Helmut Marko took a stand against Formula E and frankly expressed his views on the young electric series, which has attracted numerous constructors over the last few years. The Austrian manager suggests that the participation of brands as Renault, Andretti, HWA AG is just a fine expedient, related to the diesel scandal, and a precarious newborn attraction, possibly bound to fail.
"As good as we are in marketing, Formula E is for us only a marketing excuse from the automotive industry to distract from the diesel scandal," he told motorsport.com
"The bottom line is that diesel is by far the most efficient engine. In the beginning, the costs were eight million. Now it's well over 20. If the really big ones like Porsche and Mercedes come, it will go up again."
Marko regarded Red Bull as ‘racing purists’, stating that the Anglo-Austrian manufacturer has no interest in entering Formula E, which appears to be more marketing-oriented than a racing series normally is.
"The Formula E cars are like a Formula 3 car with a 400kg battery”. -he added- “It is not about being the fastest driver as it involves a lot more energy management than in Formula 1 or in any other racing series.”
"They are so slow. It only looks attractive on these tight and twisty city circuits. The huge advantage is that the Formula E is a super marketing gag, in the middle of the cities.”
Formula E comes along with peculiar circuits, which fit perfectly to the nature of the cars and the cities to host a considerable amount of spectators. The series is indeed aimed at enticing the people into an all-round event, which features racing but is actually not centered on it solely. "Ask your girlfriend if she wants to go to Spa or rather to New York! That's the basic concept of Formula E, to go to the people.”
"But there is hardly any public image generated through TV. Only one can win. And when the budgets then go towards 40, 50 million, at least one [manufacturer] will only be fifth or sixth."
In fact, although Formula 1 is going through tough times due to utterly irksome budget struggles, Formula E has not faced anything alike yet, and its image is not as strong. Therefore, Marko implies that the sport will soon lose its appeal and the excitement around it will decrease. “I believe that the euphoria will be gone quickly" he remarked.