Villeneuve: Nobody wants to see electric racing

While some believe Formula E will one day usurp Formula 1 as the pinnacle motorsport, Jacques Villeneuve is of the camp that does not buy into the hype and claims few in the paddock actually follow the electric series.

In the wake of the season-opening round in Saudi Arabia, Villeneuve told Automobile Magazine, “The truth is, in the F1 paddock, nobody even knows when the Formula E races are on. Nobody wants to see electric racing.”

The 1997 Formula 1 world champion turned pundit drove three races in Formula E during the 2015-16 season with Venturi Grand Prix but never finished in the top ten, 11th place his best result.

He recalled, “I did a couple of races in Formula E, and I was happy to do them because the technology was interesting. You have power, you step on the gas – well, I probably shouldn’t say gas – you step on the pedal, and you go somewhere.”

The series appears to be growing in stature, but it would be fair to say that majority of Formula 1 fans are on the fence.

Villeneuve, “I don’t understand why they are pushing it so much. I think it’s a niche thing. The die-hard fans are the only ones who really keep up with it.”

Formula E, a one-make series with branded cars, has become an attractive series for manufacturers with Mercedes ditching their longstanding DTM programme in favour of the electric series joining the likes of Jaguar, BMW, Nissan and Audi on the grid, with Porsche due next season.

The series is also becoming something of a former F1 driver’s second shot at the ‘big time’ with the likes of Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne transitioning between the two series’ joining another five former F1 drivers in the process.