Food Fight: Will Formula 1 Merge With Formula E?

By Winding Road Staff

January 30, 2019

Lots of people feel we're living in a far too politicized environment. So, we hesitate to add any fuel to that fire. But, as F1 fans, we are interested in the future of the sport. And there is some pretty clear-headed thinking that the future of F1 is electric. Please, remain calm.

The basic logic is straightforward:

  • F1 is funded by automotive OEMs to a large degree
  • Automotive OEMs want the cars to support street car sales
  • To support street car sales, F1 cars must lead and reflect street car technology
  • Street car technology is rapidly electrifying, with a significant BEV mix shift between 2020 and 2030
  • Therefore, F1 must become an EV series soon (early 2020s)

We know 10 people who want F1 to go back to naturally aspirated V10s for every person who wants them to use electric motors. Maybe that ratio is 100:1. But the business case for petrol-powered V10s (or any similar formula) isn't at all clear. So, is this the time to admit that racing is a separate sport and the connection between a Ferrari F1 car and your 488 is similar to the connection between Tiger Woods' TaylorMade Clubs and yours? That is, the connection is branding, pure and simple. If so, we could make the formula whatever leads to the best racing. 

We doubt that the OEMs can think that way. So, a better set of questions might revolve around how to make EV racing better (related thoughts here).

There are other challenges with the transition of F1 to an electric platform. CNN has a, surprisingly, well-done article on the subject.

Okay, we'll duck and cover now.