Christian Danner says Formula E will never ‘mutate’ into Formula 1

Jon Wilde
Nyck de Vries in a Mercedes Formula E car. Seoul August 2022.

Nyck de Vries at the wheel of a Mercedes Formula E car. Seoul August 2022.

Formula 1 has nothing to fear from Formula E over its status as the “pinnacle of motorsport”.

That is the opinion of former F1 racer Christian Danner, a commentator on both series for German broadcasters RTL and ProSieben.

The move towards electric road cars has given rise to discussion about just how relevant Formula 1 will be to the major automotive manufacturers as time goes on.

Renault, Audi, Jaguar, Nissan, Mercedes and Porsche have all had involvement in Formula E teams, while Maserati will enter the series for the 2022-23 campaign.

But Danner rails against any suggestion from the likes of politicians that all-electric racing, rather than the turbo hybrid power units currently used in Formula 1, will take over at the elite level of motorsport in the foreseeable future.

“Basically, I believe Formula E has a very healthy future in the urban sector and because e-mobility is becoming sexy through racing series in a way no other motorsport sector can,” said Danner, quoted by Speedweek.

“But Formula E will always remain Formula E and not mutate into Formula 1, never overtake it or even replace it.

“Formula 1 is the evolved pinnacle of motorsport, simply because of its history. Formula E is a championship that is still emerging and will grow in importance.

“As in other sports, not only one discipline has to exist and have a promising future. It can also be several and therefore Formula E will continue to develop and go into the mainstream, but Formula 1 will remain number one.”

Nyck de Vries, Mercedes, in Formula E action. Germany, May 2022.
Nyck de Vries in action for Mercedes in the Formula E World Championship. Germany, May 2022.

Danner is also uncomfortable with the prospect of the complete electrification of everyday road vehicles, even though certain governments are imposing bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the coming years – for example, from 2030 in the UK.

“This is inane madness, a misjudgement by people who have no idea of the physical and economic realities, who have lost their way into wishful thinking that is complete nonsense,” said the 64-year-old, who finished fourth in the 1989 United States Grand Prix in Phoenix.

“Battery-electric vehicles are good in principle, but with battery technology as it is now and an electricity mix as it is now and the raw materials available, this path is absolutely unsuitable for a turnaround. Not to speak of infrastructures and charging.

“The automobile has a future, but only if we are not manoeuvred into a regulatory death cycle that means you are only allowed to drive from there to there and with this means of transport.

“I think it’s an absolute fundamental right that I can decide how I get where. That’s called individual transport.

“Whether I walk, take a helicopter, go by train or rowing boat, that’s my own business!”