Wolff defends F1 against Formula E comparisons

I understand Toto Wolff’s comments about stopping the negativity surrounding Formula 1 these days and that as ambassadors, we should be seeing and speaking of the great spectacle that is currently F1. I get that. I love F1. I will defend it until it no longer warrants defense and Wolff’s comments are legitimate from his point of view as a leader in the sport:


“It’s a good sales campaign…” said Wolff of the recent spate of negative publicity.

“If I take my Mercedes hat off and I look at what the spectacle has to offer, I think it is a good spectacle.

“Is it good that one team wins pretty regularly? Maybe not but we have seen that in the past as well.

“We have a duty to Formula 1 to not talk it down. We are all Formula 1’s ambassadors.

“By constantly picking the negatives we have got ourselves into a spiral of negative controversy.

“I don’t think this is what is good for Formula 1.

“I have read a couple of articles in last couple of days which are really rubbish in comparing it with Formula E.

“I don’t want to even go there. We have a duty to Formula 1. It’s just my personal opinion.”


What I will say, however, is that this is not a simple snowball effect of negativity. Welcome to the mobocracy. One doesn’t have to go very far to see the oppressive demand for conformity either way in politics and even more so with pop culture and the judgment that is so pervasive these days. Formula 1 is not unique in experiencing the ugliness of the media machine and social media as a whole but it may be one of the last to try to come to grips with it all.

F1 has issues and they will be echoed, parroted and become cacophonous by the time they reach the average fans media timeline. I read the same articles as Wolff regarding Formula E and how Sir Richard Branson feels it will eclipse F1 in 5-year’s time.

Let’s be realistic here…Branson is heavily invested in green energy and green racing series. He has a dog in the hunt but Wolff is correct, Formula E may appeal due to the ease at which a race can be hosted, the low cost of the race sanctioning fees, the quiet sound in city centers and an outlandish social media strategy but it has no where near the TV viewers that F1 has.

Unless F1 completely implodes, I don’t see five years as realistic. That’s the point…will F1 implode? It would have to seriously do something epic to lose 500 million viewers. I like Formula E for what it is and I believe F1 blurred those lines with their hybrids. You want electric, Formula E should be the series. It is an FIA event. You want the visceral top-shelf of motorsport? F1 is you’re series.

F1 asked for the comparisons when it ventured into sustainable racing ideology and fair enough, they felt folks were really keen on that idea. They missed the mark, however, and it’s costing them. Wolff should not discount frustration and negativity as a “sales campaign” by other series, it’s a real frustration from real fans.


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I like Formula E very much because of the competition and because I think it will contribute to breakthroughs in battery technology. Incidentally, I think F1 will also contribute to breakthroughs. As a fan, I cannot visualize it will become a significant category until it at least meets or surpasses, say, F3 in lap times on tracks commonly used by Formula 1. Contrary to my initial expectations, I have no problem with the mid-race car changes. It is just a loooooong pitstop in the middle of the race and I think it will be possible to relax the time requirement… Read more »


Hi Gary, it is good to hear from a Formula E fan. We don’t get any coverage of it on TV here in NZ, so I haven’t seen any of the events, but am interested in the technology. I understand that in future seasons the teams get to develop their own battery systems ( and possibly other power train components? -I don’t know), that should amp up the competition and speed of the cars. Hopefully in the time frames you and Richard B are suggesting.
With the current cars being a common spec, is the series is a drivers championship?


Apologies for the late reply but I just discovered Disqus’ threading capability. It is a driver’s series because of the common platform. The problem is that passing is difficult because of the street circuits and the parity. To me, the solution might be less robust brakes to increase braking zone opportunities.


Thanks for the reply Gary. Another solution to enabling overtaking, could be for Formula E to pioneer aerodynamic solutions that allow close following, and slip streaming, without loss of cornering capability for the following car.
Combine the two, and F3 type racing speeds, and Formula E could really take off.


F1 doesn’t need to worry about Formula E eclipsing it. It needs to worry about the WEC. The WEC does hybrid technology better than F1 and it is quickly gaining popularity as more and more manufacturers join the series in a serious manner. And now the current crop of F1 drivers are starting to see the advantages of driving in the WEC as well as the fans seeing the WEC as a top tier in motorsport.

The Sarcastic SOB

LMP1 was always the “pinnacle” of motorsport. F1 is the pinnacle of whining, carping, and political backstabbing.


I mainly hear comments about people being tuning into Formula E because nothing better was on TV, it’s a silly ridiculous, and the social media is over the top compared to the action on track.

Paul KieferJr

Seriously, it’s like each part of the FIA is competing against the other for the viewer, and that will destroy them. They need to stop competing against each other and instead promote those things they do the best and bring it all together as a united front. After all, this is not just WEC, not just Formula 1, not just world rally, etc. Thiis the FIA, one united body, and it should act like it. Let the Formula E promote its green racing. Let’ the WEC promote the hybrid. Let the Formula 1 promote speed and power. In the end,… Read more »

The Sarcastic SOB

When the sounds of the commentators blathering on excitedly about how many kilowatt-hours (or whatever it is) that a car has left drowns out the sounds of the cars its just too stupid for words.