to the age profile of the fan base minus about 20-25 years.

      3. I’d love so see F1 with proper engines. V12s would be amazing. And even then I’d much rather have electric f1 than the current hybrid engines. The sound is equally uninteresting (bad) with both hybrids and electronics, the cars are massively overweight and the engines are slow options for a racing car. Naturally aspirated or even turbo engines have massive weight benefit compared to hybrids which allow them to be faster while weighing less. And less expensive and less electronically controlled.

        In the end I’d want an engine that puts the driver more in control and the hybrid is by far the least driver controlled engine f1 or any series ever has ever had. By far. The engines are completely electronically controlled and configured for every single corner for ever single lap of the race. Things like traction control from the v10 era are meaningless when you compare that tech to what the teams use nowadays to make the cars easier to drive. Going from hybrids to electric (or going to anything else!) would put the driver more in control.

        No driver loses control in these hybrid engines. The cars are so electronically controlled that even a total second rate rookie can jump in and drive the wheels off without any issues. With the v10s even the best drivers had doubts after tests whether they could do it because the cars were temperimental monsters that required ultimate concentration and physicality to go fast. The cars had a limit and the electronics did not reel you in like they do in modern cars. If you went over the limit you as a driver had to bring it back. In modern car the electronics control where the limit is, how you get there and how you come back down from the limit. You won’t even be able to spin the car unless you are in burnout mode.

        1. At times, you seem to exhibit such zealotry that I wonder whether it will ever be possible to present any facts to you that show anything other than what you believe in with the fervency of a religious fanatic.

        2. Plenty of drivers lose control under acceleration @socksolid. It’s the bonus that turbo power brings – low down grunt. Believe me, they have to ‘tippy-toe’ out of the corners otherwise they’d be 180-ing all over the place, and they have no ‘device’ to prevent that so it’s driver skill all the way. In the N/A era, whether it was v8,10 or 12, there was very little torque compared with horsepower and the engines had to be kept in a quite narrow powerband, sometimes as narrow as 5,000 rpm, so it was all about momentum racing. Fall out of that power band and they would end up chugging along while the competition flashed by. Yes the drivers had to concentrate to keep the revs in the ‘sweet spot’ but they were easier to drive than the current era in that it was almost impossible to break traction with the rear wheels out of a corner when the tyres were fully hot. It was just a completely different driving style. The writing was on the wall for the v12 as soon as Renault launched the V10 which was shorter, lighter yet made the same if not more HP. The V12 wasn’t a monster, it was a heavy slug. I think the V10 was the best N/A motor for F1. I hated the torqueless V8 and it’s ubholy shriek and much prefer the current crop of PU’s to that eardrum bashing era.

          1. @baron, 5,000rpm sounds much wider than the figures that I have heard for the optimum power band of the V8 engines, as I’ve heard figures closer to 2,000rpm being mentioned

            Brundle, having tested some of those cars for various pieces for shows in that era, commented how gutless the engines were across most of the power band, whilst at the start of the V8 era Webber commented that the cars were so easy to drive as they were relatively underpowered and he thought that the cars of the newly launched GP2 series were, if anything, potentially more challenging to drive.

            As for the writing being on the wall, Ferrari certainly recognised that pretty quickly in the 1990’s – they wanted to ditch it as early as 1990 (they knew fairly early on that they’d gone down the wrong development path and were already running single cylinder tests that year for a V10 concept), but the board at Fiat refused to grant them the funding they required to develop a new engine and they had to stick to their V12 because it was cheaper to keep using that engine.

    4. regarding the great drivers: it has the formula one rejects..lots of unnecessary crashes etc.

    5. If Bernie was still in charge of F1, then I’d agree with Branson that FE would overtake F1 in 10 years, now, I’d say it’s 50/50, with FE migrating to proper race tracks within 5 years due to technology improvements. Long term, F1’s best option is to hope for a series merge, the petrol engine is heading the way of the dodo.

  2. “I’m willing to forecast that 10 years from now, if Formula One continue in their current way, I think Formula E will overtake it.”

