Brawn: All-electric F1 possible but Formula E still in the slow lane
Formula 1 could become an all-electric world championship in the next decade if it provides a better spectacle for fans, according to Ross Brawn, the director of motorsports at the series.
However, he stressed that Formula 1 remains much more popular than Formula E, presently the top electric motor racing series.
Formula 1 is in the process of drawing up new engine regulations for the 2021 season onwards, and a switch to an electric chassis is not a realistic prospect at present.
However, Brawn (pictured) believes this may change as more electric cars hit the roads.
He told F1 Fan Voice: “I think Formula 1 will evolve in the direction that has the right balance of sport and relevance and engagement with the fans. If in five years’ time or 10 years’ time or whenever there is a need, desire, wish, to have a different type of power unit in Formula 1, we’ll do it."
Braun added: “There’s nothing to stop us having electric Formula 1 cars in future. At the moment they don’t deliver the spectacle.”
The former Formula 1 team boss complimented the progress made by Formula E, which enters its fifth season later this year, while insisting it has a long way to go to compete with the more established championship, which dates back to 1950.
Braun said: “I think we have to respect what Formula E’s doing and what it’s achieving. [But] if you look at the magnitude of the two [series] they’re not really comparable in the number of fans we have, the appeal of Formula 1. Formula E is still very junior in that respect.
“With all due respect it’s a pretty junior category of road racing. it’s a great event in terms of all the stuff that’s going on around it but the race itself is pretty tame compared to a Formula 1 event. The cars are not particularly fast. They don’t have the personalities involved. It’s a smaller, junior formula. But they’re doing a fabulous job of the event, making it a street party.
"But Formula 1’s different. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. The speeds we do, the calibre of driver we have, the calibre of teams we have.”
A shift from free-to-air to pay-TV coverage in some leading markets and the dominance of the Mercedes team are regarded as having had a negative impact on the global audience for Formula 1 in recent years.
However, Chase Carey, the chairman and chief executive of the series, has claimed in recent interviews that changes to the presentation of the races have been well received in 2018.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes presently holds a 24-point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings.
Speaking this week as it was announced that Formula 1 revenues had fallen by 5 per cent to $585 million in the second half of 2018, Carey said: "The season continues to excite with unpredictable outcomes and a varied group of podium finishers."