Formula E? It’s not the future, says Vettel

2013 F1 season

Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E, 2013Sebastian Vettel says he’s not convinced about the merits of the FIA’s all-electric racing series Formula E.

“I don’t like it at all,” said Vettel when asked about the championship today.

“I think it’s not the future, I think the people come here to feel Formula One and there’s not much to feel when a car goes by and you don’t even hear anything else but the wind.

“Maybe I’m very old fashioned, but I think Formula One needs to scream, needs to be loud, there needs to be the vibration.

“That’s what I remember from the first time I went to see Formula One in 1992 for free practice at Hockenheim, even though it was wet and the cars didn’t go out, but once they did their installation laps it was a great feeling just to be there and hear them coming through the forest and feel it through the ground. That’s why I’m not a big fan at all.”

The Mercedes drivers gave different views. Nico Rosberg said it was an “interesting” concept.

“I know there’s a lot of interest and it’s planned to be in the cities so it’s bringing the race to the people, not the people to the race,” he added, “and of course it’s a bit of the future, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. We need to wait and see.”

Lewis Hamilton said: “I agree with both of them.”

The first Formula E race will be held next September in Beijing, China, followed by further race in nine different cities.

Formula E car images

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106 comments on Formula E? It’s not the future, says Vettel

  1. tmax (@tmax) said on 26th October 2013, 16:47

    If “Lack of Noise” is the only deterrent that turns away fans from Formula E then it is an easier problem to solve. FIA can mandate that the cars running on the track should generate a certain Minimum decibels of sounds during racing. Of course they can very well switch off during tests :)

    I guess Bang & Olufsen or DynAudio will be happy to solve this problem for Formula E with their indigenous speakers.

  2. If this doesn’t go the way of A1GP or Superleague Formula, I’ll be amazed.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 26th October 2013, 18:19

      A1GP or Superleague Formula were not ‘sponsored’ by the FIA. I expect Formula E to last long, but it could have radical changes at some point.

  3. Diego (@ironcito) said on 26th October 2013, 17:14

    The noise factor is purely psychological, it’s what we’re used to. If we had grown with quiet cars, we would probably prefer that. Future generations may well say “What? Cars in the past were awfully loud? How annoying that must have been!”.

    I think the time will come when an electric car kicks a gasoline car’s butt. Higher reliability, lighter, smaller and thus more aerodynamic, a small motor on each wheel for unparalleled balance and control, a lower center of gravity, safer because of the lack of flammable fuel… Electric is the future.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 26th October 2013, 17:39

      @ironcito
      I think the love of the noise is a lot more primal then that.
      I think we are simply hardwired in the top of our heads to fear something loud.
      A lions roar for instance.
      So the association we make in our heads that something loud is something powerful is simply something we have had since even before we became humans.
      The gorilla with the loudest roar is also pretty damn terrifying if you are a small squeaky teenager monkey.

      • Diego (@ironcito) said on 27th October 2013, 0:26

        @mads haha, maybe. But relating power to size is arguably more primal than sound, yet nobody likes to watch 18-wheelers racing, even though they would probably create a minor earthquake as they pass.

        I guess it’s down to an opinion, but I don’t think that the lack of sound will prevent electric vehicle racing from becoming popular. People will eventually get used to that, and they will appreciate other things, such as being able to hear more subtle noises like tires screeching.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 26th October 2013, 18:21

      Valid point @ironcito, if an electric car is faster, Formula E would be the pinnacle of motorsport, not F1 :)

    • David not Coulthard (@) said on 27th October 2013, 7:18

      I think the time will come when an electric car kicks a gasoline car’s butt. Higher reliability, lighter, smaller and thus more aerodynamic, a small motor on each wheel for unparalleled balance and control, a lower center of gravity, safer because of the lack of flammable fuel… Electric is the future.

      I think electric cars only need a gearbox to do so. So close, yet so far.

