Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Formula E, Valencia pre-season testing, 2018

Vergne open to future F1-Formula E merger

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne says he can envisage a future merger between the championship and Formula 1.

What they say

RaceFans spoke to Vergne at the FIA Gala last month about the future of Formula E:

If in the future like 2030 it’s only electric cars or new technology cars, we stop seeing petrol cars, petrol engines, stuff like this, then Formula 1 will have to change completely their mentality on electric. But once again it’s not up to me to judge.

I think Formula 1 is Formula 1 and will stay Formula 1. It’s the most important series in motorsport history and I think it will remain the same. And Formula E is something different that to me does not compete with Formula 1. I’m hearing that maybe one day they will merge, the two of them. Would be nice, for me, that they keep the best of F1 and the best of Formula E that will be nice.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Two of the car manufacturers active in F1 have been rocked by major changes at the highest level within the last six months.

It is more than a little surprising how much impact individual people have in some really large and broadly based corporations. Consider the impact at Ferrari on the loss of their leader, here is Nissan / Renault about to turn themselves inside out as their conjoined leadership starts to founder. McLaren and Williams seem to be suffering from some indecision from those in charge of steering the ship. As Steve Jobs noted, “You want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream.”

The fall-out from the Renault situation will be spectacular, that’s my guess. Gonna be a bumpy ride.
NS Biker (@Rekibsn)

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45 comments on “Vergne open to future F1-Formula E merger”

  1. Given how quickly Formula e has grown, I think it’s inevitable that it will surpass F1 eventually, honestly a merge in my opinion is the only thing that would save F1 from completely vanishing, although the new sport would likely take the F1 name

    1. How do you measure that growth exactly? Because from the numbers I’ve seen Formula E has 2% of the market F1 has, and I guess even that 2% includes a good amount of F1 watchers.

    2. Dream on, Doran. Auto racing has always been about gasoline powered cars. When that goes away, fans all over the world will go away because to us, it’s not really racing.

      1. @jblank Speak for yourself. I don’t care how the cars are powered. I just want them to be powerful and fast, with good racing to boot.

        1. Well then ignore Formula E because fast isn’t in their formula. In any case, I’m correct, the numbers support me and once ICE racing goes away, the fans will too. If I want to watch gimmick racing I’ll watch drones or something.

    3. Depends what you mean by ‘surpass’ I guess.
      Formula E has a long way to go to catch up with F1 lap speeds.
      Formula E has yet to race on a full length F1 track.
      Formula E has yet to have a ‘real’ F1 driver.
      Still has a long way to go to ‘surpass’ F1.

    4. I don’t see why F1 couldn’t be one of the most popular sports on TV and computer, except for the fact they put the races behind a paywall.

    5. Silent cars removes an important part of what makes a race dramatic. The high sound level enhance the experience of extraordinary speed. For example during acceleration at the start. Remove it and you have an anti-climax with extremely boring racing. Artificial sound would be just ridiculous.

  2. Once all the big and corrupt car makers have moved over to FE, then F1 can go back to how it used to be. Mercedes are only Tyrrell and Ilmor with several eras of big corporate money thrown at it.

    1. Lol. Like the iPhone XS is just Steve Jobs first iPhone with lots of money thrown at it?

      1. @gufdamm, I expect that this is a matter of ideology over facts for Big Joe – as an aside, there is of course a supreme irony in his decision to laud Tyrrell given that Tyrrell were only able to enter Formula 1 in the first place because they were being backed by one of those “corrupt car makers” that he hates (Matra in that instance).

  3. I love people who predict the future. They always end up being wrong.

    1. Is that a prediction?

      1. Notice: This month’s meeting of the Clairvoyants Society has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

  4. Why would petrol-engine racing ever disappear completely? There’s still horse racing all over the world, isn’t there? It’s a good thing the RoboRace hasn’t taken off because then some could say drivers are no longer needed.
    Once FE can cover 300km in under 90 minutes with fat sticky tyres, then we can make valid comparisons to F1… until then, I wish everyone would just stop comparing them.