    Interesting that he chooses 10 years. Go back 10 years, and you’ll find the extremely accurate date he expected his Virgin Galactic company to start taking tourists into space (it still hasn’t done that, as of 2017).

    I do agree that F1 could be better, but Formula E isn’t even in the same league. It’d need to make massive progress in terms of speed and the circuits FE uses to even come close, and I think that sort of progress is more than 10 years distant.

    1. Mr. Branson has been quite successful with several ventures. But, like most wealthy entrepreneurs, he has made many mistakes and unrealized predictions. This is another.

      1. Just like every businessman branson will always say the choices he is making are the correct choices. And that where he is the future is. It would be pretty bad for him to sponsor formula e and then come out and say he thinks it will fizzle out. FE might be good bang for the buck as far as visibility goes but the future of the top class of motorsports? Doubt it.

  3. Pretty obvious Richard Branson is a dollar short on knowledge of F1. I respect he has an opinion about FE but come on F1 is F1. FE attracts drivers from higher levels of racing whose careers are pretty much over anyway. Just look at the driver lineups, mostly those who didnt amount to much in other series.

    1. @TEDBELL +1.

    2. Branson ran a F1 team. An unsuccessful F1 team.
      And he knows damn well why it was unsuccessful; in the current F1 climate teams like that don’t have a chance in hell.
      In F1 top teams protect their podrace kingdom like Jabba the Hutt. The rest can take the scraps, like 1 podium finish in the whole of 2017.

      In Formula E all teams are in for a chance. Yes, there are better and worse teams; but there are no rules and arrangements that hamper a teams rise. And you don’t need to spend over $100 million a year just to compete.
      It may change as the big companies are getting involved. They will promote FE through their own channels so it will rise for that reason alone. Money flows in, things start happening.

      Pity the tracks are awful, the racing is artificial (slow regenerative braking, midrace car changeover, fan boost), the drivers are basically F1 rejects and the sound is all but ‘sound’… If that all gets better within 10 years, F1 beware.

      1. @jerejj Branson never ran an F1 team. Virgin purchased 20% of the team (Manor Grand Prix) and the naming rights of “ Virgin” the other 2 partners were Manor Motorsport & Wirth Engineering. Branson (Virgin) had 0 to do with the actual organisation and running of the team and I t might have done better if he had, but Manor & Wirth were the prinipals behind the Virgin team and the last named responsible for the disasterous “CFD only” design & development path. Branson was (is) a shrewd cookie. Braun tried to get him on-board early in 2009 and he managed to get a few thousand out of him to go on the one-off 2009 Braun GP and thus the Virgin brand was the sole Logo on the car apart from Braun. How much do you reckon that was worth for a World Championship Double year! Branson was never interested in F1 but occasionally put his toe in the water and always got his money back.

        1. @baron ”Branson never ran an F1 team” – I never implied he did, though.

          1. My apologies @jerejj. You are quite correct, my reply was meant for Bart…

          2. Neither did I mean to say Branson was responsible for the operations of the Virgin F1 team, but he was involved as a sponsor and knew the business, to the point that he realized the team could never become successful in the current F1 climate.

      2. It wont get better and its built on F1 technology so i dont ever see why F1 should beware.

        Maybe all electric will be the future for F1 but noone would drop the F1 legacy to favor a spin off gimmick series.

      3. No he didn’t. He threw a pile of money at an F1 team who stuck his sticker on the car. Funnily enough this is exactly what Mercedes did to first Ilmor (in both Indy car and F1) and then Brawn GP.

        1. As I said I did not intend to suggest he was responsible for the operation of the team.
          He was involved as a sponsor with Brawn GP, then as a title sponsor to Manor.
          He witnessed the might of factory teams when Mercedes outspent him when Brawn GP unexpectedly became champions, then found the Manor team had no chance to improve even to points scoring level.

          If F1 is to wither it won’t be the tracks, drivers or even the rules that are to blame.
          Just the big teams determined to win no matter what it takes, even if it kills all tension in the championship; like the Mercedes CLK GTR had done to sports car racing in the 90s and the combined efforts of McLaren and Porsche did to CanAm.
          In the end nobody in those series made a profit, even the winning teams lost money.
          Sounds familiar…

  4. The world should have clean cars.

    Especially those that will leave a trace of harmful batteries behind?

