Nick Heidfeld has defended the new Formula E racing series after four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel said he wasn’t a fan of it, labelled it “cheesy” and said he wouldn’t be watching.
The racing series is based on all-electric cars which compete over ten city-based races around the world and recently held its inaugural race in Beijing this month.
Heidfeld, who almost clinched victory before a terrifying crash at the final corner of the final lap, says Formula E aims to be different so that it doesn’t have to compete with F1 and believes there are plenty of people who will find it interesting.
“I like Sebastian and I don’t know in what context he said that,” said Heidfeld. “But I think that Formula E cannot currently compete against F11 and actually it does not want to. The concept is quite different.
“But the series is justified when you consider the development of electric mobility and the interest the manufacturers have in it. How successful it is, we will have to see.
“I think even F1 is currently struggling with some negative headlines, but it is the peak of motor sport and that will long remain the case.
“But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be something else as well,” added the German.
One of the biggest complaints is that the racing looks relatively slow when compared to F1 and Heidfeld, himself former F1 driver, agrees.
“Compared with F1, the performance is modest,” he admitted. “We have almost 300 horse-power in qualifying and the cars are 900 kilos. And the Michelin tyres we are using are not slicks, which is slower but we can use them in the wet and the dry.
“Ultimately they are normal single seater cars, which are always difficult to drive on the limit.
“But another reason I chose to race is because of the opponents — in terms of the quality of the drivers, we don’t need to hide from F1.”