Despite Mercedes and Porsche recently announcing that they are to join Formula E from 2019, F1 CEO Chase Carey has made it clear he isn’t concerned by the increase in manufactures’ interest in the all-electric racing series.
With Porsche and Mercedes joining the likes of Jaguar, Renault, BMW and Audi with their Formula E involvement, Carey still questions whether Formula E should be seen as a viable motor sport. The American is keen, too, to point out the differences between the burgeoning electric racing series and Formula 1.
“The events of this week didn’t change my view on Formula E one iota,” Carey told Reuters’ Alan Baldwin at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“For the mainstream auto industry, there’s clearly a direction towards electrical engines. Nothing that happened recently changed it.
“I think Formula E at this point is in many ways a combination of a street party for fans and sponsors and auto companies.
“For sponsors it is pursuing a corporate identification with a cause they like, for automotive companies R+D (research and development) and a technology they think will be a bigger part of their future.
“I’m not sure those things connect yet to make it a sport.”
The American executive pointed to Formula 1’s glamour and rich history, with its famous teams and racers, while also insisting on the sport’s relationship with cutting-edge technology.
“We have state-of-the-art technology but we’re first and foremost a great sport, with great heroes doing incredible things that are awe-inspiring and with fans around the world that are passionately loving the sport,” said F1’s new boss.
“We’re delivering an incredibly exciting product that captures people’s imagination and passion with great stars,” said Carey.
“They (Formula E) have a social agenda that is obviously important, the environment, and I respect that.
“There’s an appeal to identifying with the environmental issue but I think they’re very different propositions.”