    1. What is harmful about the batteries, exactly? It’s the mining of the materials for them that is harmful, the batteries themselves are not poisonous like old batteries used to be.
      They might catch fire though, if they short. But isn’t that the same for anything? :P

      1. The article below has some good info.

        I think the tech needed to recycle the batteries will improve over time. The fundamental problem is how we replace fossil fuels in the global energy equation. A world where 99% of the cars on the road are electric cars will need a lot of extra juice on the grid. Today, that electricity typically comes from burning carbon.

        1. Plus, used electric car batteries can still be useful for energy storage, whether in a single building or as part of grids that incorporate more solar and wind. That can help offset the environmental costs of making the batteries in the first place.

          Probably a fair view of battery recycling.

          My next car will be electric and as I live in a sunny country with a 200m2 flat roof, I’m not worried about generating enough juice to take the car for a daily spin.

        2. The future is using our cars less. This is happening on mainland Europe with a massive surge in E-bike sales and some countries seeing employers pay staff to not use a car for work.

          1. Synthetic fuel if hydrogen tech doesn’t live up to expectations.

            Synthetic fuel is CO2 neutral

            Not buying into the electric car thing just yet, unless the market doesn’t give me any other option.

            Batteries are imo devices to enhance combustion cars. It has too many flaws. One of them the one it wants to dissipate, pollution

          2. Hey Big Joe! That started in London way back in 1998 when companies started being ‘taxed’ on employee car park spaces. I worked for such a company back then who offered ‘incentives’ not to drive to work. Here’s the thing. I lived over 100 miles away yet could be at my desk in 90 minutes (by train). A colleague who lived but 12 miles away drove to work each morning and it took him 2 hours there and 1.5 hours back every day. It was a no brainer. Who wants to drive in a big city anyway? They should make London all electric. That would get rid of the ‘Knightsbridge Hooners’ too. You know who I mean..

  5. The technological advances over the next ten years and how each series respond to them will determine whether or not FE surpasses or equals F1.

    Imagine F1 going full electric in ten years doing a complete race with a single charge on the same, or similar, courses as now. But, FE is still doing the same courses as they use now. Doesn’t seem likely FE would surpass F1 with that scenario.

    Also, what will the majority of vehicles manufactured ten years from now be? Electric, hybrid or ICE? That could be an important factor if F1 plans to keep car manufacturers involved.

    Crystal ball, anyone?

    1. You raise a good point: If F1 is true to F1 then the rules will be changed to allow teams to use the weight and space normally allocated to a fuel tank, engine, and hybrid system to instead be used by a battery and electric motor (assuming they still need a gearbox). Then, if teams want to change to an electric motor instead of using a petrol powered motor they can.
      I believe the current minimum weight of a car should be 728 kg, so teams would probably aim to keep their electric car close to that. As I thought about this, one could argue an F1 car has a maximum fuel weight of 100kg. So if the electric motor was about the same weight as the engine, then is there a 100 kg battery with enough joules in it to last a whole F1 race distance?

      1. It certainly could be a fascinating evolution. I would love to see racing of electric vs. fuel or hybrid engines. Anyone who has ever driven a Tesla is blown away by the acceleration. There may not be a production battery that can do a full race today, but there will be in the future.

      2. @drycrust ”I believe the current minimum weight of a car should be 728 kg”
        – One way to bring down the minimum weight even below your suggested 728 kg (last year’s minimum overall weight) would be to reduce the number of PU elements to some extent, for example, by only keeping the MGU-K and ERS along with the engine itself. Would the PU still be enough road relevant if it only included the MGU-K and ERS along with the ICE?

      3. @drycrust The electric engine is already included in current F1 cars. Thats why they are 100kgs heavier nowdays.

    2. In the discussions about the revised engine regulations I proposed a driveline similar to the Opel Ampera/Chevy Volt: wheels powered by electric motors only, small battery and ICE as range extender. The future development path then could be to steadily increase the electric part and decrease the ICE part. F1 seems to have decided on something else, namely reducing the electric part.

