As above, I don’t really think it’s about pushing development somuch as showcasing a new way of thinking in motorsport. The fact is, as much as the likes of Bernie E can do to promote the sport around the globe, attitudes are changing fundamentally towards cars. I don’t just mean in terms of the economic impact, but how they’re regarded less and less as expressions of power and performance, and more as funky lifestyle accessories. I believe a lot of kids these days think that a Nissan Leaf is cooler than a Porsche 911. Because it’s cool and new looking, and its dashboard is full of little screens and coloured illumination. This is the age of the Apple generation, who value style and design over ultimate performance.
Motorsport really needs to show that it is still relevant in an age of climate change and peak oil. Look at the criticism levelled towards the Austin GP by the residents there – it’s not the right image for our city, it’s bad for the environment, it’s old fashioned. This last point is the crucial one; F1 cars are dinosaurs. Old fashioned ugly blocks of composite and alloy, burning their way through ridiculous amounts of resource and making a really obnoxious amount of noise. Powering their way around these huge custom built facilities which serve absolutely no other purpose. That’s not my opinion, but that is the opinion of the average lay person, and motorsport really needs to take note of that.
If it doesn’t, then top flight series’ like F1 may not exist in another 15-20 years’ time. So while we can look at Formula E and scoff that it’s not at the absolute bleeding edge of technological advancement, it’s still light years ahead of the supposed premiere racing series. Don’t turn your nose up at this, because right now, Formula E cars could be the future, while F1 cars are definitely a thing of the past. Bernie needs to think about that every time he moans about V6 engines not sounding as good as V8s, because neither V8 nor V6 sounds good to the future generation of motorsports fan.