Formula E No Threat To Formula 1, Says F1 Team Boss
Haas team boss Gunther Steiner says Formula 1 has no reason to feel threatened by Formula E, despite the rush of manufacturers to join the electric series.
Over the week or so, the interest in the Formula E has ramped up, with Mercedes announcing it would be quitting DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Master – a racing series out of Germany for touring cars) to join up from 2019, while Porsche confirmed a switch to Formula E from WEC’s LMP1 class.
But although FE’s future prospects have been boosted by the commitment from big car makers – with Renault and Jaguar already involved – Steiner thinks the reality is that there will be big stresses for the category in the future.
“I still see F1 in a very good place – it is the pinnacle of motorsport,” said Steiner, when asked by Motorsport.com for his views on the growing interest in FE.
“I think FE is trending at the moment – everyone wants to be part of this electric movement, which is fully understandable. But when there are seven or eight manufacturers involved, not all can win.”
“There will also immediately be a war over who can do more, who wants authority and all those sort of things.
“At the moment they are not attracting a lot of spectators so I don’t know how they can create revenue. It is difficult enough for F1 to create revenue, and this is a sport that has been here a long time. All the best drivers are here.”
Steiner believes that ultimately FE should be viewed as a good alternative to F1 rather than a rival – as he says if electric racing proved a big hit with fans, then grand prix racing could switch across from hybrids.
“I see it [Formula E] as an additional series, but I don’t see it as a threat. The easiest way, if it is a threat, we would just put electric motors in these [F1 cars] – because we have got a platform. Whatever happens, it will be F1.
“I can understand the interest because it is so trendy now, you need to be part of it, it is a wave. For the OEMs it is inexpensive, relatively inexpensive, compared to F1, so it is a pretty easy decision.
“Mercedes will spend a lot less in FE than they do in DTM, and the same goes for Porsche going out of WEC.”