      Tesla has announced plans for a sportscar that has the power of a F1-car and maybe the range to do a full GP at speed. I know, it’s Tesla, smoke and mirrors, lot’s of controversy surrounding that outfit. But it is a single player operating in a market that has been less than welcoming to them.

      The F1 teams collectively spend between 1 and 2 billion dollars on research and development every year. A lot of that money goes to endlessly reshaping bits of carbonfibre. If instead they would spend a significant part of that money into an electric driveline, then they would be able to beat the Musk Corporation in no time, wouldn’t they?

      Now with all the big manufacturers flocking to FE, it would be interesting to see if the money will follow. If so, F1 needs to adapt quickly, because they will be up against a 1000 hp FE-car that does 300 km on a single charge in 10 years time.

  6. I will never watch FE until fanboost is gone.

    1. Donald F. Draper
      24th December 2017, 5:49


    2. Whilst fanboost is crap, in three seasons it’s had virtually no impact in the races. DRS is currently a far worse gimmick.

      You’re missing out.

      1. Something like fanboost does not belong in sport, only three drivers can have it and it is a public vote so it has nothing to do with how well they have performed, it is akin to something like being able to vote for your favourite sprinter in a 100 metre race to run in a lane that has a downwards slope. At least with DRS it can be used by all drivers provided they meet the criteria of being within one second of the car ahead of them at a defined section of the circuit.

        1. Fanboost could be useful in the fans being able to give justice to the drivers in controversial circumstances. Formula One stinks at times. The inconsistancy and outright cheating has tainted F1 for years and forms a lot of the online arguments.

          1. Have they taken the stupid music off the TV coverage?

          2. you can’t be serious, public voting can’t be trusted in this scenario

  7. Branson’s statement loses quite a lot of it’s legitimacy when you remember that back in 2015 he predicted that Formula E would overtake F1 by 2020; so clearly he is now re-adjusting by adding 7 extra years on just to make sure.

    Personally I really enjoy Formula E but trying to compare it with F1 is a folly and the antithesis of what Alejandro Agag has claimed about FE, which has been more along the lines of: “We’re going for a slightly different audience to F1, we don’t want to compete with them”. As much as I love the sport as a showcase for talented drivers such as Felix Rosenqvist, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, who were all good enough to succeed in F1 but lacked the budget/opportunity and are now finally able to show the world what they can do, I am realistic; it’s not going to outmode F1 that easily and it’s certainly never going to match it in terms of audience. It’s a niche sport and it will remain that way simply because F1 dominates the motorsport landscape and has done ever since Bernie’s rise to power. One of the reasons that Hydro Quebec cited for pulling out their sponsorship of the now-cancelled Montreal ePrix, was that the series simply didn’t bring the audience numbers to justify their investment, either on site or on T.V. (Although it didn’t help that Channel 5 kicked the coverage from the main channel down to Spike and then cut off halfway through the podium to show some old movie) It’s hard to argue with that despite FE’s lofty claims about viewing figures (which are often exaggerated), and there are times I think when Formula E’s ambition stretches far further than it’s reach. Environmentally they are leading the way in terms of green energy, powering all the cars via Glycerine generators rather than relying on energy from the grid, although the city centre venue preference somewhat counteracts that given that construction work has to take place using ICE powered HGV’s to transport barriers, put up temporary asphalt, etc. And as others have pointed out, the circuits are a compromise in order to bring racing to the people, which does make you wonder how much worse attendance figures would be at traditional race tracks away from cities…

    I am glad that there are so many manufacturers signing up to FE programmes, and that they’re serious about it. We’re seeing smaller EV specialist manufacturers like Mahindra able to mix it with and beat the likes of Renault e.Dams, DS Virgin, Audi, and the now much improved Jaguar, shows that colossal resources are not the huge advantage that they are in F1. Formula E definitely has a place in the future, but I think to call it “The Future” is misleading, because the future is constantly changing. Right now it’s battery powered EV’s but soon it might be Hydrogen power, some new-fangled bio-fuel; god knows what; EV’s are the most developed of these relatively new concepts. F1 is too big and too rich to fail, and FE, though it has achieved some big highs in a short period, is not secure enough nor popular enough to be classed in the same league as F1; iron out the weaknesses, start winning ordinary people who live next to the circuits over, and maybe then we can start talking about FE’s progress in the lofty terms that Branson puts here. If they can do it, I’ll be over the moon, and if not then at least they tried, and maybe left groundwork for whatever new, more efficient propulsion system comes after.

