FIA President Jean Todt in an exclusive interview with ABMS about Formula E and its attack on Formula 1. Contrary to Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA President doesn’t believe that Formula E could be a threat to Formula 1, but according to him Formula E sends a strong message and German manufacturer play a big part in this.
Mr. Todt, Formula E is hosted in Paris for the fourth time. How proud are you of this?
Jean Todt: Very proud. Five years ago Formula E was conceived during a dinner with Alejandro Agag. Within FIA, it is, in effect, our youngest baby, but already after five years, it has already achieved a lot. My dream has always been to get Formula 1 to Paris. We have accomplished that with Formula E.
However, I focus more on what can be improved rather than on what is going well and what we have already achieved. We are currently working on the next generation Formula E cars. We want to continue making progress.
What can be improved?
We need to focus on consistency. That we are in a position to consistently bring the races to the best cities in the world. That we are able to help the automotive industry develop new technologies. That we generate a strong message regarding road safety. That we can reach young people between the ages of 14 and 29.
With motorsport we need to – not just for Formula E, but that counts for all motorsport – convey strong messages. Formula E is clearly a good platform for this. It is fascinating to see, that in four years we have doubled the range of our electric race-cars. That can be transferred to the street. And that’s what we want to do.
BMW and Audi are there, soon also Mercedes and Porsche. How important is that for you?
Having all four German premium manufacturers factory in one racing series has never existed before. This is an important sign and it gives us stability. You can see how these car manufacturers support our way. Also from a sports point of view, we can say that Formula E has a strong position. We now have seven different winners in seven races.
Sounds even better than Formula 1 …
I don’t want to make this comparison. Formula 1 is not at its infant stage any longer. Formula 1 is a 70-year-old adult person. We have to translate and implement what we have learned from Formula 1 to other categories such as Formula E. We want to prevent a one team dominance, as in Formula 1. We want to reduce cost because we feel that Formula 1 is too expensive. But Formula One is and will remain the premier class in motorsport.
But Ecclestone has said that Formula 1 should be worried of Formula E…
I don’t want comment on such provocations. But of course, we have to stay focused and concentrate on how we can improve racing in Formula 1. For me as the FIA President, every series is important. I do not have any favorites. They are all different, and I like them all.
However, Formula E, shows the future of mobility, Formula 1 its current state.
Formula 1 also utilizes state-of-the-art engine technologies. We have hybrid cars whose engines are already fascinating. They have about 50 percent thermal efficiency. We should talk about that much more.
Synthetic fuel is also being discussed
We always work on what might come next. We need a vision for Formula 1 as well.
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.