Formula E
Formula E
R
Valencia ePrix II
25 Apr
Next event in
10 days
R
Monaco ePrix
08 May
Next event in
23 days
R
Marrakesh ePrix
22 May
Next event in
37 days
05 Jun
Next event in
51 days
R
Santiago ePrix II
06 Jun
Next event in
52 days

Wolff "didn't believe Formula E could make it"

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says he initially "didn't believe that Formula E could make it", but decided to consider the electric championship after seeing its approach lead to growth.

Wolff "didn't believe Formula E could make it"

After initially getting an option to enter ABB FIA FE in 2018/19 – a slot that eventually went to affiliated-operation HWA – Mercedes will enter the series for the upcoming 2019/20 season as a works squad.

The team was formally unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Wednesday, where ex-McLaren Formula 1 juniors Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries where confirmed as Mercedes' first FE drivers.

Read Also:

The 2019/20 season will be FE's sixth and will feature 11 powertrain manufacturers in addition to Mercedes, including major OEM operations from Porsche, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Nissan and DS.

When asked what he personally found appealing about FE, Wolff told Motorsport.com that "first of all, I didn't believe that Formula E could make it".

"When Alejandro [Agag, FE CEO] and Jean [Todt, FIA president] started the championship I didn't give it a lot of chance," he continued. But then against all odds, the championship is growing.

"And why it appeals to Mercedes is that it's an exciting start-up – it's all about electrification, electric cars, which are maybe in the early stages of technology yet, but a fully electric series has marketing appeal.

"Doing it in cities is something that is attractive – and the way Formula E is pitched overall is not for the hardcore motorsport fan, but more for wider audiences.

"There is more of a festival factor around the races. And all that deserves to look at it seriously. And this is what we are doing."

Mercedes will be the only manufacturer to operate teams in both F1 and FE, following Renault, which entered the first four seasons of the latter until it withdrew to concentrate on its grand prix programme in 2018.

FE has an approach of using regulations to control its competing teams in a bid encourage close competition – a problem F1 has struggled with in recent years.

Wolff says this shows FE has "learned the lesson of what is dysfunctional in other race series [that] have had a long history but have obviously grown around complicated governance".

"And we are a little bit [of a] victim of that in Formula 1, and we know that," he added. "On the other side – for a large organisation like Formula 1, we carry some responsibility for the heritage of Formula 1.

"We have two billion viewers every year and maybe then you can't be as spontaneous with the decision making as you can be with a start-up.

"You can't risk getting it wrong. And in Formula E, like with any other start-up, you can take risks, you can try stuff. You will earn lots of criticism – [but] the worse case is that it's going to polarise and create some headlines.

"But it's a totally different responsibility and totally different heritage to Formula 1."

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01

Photo by: Mercedes-Benz

shares
comments
Mercedes not expecting to be frontrunner in first FE season

Previous article

Mercedes not expecting to be frontrunner in first FE season

Next article

Formula E expands revenue to over €200m

Formula E expands revenue to over €200m
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Teams Mercedes
Author Alex Kalinauckas
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Prime

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Prime

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits.

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Prime

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons.

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Prime

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Prime

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet.

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Prime

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

Mercedes and Porsche compete to win and have done so across the board: in Formula 1, sportscars, the Dakar Rally and endurance road races - even working together to break land speed records. Next in the crosshairs is the Formula E teams' championship crown.

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021
What Formula E must do for McLaren to act on its attraction Prime

What Formula E must do for McLaren to act on its attraction

News that McLaren is formally considering a Formula E move is a much-needed boost for a series that took some punches at the end of 2020. But to allay any doubts that Zak Brown may have, FE must take action on its biggest potential stumbling block

Formula E
Jan 11, 2021
Why BMW and Audi have pulled the plug on Formula E Prime

Why BMW and Audi have pulled the plug on Formula E

BMW and Audi shocked the Formula E fraternity by announcing their departures at the end of the 2020-21 season. Overnight, the championship has been dealt something of a "wake-up call" - including questions about its relevance to manufacturers.

Formula E
Dec 3, 2020