Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is making no secret of how he would have ensured from the outset that the all-electric Formula E championship never become a major threat to F1’s very existence.
The innovative series was launched in 2014 and has attracted many former F1 drivers including Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne to its ranks. It’s won support from fans by racing on major city street circuits and by innovations such as Attack Mode and Fan Boost.
But Ecclestone is no fan, and says that if he had still been in charge of F1 then he would have made sure from the start that Formula E never become a major rival to Grand Prix competition.
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“I feel sorry for the guys running F1 now, as they have to consider the impact of Formula E,” he told Autocar magazine this week in an extended, exclusive interview.
“I would have buried it. It would have saved all the arguments. It wouldn’t have happened if I had been there.”
However he conceded that it was far too late to take that line. “Now everyone is only talking about electric cars, so it would be a bit of a courageous thing now to go against it,” he admitted.
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“It seems that the so-called younger generation aren’t interested in cars any more in general,” he continued. “I suppose in a few years time there won’t be anything to get excited about with a car. If it’s an electric car for everyone, it’ll be the same.
“I think Tesla will one day be forgotten, but Ferrari will never be forgotten,” he added. “Other people will make electric cars. They are a leader today, but they won’t be special soon.
“What do [people] actually care about? It’s the fact the cars are electric, not the brand itself. That won’t last forever.”
That was in stark contrast to Ferrari in Ecclestone’s mind.
“Ferrari’s brand is so strong that they could walk away from F1 and still be huge. Even when they aren’t winning in F1, you could ask a man in the street who won the world title and he would just say Ferrari.”
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