Lack of true competition at the front of the grid concerns teams
“We have to reinvent this competition,” Stoll told Autoweek during last month’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. “It has to be reinvented. It’s clear that when you see that a car can start first and end the race first without any — or not enough – conflict, this might be boring. We have to work on this in order to give more cars participating in the race a chance to go on the podium.”
Stoll’s Renault F1 team is currently fourth in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship standings. The team, however, is still seeking its first podium finish of the season. Drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. have each managed a season-best fifth-place finish (Sainz in Baku, Hulkenberg at Hockenheim), but that’s a close to P1 as they’ve gotten.
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“Redistribution rights, cost cap, race regulation, governance, everything has to discussed and it’s currently being discussed with all of the different stakeholders,” Stoll said.
One thing that Stoll says is not on the table is any kind of merger with Formula E. No, F1 is not going full electric anytime soon.
“When you read the press, people are mentioning that maybe the two competitions will merge one day or another — Formula E and Formula 1 — because everything will be electrified,” Stoll said. “I’m not sure of that. For the time being, definitely we are in two worlds which are completely different. When you look at Formula E, despite the fact that it’s growing, which is true, it’s still 1 to 10 or 1 to 20 in terms of attendance compared to Formula 1 It’s a big, big, big difference.”
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“As far as Renault is concerned, we were very supportive to this competition for two main reasons,” Stoll said. “The first one is just to explain to the general public that an EV can be very exciting and not boring like a golf cart. When we’re talking about the first (EVs), everyone was talking about golf carts.
“It’s a true car — this electric Formula E car racing downtown in the streets, just giving the feeling to the general public that it can be exciting.”
But Stoll doesn’t see all-electrics replacing the current Formula 1 cars anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that Formula E doesn’t have a few things going for it. In particular, Stoll says the series know how to reach out to its fans, specifically with its in-race Fan Boost voting that allowed fans a chance to get involved and give their favorite driver an in-race power boost.
“At that time, when (Formula E) was launched, (Formula E founer) Alexander Agag had also another way to communicate to the general public with Fan Bost,” Stoll said. “It was an Interaction between the public and competition. In Formula 1, you know the result before the race starts.
“Nevertheless, Formula 1 with its noise, with its history, with all the drivers, it’s something that will last.”