    1. @Edster I don’t think big companies sign up to Formula E for any other reason than its cheap, their high street competitors are in it and it’s totally tax deductible, so their R&D costs in electric propulsion are negligible. They will also be aware that their shareholders will be thinking ‘green issues’ . I know that’s being totally cynical but it is the way big corporations think, and they will want to be positioned where the money is likely to be found.

  8. Like when he passed everybody when he was in F1

    1. He did exactly what Mercedes did except he was only prepared to throw a tiny fraction of the money Merc uses at a team.

  9. Yes, Richard, we believe you.

    After all, you were totally right about all those ventures you were involved in. Virgin Cola, Virgin Vie (Makeup), Virgin Vodka, Virgin Games/Interactive, Virgin Bride (No really, it existed) flying around the world in a balloon and of course, your commercial space company that started taking tourists into space a decade ago………..oh, wait. 0_o

    1. @nikkit.. Being fair to him, I wouldn’t call Virgin Interactive a failure, or even close to a failure. It did run for 18/20 years, after being partially sold to Titus, then onto Electronic Arts and did include some very well known classic titles.

  10. As long as Formula E is raced on awful and predictable street circuits and have the relative speed of motion of cars on the highway, I sincerely doubt it. But as soon as the cars get fast and they choose some good circuits…

  11. ”Formula E will overtake F1 in 10 years” – I highly doubt it. Furthermore, I initially thought that the round-ups would be posted every day all year round, but apparently, there are at least two exceptions to the rule.

    1. Well deserved short break for @keithcollantine @WillWoods.

      Merry Christmas.

  12. The season is yet to star and the ferrari is already on a crime scene investigation?

  13. It’s fairly clear that cars in general are going electric and it’s fair to say that in 10 years, it’s likely that a petrol/diesel car will be reasonably rare. I still don’t see Formula E “overtaking” Formula 1. Surely, once it becomes clear that the technology is perfected; ie: the battery lasts a race distance and can provide the same power as a “normal” engine would have done, then Formula 1 will simply “steal” the technology from Formula E and carry on with electric cars. Formula 1 has always adapted (granted, sometimes slower than it should) and I think Formula E has an expiry date. Once Formula 1 starts using electric cars, be it in 5, 10 or 25 years, Formula E will die out as a series – though the experience of the mechanics and and manufacturers will be taken across to Formula 1.

    1. Again. There is no “stealing” as FE is using F1 technology.

      1. That’s not quite right is it. Sub companies of F1 teams like McLaren and Williams were invited to work on the Formula E program under restrictions.
        Now we have F1 manufacturers buying into FE. Like Mercedes bought themselves back into F1 with both engine and chassis.

    2. @ben-n

      Completely agree. If F1 decides to adopt an all electric Formula, they would wipe Formula E out of existence immediately. Currently, Formula E is only in business because it has adopted a different technological path from Formula 1. Having retired F1 drivers and independent constructors that no one has heard of is in no way a sustainable competitive advantage over Formula 1. F1 has a legacy of 60 years, that will trump Formula E if they are playing the same game. Simple as that.

  14. I’d like to see a formula E overtake a formula 1 car literally though. I’m not sure that will happen!

    1. An Fe car would have finished in front of several F1 cars this season.

      1. @rethla the McLaren wasn’t that bad

        1. @johnmilk Even the Red Bull was that bad in several races.

  15. It is more likely that in 10 years time Formula E will be made redundant when the technology has become advanced enough to a point when it can be used in completely electric powered Formula One cars without embarrassing the so-called pinnacle of motor racing.