  4. Andrew Simmons said on 26th October 2013, 17:30

    Its already more interesting than Formula 1, and more road relevant.

    Reliable electrical engine units? CHECK
    Long distance capability IE millage? CHECK
    18inch alloy wheels? CHECK
    Tyres which work in BOTH wet AND dry? CHECK

    Already, its more interesting than Formula 1. Tyres which last a race but can be raced in wet AND dry? Thats revolutionary.

  5. svarun (@svarun) said on 26th October 2013, 19:03

    Whatever be the future of the cars ,i just hope they dont have tyres with the Pirelli logo.
    :p

  6. MudShark (@mudshark) said on 26th October 2013, 19:08

    It’s not just the speed also. Look at F1s decades long attempt to slow the cars down. They could go much faster than 200mph if the rules allowed it. 140mph is no slouch for Formula E and I’m sure this will get faster over time.

  7. Try not to put words in people’s mouth next time around Seb.
    The roaring sound of a V10 is sublime I admit, but to dismiss Formula E just because it’s quiet is rather insulting.

    I hate e-books. Always have been and always will be but 10 years ago I was smart enough to admit that it is indeed the future and that paperbacks are quite finished.

    Formula E still needs quite a bit of work and I still think 2014 is a bit premature for it to start but I actually believe that it is indeed the future.

  8. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 26th October 2013, 20:26

    I like how un-PR Vettel is when answering this question!

  9. Jason (@saint-jay) said on 26th October 2013, 21:34

    I have to agree with Vettel.

    Electric cars are just politically correct cash-grabs in terms of racing. Besides, before Electricity powers all of F1, I would think they’d try bio-fuels like diesel first. Who knows, maybe some new technology like the Hydrogen ICE’s will emerge first.

    It’s not like Electricity is the only alternative to oil. It certainly isn’t the greatest, maybe the worst choice they could make considering other options available, even today.

  10. P Smith said on 26th October 2013, 22:02

    Like it or not, oil is over. Electric cars are the way of the future, as they are proving in motorcycle racing. The TTZero bikes at the Isle of Man crossed the 100mph barrier within five years of existence. And the electric cars racing up Pikes Peak showed that the power and speed are there.

    Electric cars aren’t necessarily limited by batteries. External power (a la Nikola Tesla) through the track would mean no need for batteries, and no fuel reduces the risk of fire.

    Electric cars may not be as fast as internal combustion cars (just as electric bikes aren’t) but it’s still real racing.

    • One must remember also that the reason they are slower is because their “fuel source” – batteries – is woefully inefficient in terms of MJ/kg when compared to hydrocarbons. The engines themselves in the electric motors are actually much better than internal combustion engines!

  11. Rui (@ruicaridade) said on 26th October 2013, 23:22

    “That’s what I remember from the first time I went to see Formula One in 1992 for free practice at Hockenheim, even though it was wet and the cars didn’t go out, but once they did their installation laps it was a great feeling just to be there and hear them coming through the forest and feel it through the ground. That’s why I’m not a big fan at all.”

    Fast forward to 2014 – no V10 /V12 or even V8. Steering wheel has been replaced by steering tablet (any resemblance to a wheel is pure coincidence). No more forest there.

    Fast forward to 2034 – Full electric engines with “re fuel” like the game Wipeout (just imagining something cool).

  12. mfreire said on 27th October 2013, 0:42

    Unfortunately, alternative energies (possibly electricity) will most likely be the future of motor racing; unless man comes up with a way to produce petroleum from alternate resources.

    Formula E, however, is a racing series that will last 2 to 3 years, no longer. It is an interesting idea rife with spectacularly bad ideas- one being the spectator interaction with the actual racing. Formula E is essentially run by people who don’t understand what motor racing is all about. Whoever came up with this unbelievably stupid and potentially catastrophic idea will meet his or her deserved demise: a financially troubled future and lawsuits from all directions. Formula E will either negatively provoke huge laughs or huge sobs, or both. I know what I will be doing.

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