    1. Fikri Harish (@)
      2nd January 2019, 3:25

      Perhaps not completely but there’s just no way professional petrol-engine racing is still going to exist once alternative fuel became the norm.
      Horse breeding is nowhere near as costly as ICE development and maintenance and horses can literally breed indefinitely, not to mention the fact that horse breeding doesn’t really require an engineering background. No company is going to pour money and resource into something that’s going the way of the dodo.

      If anything, I assume that petrol cars are going to be raced exclusively in events like Goodwood Revival and the like.

      1. Just to enhance your point(s).
        We still have human sprint and endurance racing, from the Greeks.
        We still have human powered sprint and endurance racing on the water.
        It started in the air with a balloon, then across the Atlantic, against the trade winds.
        Human nature is to strive to better than the other that’s trying to be better me.
        We can not be the best at “everything”, we know that.
        Therefor, logic predicts that merging specialties only compromises the elite.
        So NASCAR / F1 / IndyCar / FE / LeMans / Americas Cup / Iditarod , et al, should not interbreed.
        Each is in a class of it’s own … Keep it that way.
        To risk an intentioned bad pun from the “Bard”, “shoe maker, stick to thy last”.

      2. Many forms of motorsport use ICE that are not from car manufacturers designs.

        Think NHRA, Sprint Cars, Indycars, even F1 etc.

        Years gone by the Coventry Climax engine was originally designed and built as a motive power for a stationary fire pumps before being press ganged into life as a race car engine. The Repco Brabham engine that won two world championships (1966 and 1967) was not based on a car manufacturers engine.

        The ICE used in Indycars are not derived from car manufacturers engines. Literally made from billet and badged to whoever stump up with the cash.

        Even Cosworth will build you an engine.

        Engineering wise they are a piece of cake to manufacture. Once the design is made, it is infinitely reproduceable, just like horses.

        If we really start to think outside the ICE box, a gas turbine engine can and has powered race winners. (Look up Howmet TX Sport Car).

        These are easy to manufacture, can run on vegetable generated methanes and produce gops of power.

        The Lotus 56 ended up being outlawed as it was just to fast.

        “The real setback for the Type 56 wasn’t mechanical troubles, it was regulation. Even before it entered competition, the U.S. Auto Club demanded that turbine engines reduce their air intake by 35 percent, to make them more competitive with piston-powered cars. Soon after the 1968 Indy 500, the organization banned the engine altogether. That’s too bad: In 1974, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wrote, “the apparent demise of the turbine engine is a technological tragedy, for of all the ways yet devised to power an automobile, it is very likely the best.” And while “the racing world banned the turbine engine; the automotive industry ignored it to death.”

        To write of ICE engines is plain silly, they are easy to build, have unlimited amount of fuel available to run them and make way, way, way better race engines than the electric engined and tire squealing FE cars.

        1. The Repco Brabham engine that won two world championships (1966 and 1967) was not based on a car manufacturers engine.

          Gerrit I’m petty sure the engine was based on a GM design, Oldsmobile I think. Heavily modified but the basic block was a mass production unit.

          1. No worries for future F1 ICE engines – high-revving, fire-breathing monsters will be 3D printed from recycled lithium-ion cells by Garagistas in Middlesex.

          2. @johnrkh, yes, you are correct – the Repco 620 engine machined down standard F85 Oldsmobile engines that were bought directly from General Motors – they also used pieces from other manufacturers as well (cam buckets from Alfa Romeo and connecting rods from Daimer and Chevrolet, for example), so the engine relied pretty heavily on automotive manufacturers.

            @rethla, well, in the case of a gas turbine directly driving the wheels, there is a reason why the “automotive industry ignored gas turbines to death” – it is the fact that they actually make pretty terrible engines for road cars, and indeed generally performed fairly terribly in racing cars as well.

            It is worth noting that none of the drivers who actually drove the Lotus 56 liked it all that much – Graham Hill frequently complained to Chapman about the fact that the engine had terrible throttle response – whilst all of them actively hated the 56B variant that raced in F1.

            John Miles was lucky not to be killed when testing the car, Dave Walker was actively relieved when he crashed because the car was a nightmare to drive and Emerson Fittipaldi described the car as the worst and most dangerous car that he ever drove – again, the throttle response was so atrocious as to be non-existent.

