Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says that the sport is not under threat from the rising popularity of the all-electric Formula E championship, which embarked on its sixth season last month in Diriyah.
“Formula E is a very different vehicle today [to F1],” he told CNN this week. “[It’s] largely a social cause and, you know, it’s a street party.”
Compared to Formula E, Carey insisted that F1 operated on a completely different level.
“I think we compete with everything out there,” he said. “It’s important that we make our sport everything that makes it special. It’s a unique sport that combines technology and sport, it’s a sport that shocks your senses.
“It’s a sport that has incredible drivers, taking incredible risks, with incredible talent and it’s a sport that really is a spectacle.
“It’s not just a two-hour event,” he continued. “We’re here for three days, we’ve got a variety of things going on.
“There’s a depth and richness to it that really makes it unique and I think it’s important for us to highlight what makes us unique against everything else out there.”
However Carey admits that F1 needs to become more environmentally responsible, both in its race technology and how the the series itself is run.
F1 has been criticised for its estimated current annual output of 255,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In response, F1 management has unveiled a ten-year plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Some of that criticism has come from within the sport, with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton among those to express concern about the global impact of F1 and also about diversity within the sport.
While Hamilton’s comments have been condemned as being hypocritical given his jet-setting lifestyle, Carey is in full agreement with the Briton.
“I certainly agree,” says Chase. “We’ve said it’s one of our core objectives. Over the next few years, we’ve identified the environmental issues as one we’re going to tackle.”
“Lewis has really been in many cases, you know, an incredible leader in those initiatives,” he continued. “Obviously there are many causes he has been public about that he is interested in pursuing.”
And Carey said that it was the big personalities and superstars within the sport that were a big part in what distinguished F1 from the rest of the sporting landscape.
“How important are the drivers? They’re critical. Sports are based on heroes and our biggest heroes are the drivers
“[Lewis] is a six-time world champion, so you know, the importance of him speaks for itself. He’s not just one of the great drivers today. He’s one of the great drivers of all time.”