Will Formula 1 and Formula E Merge in the Future?

January 17, 2023

A lot has changed in Formula 1 over the last few years. Most notably, work has been done to endear the sport to both new fans and existing ones. One big way to achieve this has been to increase the number of betting markets available in the lead-up to and during Grand Prix events by harnessing more of the data generated on track. This helps bookmakers like Virgin Bet promote their platforms, especially when used in conjunction with the myriad of promotions and offers that can be used on F1 betting markets.

Other initiatives to boost the popularity of F1 include the creation of the Netflix show Drive to Survive, which is designed to show the human side of the sport, the addition of new races in the United States, and innovations like the Sprint Races that mix up the format of the sport on certain weekends.

The Push to Net Zero

Another significant move towards growing the interest in and extending the reach of Formula 1 has been to push towards more sustainability. In a sport where big-engined cars drive around different tracks every other weekend, it is understandably difficult to find a balance between keeping the essence of what makes F1 special and the need to protect the environment.

However, the FIA, Formula 1 bosses and teams do seem to be moving in the right direction. The introduction of the hybrid engines in 2014 was a big step down this road and the new 2026 engine regulations will take it a whole step further. Other moves by the sport to boost sustainability have included:

  • Rule changes to permit materials like hemp instead of carbon fibre
  • The switch to E10 fuels
  • The shortening of practice sessions
  • Donating unused food from race weekends to local foodbanks

While hybrid engines are an important part of the automotive industry right now, we can expect there to be an eventual switch to fully electric vehicles and those that use alternative fuels like hydrogen. At that point, the “road relevance” of F1, which helps to attract car manufacturers to the sport, could begin to dwindle. If that happens, Formula 1 could cease to be the pinnacle of motorsport as it is so often called.

We know that the people at the top of the sport are aware of the direction they need to take. In 2019, Ross Brawn explicitly said that it could become electric within 10 or so years.

Formula E – The All-Electric Competitor

While Formula E remains a minnow in comparison to the size and reach of Formula 1, it enjoys a monopoly when it comes to international single-seater EV racing. The sport actually has an exclusivity agreement with the FIA, which means it can be the only championship of its kind until at least 2039.

For Formula 1 to remain road relevant, the sport’s bosses would have to strike up some sort of agreement with Formula E.

How that agreement would look remains to be seen, but it could take several different forms. The two most obvious would be for F1 to pay a royalty fee to the owners of Formula E for the rights to use electric motors in their cars, or for the two to merge completely.

This latter agreement would be an interesting one as, at present, the two sports are fundamentally very different. F1 races are held on purpose-built circuits with a full weekend of action, while Formula E compresses its schedule into a single day to limit disruption due to its city-centre street race format.

At the moment, it’s hard to see how the differences between the two branches of racing could be completely reconciled. Merging would require one or both sports to lose their core essence. Some people may like hybrid outcome, but it’s likely to upset hardcore petrolheads.

Having said that, it’s also difficult to calculate any scenarios where the two don’t merge. A deal that involves paying royalties may simply be too expensive to try.

So we may get to see a Super Championship in the future that involves both of these sports together. You’ll just have to watch this space..