Ex-Formula One star Nick Heidfeld believes Formula E has the potential to overtake Formula One as the world’s top motorsport category, he told ESPN.
The Formula One veteran, whose career included stints at Sauber, Jordan, Williams and BMW Sauber, is set to drive for Leonardo DiCaprio’s team Venturi Grand Prix in Formula E’s inaugural season.
Speaking to ESPNF1 at Formula E’s launch event in London, he said: “Everybody you speak to, even sponsors, seem to be very interested in that because it’s a lot more environmentally friendly. This is also why I like it, because it can turn into something big.
“I cannot look into the future but of course with the technology behind it, if you tried to look into the future, Formula E looks like the place to be and the place to go.”
Heidfeld has driven in what was Formula One’s fastest period – many lap records set in the 2004-2005 seasons still stand, unconquerable to later generations of Formula One cars. This era was arguably also one of Formula One’s thirstiest, with rules mandating screaming large displacement V10 engines.
“When I started karting and motor racing when I was young, the environmental effect of racing as a child was not on my mind and I think for the general public it was the same as well”, he reflected.
“Now that has changed. Obviously I like both! I want to be friendly to the environment and race and here I can combine the two and I think that is the future.”
Alain Prost, Formula One legend and creator of rival team e.dams, was more cautious about drawing comparisons between the two categories, saying: “Formula One is Formula One, this is Formula E, so we are going to develop it. Is it going to be quick, or fast, in terms of success? We don’t know.”
Image credit: Ann McKelvie – Nick Heidfeld (Flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0