Despite Formula E team boss Sylvain Filippi’s claims, the fourth generation of Formula E cars, set to be introduced in 2027, will not surpass Formula 1, but the rise of electric cars could see Formula E become a serious competitor in the future, especially as car manufacturers shift towards electric vehicles.
‣ The fourth generation of Formula E cars, to be introduced in 2027, will not surpass Formula 1, but there is a chance that electric cars will dominate motorsport in the future.
‣ Formula E cars do not reach the speeds that Formula 1 cars do due to several reasons including the use of Hankook tyres and the fact that they mostly run on street circuits.
‣ The batteries used in Formula E cars are a significant pain point as technology is not yet at the point where these cars can be driven at full speed for an extended period.
‣ There is a possibility that Formula 1 could become electric in the future as new consumer cars in the European Union must be emission-free by 2035 and many car manufacturers are already making the switch.
Sylvain Filippi, a Formula E team boss, might’ve missed the mark a bit. He’s French, and he’s got this idea that the fourth generation of Formula E cars, set to roll out in 2027, will outdo Formula 1. Not quite, Sylvain. But hey, F1 should watch its back. Electric cars might just take over motorsport someday.
People poke fun at Formula E sometimes. They’re not exactly speed demons. And yeah, the electric class could use some tweaking. It’s been around for ten seasons now. But let’s give credit where it’s due. The progress over the past decade? Mind-blowing. Remember the first Formula E cars? Now look at the current generation. It’s like night and day. Back in the day, they had to swap cars mid-race because the battery couldn’t last more than 45 minutes. Now? They can finish a race without a pit stop.
Why isn’t Formula E as fast as Formula 1, you ask? Well, Formula E cars can hit 320 kilometres per hour, but they’re no match for F1 speeds. A few reasons for that. First, they don’t use slicks. They roll on Hankook tyres, similar to what you’d find on your everyday car. It’s an eco-friendly choice. Plus, Formula E races are usually on street circuits, which aren’t as fast as regular tracks.
Energy management is crucial in a 45-minute race. The batteries are still a bit of a headache. We’re not quite there yet with the tech to have FE cars going full throttle for an hour and a half to two hours. But we’re getting there. Soon, probably. And when we do, Formula E could give Formula 1 a run for its money.
Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, dropped a hint last year. He doesn’t think the sport will ever go all-electric. F1 will always stick with internal combustion engines. Music to the ears of purists. But Stefano, can you really promise that? The idea of Formula 1 going electric isn’t far-fetched. By 2035, new cars in the EU have to be emission-free. Cleaner by 2030. So, most cars worldwide will be electric. Many car manufacturers are already making the switch.
Manufacturers have always been drawn to F1. It’s a great marketing platform for car brands. Plus, it’s a testing ground for consumer transport. But here’s the catch. In five or ten years, a manufacturer like Mercedes will only have electric cars. So why pour hundreds of millions into an internal combustion engine for F1? The tech developed for that won’t be useful for street cars.
Filippi does have a point, though. Manufacturers might want their motorsport activities to mirror what they’re doing for consumers. And right now, Formula E is the obvious choice. Formula 1 is probably aware of this and thinking about it. So, could we see Verstappen in an electric Red Bull? Or Leclerc in an electric Ferrari? Maybe.