    And Formula E will not overtake Formula One anyway because the future of top level motor racing will not be to close down the streets in ever increasingly busy cities whilst abandoning all the permanent race circuits that have had many millions spent on them.

    1. They are only racing on the streets to accomodate the cars being heavily restricted. Your’re also missing the point that Formual One would have to buy or borrow the evolving electric motors from Formula E which as it happens are already being given money by F1 manufacturers

      1. I think they are also racing on street circuits because the series is young and has a much smaller following, such that there wouldn’t be the draw to make financially feasible setting up races at known race courses and hoping to sell enough tickets and getting enough TV audience to pay for it all. Temporary circuits are far far cheaper, and they take the races right to the people in densely populated locations rather than them hoping for the people to come to them.

      2. @BigJoe the fact that Formula E restricts itself to short and twisty city circuits limits it’s growth as a series (and no it doesn’t have to be this way, they have deliberately chosen to do this) so it cannot have any hope of overhauling Formula One as the premier class of motor racing whatever Mr Branson thinks.

        And I don’t think Formula One would have to buy anything from Formula E, both are FIA series so they could very easily write the rules so that Formula One allows electric powered cars and cancel Formula E because there would no longer be any point to it, any manufacturers in Formula E would simply move across if they wished.

  16. Fun fact: the likes of VAG, BMW and Merc will still be investing heavily in ICE for years to come (as mentioned by Harald Kruger at Stuttgart this year). They will also expand the electric range at the same time, but the general consensus in the industry is that there is still a lot of gains to be made with the ICE in terms of efficiency. Toyota and Mazda are heavily invested in the Compression Ignition Engine (SkyActiv-X).

    So while the long term future may be electric, the short to medium term is still very much ICE. The big boys are only spending a relatively small percentage of their R&D funds on electrification as things stand. Obviously the slice will increase in years to come.

    I’m not living under a rock, it’s inevitable that we will and should stop using fossil fuels at some point. But there are so many variables in the equation that its not going to be a simple switch. Governments should be ban coal fired plants, that would be a good start, don’t you think?

    Coming back to F1, it would really depend what F1 wants to be. Liberty is an entertainment company, and I see it going in that direction, which means road relevance might not be an issue. The luxury/supercar marques are still building V12s and V8s, and it sounds like they still will be in years to come, what better way to sell it? Perhaps it will become more of marketing playground luxury car brands? A grid made up of Ferrari (duh), Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Porsche, Mclaren (with their own engine), BMW, Alpine, AMG, Koeningsegg (now owned by a Chinese conglomerate) etc? Perhaps the rules might become more relaxed with free reign on engine design but governed by power output and fuel consumption?

    1. “Fun facts” “So while the long term future may be electric, the short to medium term is still very much ICE. The big boys are only spending a relatively small percentage of their R&D funds on electrification as things stand. Obviously the slice will increase in years to come.”

      If you want some ‘fun’ look into what the Chinese are investing in EVs and batteries. China is advancing almost on a monthly basis.

      F1 becomes less road relevent every month that passes. Yet your so called ‘big boys’ still don’t get it. The world doesn’t revolve around the manufacturers in F1.

      1. I think there needs be big concerns over China’s carelessness surrounding environmental consciousness or lack thereof.

        I won’t try to predict what F1 or FE’s future is wrt to electrification, but I do believe that in terms of our domestic road cars, full electrification is still a fair distance away, in terms of everyone going electric. At the least, with current battery life, I’ve heard it said that ‘gas stations’ as in recharging stations would have to be the size of shopping mall parking lots to accommodate all the cars sitting there for at least a half an hour recharging, while gas powered cars are so much more convenient that way, with longer ranges and vastly quicker stops for refueling.

        I see for quite a while yet ICE’s getting more and more efficient, and being used more and more as on board chargers for the batteries. Just as F1 has already started to lean toward with their 30% reduction in fossil fuel burning and their energy recovery systems.