            The example of the Howmet TX is also not great – yes, the car did win a few races, but those races were held against extremely weak fields which had no other GTP cars (one of those races only had two other entries, and they were both GT cars), so those victories don’t say much.

            It’s worth noting that, in later life, Ray Heppenstall admitted that the Howmet TX was actually illegal for the class it raced in. Using the equivalency formulas of the time, the Howmet TX’s engine actually equated to a 3.3 litre conventional engine – the ACCUS official who was meant to calculate what the turbine equated to as a piston engine deliberately falsified the calculations so it could run in the 3.0 litre prototype class instead.

          3. Correct. Worth a read in how much of the original alloy block remained. Note that with cnc machining engine blocks are now easily produced, not like in 1965 when that technology was not available and independent engine block casting cost prohibitive. Though Repco did in the end cast their own engine blocks.

            Worth a read


            “A lot of people in 1966, including the international motoring writers did not realize the extent of the machining of the F85 Oldsmobile cylinder block to use as our engine base. It was more work and more involved in adapting the F85 than machining our new Repco cast blocks (700 and 800 Series) used later in the project.”

        2. The “automotive industry that ignored gas turbines to death” seems to be crawling with gas turbines, they are just called turbos…

          1. Not correct. Turbine engines are connected to the drive train directly from its main shaft.

            Turbos are a fancy form of compressor that intensifies the air fuel mixture for the ICE and is spun from the exhaust gases. Turbos have no internal combustion mechanism. The turbo has no output shaft to drive the car.

          2. And you dont think turbine engines are fancy compressors?
            The ICE is the internal combustion…

        3. @Gerrit,

          Once the design is made, it is infinitely reproduceable, just like horses.

          I don’t think you understand what “infinite” means. Even if the fuel source is renewable (e.g. sourced from food crops), the steel required to build them is absolutely finite.

          So not “just like horses”.

          1. @justrhysism
            And horses just magicly spawn i presume? ;)
            In a world where metal for engines is finite horses definitly are aswell.

          2. @rethla Horses are created using renewable resources (food, water, other horses). Engines are not.

            I’m actually rather surprised I had to explain that.

          3. @rethla

            In a world where metal for engines is finite

            What other world is there? Metal is finite. Food and water is renewable.

          4. @justrhysism
            There is one world and metal, carbon(that horses are made of), “food” and water are all finite if you wanna stretch it to the limits. Food for breeding horses and metal to make engines aint exactly running out right now and thats the context im basing my view on ;)

          5. @rethla

            “food” and water are all finite if you wanna stretch it to the limits.

            I didn’t say they weren’t finite, but they are renewable. Metal is recyclable, but is significantly more difficult to do so. But either way, you’ve actually made my point for me, given you initially said that “it is infinitely reproduceable [sic]“.

            metal to make engines aint exactly running out right now and thats the context im basing my view on

            Still not “infinite”. I hope you don’t make important decisions on false facts.

          6. @justrhysism
            Im not gonna buy a horse instead of a car because metal is “finite” if thats what you mean ;)

      3. ASSume is the right word for it.

  5. I predict that both ICE F1 and electric FE will become obsolete as soon as we’ve mastered time travel ;)

    1. @coldfly That is, of course, if time travelling ever were to become possible.

  6. I don’t think ICE powered racing will disappear in the future, it reminds me of the quartz crisis. When quartz watches were invented (more reliable, more accurate, cheaper), mechanical watchmaking was dying. That was 40 years ago, but now there is still a place for mechanical watches.

    In this case all car manufacturers have a lot of time to adapt and develop their products. Carmakers can race in FE and possibly roborace to promote EV and mobility. It is becoming likelier to see car manufacturers leaving F1 and focusing on FE, on the benefits of cost and a more level playing field; but there is no case that requires F1 to merge with FE as they both have an opposing vision and mission.

    As boring as the race goes, F1 still markets itself as the best that motorsport can offer. It is a racing event where teams and drivers goes all out the whole weekend. FE on the other hand is more about the show, even if the races can be very exciting. It’s about racing a semi-spec EV cars in the middle of a city, and invites interaction with the audience with its Fanboost.