        1. ICE cars will be at the mercy of government legislation and possibly a stigma from the general public as our air quality doesn’t improve and in the UK with very lax laws, noise pollution.
          EVs are predicted to become cheaper to build than ICE which will be a huge turning point. Also the ‘neighbour effect’ will be another turning point, when Electric cars are considered cooler/more fashionable must have vehicles. This is just for ordinary car buyers. Techy types are already adopting them as we know.

          1. @BigJoe I don’t disagree but I just think it will take longer than many are projecting. For many people the motivation and desire for electric cars will not be there. For many they won’t be practical for quite a while yet. And far too many don’t care enough about air quality as evidenced by us being where we are today. Be great if there could be such an abrupt turnaround in peoples’ thinking though, but not holding my breath.

      2. What I get is that companies like BMW make profit and then some. But I suppose you know more than they do.

        Btw, how’s Tesla doing? Still not a penny profit since start up you say? Yeah, ICE is as good as dead…

        1. Tesla burn potential profit into getting the Model 3 and Electric Semi into mass production. Both of these vehicles have and are shaking the industry with their orders.
          Expecting Tesla to make profit and not shake up the industry is short sighted. BMW’s biggest innovation has been with their i3 and i7 and they are not that profitable either.

      3. Sure mate, China is investing heavily in EVs and batteries, and nowhere in my comment did I say that EVs and batteries aren’t the future. The point I was trying to make is that main auto manufacturers are still finding big improvements in ICE efficiency.

        “The world doesn’t revolve around the manufacturers in F1” -I’m not saying it does, but the auto industry does revolve around the major manufacturers. At this point in time, the forecast is that ICE and/or hybrid will offer comparable performance/efficiency with respect to cost/km when pitted against an EV. Obviously, this could change quick if something like Toyota’s solid state battery goes on to become the standard.


  17. Everyone here totally missing the point that Formula E is heavily restricted and the tracks are chosen to accomodate this.

    Also McLaren and Williams are both involved in FE. Williams designed a removable battery to do away with two cars, but it was considered too much of a safety risk as Formula E is slowly ‘nursed’ into the big time.

  18. It’s basically a no brainer to say that at some point a more efficient technology than the internal combustion engine will take over, but it certainly won’t be under the current format of Formula E, not least because they don’t run on proper tracks and taking over city centres may work in some places, but doesn’t in many others – case in point, not sure it made the round up here, but Montreal’s new administration has cancelled the race after a major fiasco that involved inflated attendance figures, major traffic and transit disruptions that literally nobody wanted and the promoters are now being investigated for cooking the books. I don’t know how it is in other cities, but personally I find that overall the series has little appeal beyond an initial curiosity. Racing on proper tracks would be one step in the right direction, but the technology isn’t quite there yet I think.

  19. If Formula E changes to 6 litre v12 engines revving to 20,000 rpm with ground effects, world biggest car companies and sponsors, free to air and the hottest grid girls F1 will be in big trouble.

    Electric cars came before petrol but were not chosen as they are not as good. Electric is not the future just billionaires like Musk massaging their fantasies. It’s a fad.

    1. So you think that 100 years from vehicles will be powered by the ICE? 500 years? LOL

      Electric was not “chosen” because the technology wasn’t ready. Internal combustion is the more basic tech and so 100 years ago we were able to develop and use it to build the world we have today. But now the sun is setting on that technology…. you have your head in the sand.

      1. Even then, for a while the electric car was considered the more likely candidate to win out in the longer term. In the early 1910’s, steam and electric cars had about 80% of the market share between them (about 40% each), especially in urban centres – part of the change was also down to the fact that you had figures like Ford being able to mass produce internal combustion engines and therefore drive out electric cars on price grounds.

  20. I think the problem with Formula E is it wasn’t a competition that developed and grew naturally like most other sports. It was all designed in a boardroom right down to the stock cars that the teams paid to splash their branding over.

    F1 wasn’t conceived by ideological activist types. Car makers pitted their machines against each other to see who was the most innovative, and that drew crowds because it was a genuine intriguing competition. And it’s the same with any other sport. You can’t just fabricate something like that overnight, the people who put Formula E together are not ahead enough of the curve to come up with the next big thing. It’s near impossible to deliberately create something popular like that with any success.