    I hope there is a place for FE and F1 to coexist. Personally i find that F1 and FE gives a different kind of excitement, and i really like that the FE season starts after the F1 season ended so that I won’t get bored easily during the off season. Thank goodness Marrakesh ePrix is only 10 days away, and it is available on youtube

  7. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
    2nd January 2019, 9:31

    Goodness, where have they dug Burti up from?

  8. 2030 is forever from now, though.

    I disagree with Burti. Yes, it indeed isn’t normal for a quadruple world champion to make that many mistakes and especially that many rather ‘silly’ unforced errors, but avoiding those is his responsibility, not the responsibility of the team management.

    An interesting COTD and I agree with it for the most part. Hopefully, the Renault/Nissan-situation wouldn’t prove costly for the manufacturer’s F1 program, though.

  9. Formula E is simply a testing ground for engine manufacturers. The extra money and growth is due to the investment of big car companies looking to develop battery/ power train technology.

    If you look at all the most attended events in the world F1/ Indy 500/ Le Mans 24 Hours/ WRC etc. They all have history based on the that type of motor sport. Formula E is in direct competition with Formula 1 a already established competition. of that type of motor sport. For it to surpass F1 it needs to take fans off F1 in big numbers, any new open wheel fans will naturally follow F1 as this is the most popular sport in that category and people like to watch what everyone else is watching. For Formula E to succeed it needs to get people in big numbers to watch its sport over F1 then new open wheel fans will follow FE over F1. The only way in my mind for this to happen is for F1 to get it so wrong and either collapse or make the sport unwatchable. Otherwise it can simply adopt the technology development in Formula E when necessary and continue as the biggest open wheel sport.

  10. At the moment, an F1/FE merged would be like merging the Renault Clio Cup with NASCAR. ‘They both have four wheels and a roof, so hey, why not?’

    Much as Formula E likes to talk itself up, it currently occupies a small niche in the motorsport world and survives largely on marketing. The tracks are a joke, the cars look slow even on enclosed circuits, the technology has lost its ‘wow factor’ and the quality of the racing isn’t particularly good. I like that it races in cities, but it can only do that because the cars are so slow. The only two things it really has going for it are manufacturer involvement (though reliance on manufacturers isn’t necessarily a good thing) and a high-quality driver field.

    In the future? Maybe a merger could happen, but FE would probably need to give up its unique selling point (electric cars in big cities) to become relevant enough to be an ‘equal partner’ in a merger. It’d need to evolve into a (popular) series with quick electric cars, and that means they’d have to ditch the crap little Mickey Mouse tracks and use real circuits. Quicker will most likely mean more expensive, advanced technology, and leaving cities will mean they have to be able to attract fans out to real tracks to watch the racing.

    Only, I get the feeling that by the time (if it ever comes – doubtful) they get to the point of being able to do that, someone else will already be doing the Silent 24 Hours of Le Mans and FE won’t have a niche to evolve into…

    But we’re all crap at predicting the future, so perhaps I’ll be paying SkyLiberDisney £500 a month in 2035 to watch the first Formula On-E world championship…

  11. Cristiano Ferreira
    2nd January 2019, 14:55

    No one wants a merge with a pathetic excuse of a motor Racing series like Formula E. Only FE pilots who doesnt have a chance in F1 can hope and dream with it.

  12. Re RenaultNissan: The news I’ve seen suggests it is Nissan who are deeply unimpressed with their Big Boss… whereas Renault seem to be happy as they are. Between the lines it seems this affair is being used as a political means for the two companies to split – or at least diverge.

  13. Haas has done very well with their drivers. Not the top crop, but Magnussen has really blossomed and Grosjean has been allowed to find his way, even if it’s taken a lot of time. Other teams would have be looking at new talents, but even new promising talent would likely not do as well points-wise as seasoned drivers who have been through ‘F1 school’ who is given trust and time, and who know they will likely not be thrown out for the latest ‘Idol’ winner.

    1. Balue – great icon.

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