    If they’d instead starting backing it at a grassroots level, the academics, researchers, students, privateers and such who are working on the real innovation in the field and had been more patient for a sport to grow out of it then I could see it potentially overtaking F1 one day. But this fan boosted, contrived, stock car series that they came up with just isn’t an appealing competition. I’m sure it briefly tickles some peoples fancy who are wannabe eco-warriors, but once the shine is off the apple I’m going to call it now that Formula E will be a dead series in 5 years.

  21. Furmula E is even slower than Tesla……

  22. As far as the Lewis Hamilton article concerning the attitude of certain Steward(s) not believing that Vetter did the Baku move deliberately, it makes me feel so bewildered. How can such people be employed at a very important position in Motorsport and not see such an obvious move? It makes me think of what else could these people be missing, or indeed what they may be seeing that has not happened. How can we trust their judgement? It boggles the mind.

    1. @scunnyman

      If they had acknowledged the deliberate nature of it, would the penalty he had have been severe enough?

      Realistically you’d be looking at a race ban I think for a deliberate ram behind a safety car, and I don’t think they’d want to sanction that hard with the championship battle going on because that would have clearly settled the fight far earlier.

      I think a complicit blind eye was turned due to the title fight.

      1. @philipgb I can see what you mean about the Championship, and that is what it is. but when you read the article and maybe when you watch the program itself, if it makes it clearer, Lewis is talking about somebody in a position of power and influence not understanding the deliberate nature of the offence. What I am saying is I am flabbergasted at the ineptitude of such a person and how can we trust their judgement. Also how many others think the same way. Is there any wonder F1 is going the way it is.

        1. @scunnyman

          And what I’m alluding to is that’s the official version they admit to publicly. Because if they do say yes it is clear to us it’s deliberate, they couldn’t have justified such a mild sanction.

          1. @philipgb

            The stewards wanted to screw Hamilton, plain and simple. The lame excuse of not wanting to effect the championship is exactly what they did. the effected the championship away from Lewis. They let Seb get away with it again in Mexico as Seb hit Lewis again. Seb in NO way deserved the title after his actions went unpunished.

  23. Its possible, but will need some changes. The circuits are horrible and frankly a bit Mickey Mouse. If they chance that we would actually get a bit closer to racing. Now it all feels a bit ‘for kids’. And what doesnt help is that it currently attracks the ‘just not good enough for F1’ type of drivers

  24. On Hamilton: this is his off track game again. He needs to play a mind game to create an advantage (at least he believes so). Luckily it is getting old. Has worked well on Rosberg (particularly on Rosberg) and probably also Vettel, but I somehow get the feeling that the likes of Ocon, Vandoorne and Verstappen will not be impressed by his mind games. The new batch seems to be far more honest, open, straightfoward, transparent and doing the talking on the track. With Lewis It starts to feel a defensive move rather than projecting strength

  25. Yeah!. The last time I played with my electric train set, that’s what I said.” Next year this will be faster and better than F1″.

  26. I think that F1 and FE will merge in the far future

  27. 10 years from now we will all making jokes about pistonengines and how we refueled on the gasstation – wait and see…

    Just look at the smartphone- went pretty quick…2 years and we all got it..

  28. fanboost ?!? Is this series about driver ability, looks or popularity?

  29. It’ll need DRS. And fresh superdupersofts vs F1’s 40-lap-old hypermediums. Then it might overtake F1. But F1 will be straight on the radio to Charlie demanding it gives the place back.

  30. He should have stuck to running record stores. His airline is over priced, over booked, and over hyped. His trains are mostly thirty years old and don’t run on time. And his space ship crashed! He achieved nothing in F1 as a sponsor, for heaven’s sake he couldn’t even pull Button’s girlfriend when he had half a chance. Richard Branson is all fluff and
    no substance, Britain’s Donald Trump just with slightly better hair.

  31. I can do Formula-e at home. Go into the back bedroom, dig out the Scalectrix, hold an electric car race. Simples!

Comments are closed.