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Formula 1 remains motorsport's pinnacle - Steiner

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Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says that Formula 1 remains the pinnacle of motorsport, despite a recent surge in support for Formula E.

The all-electric championship has had a big boost in recent weeks, with Mercedes opting to drop out of DTM to join Formula E in 2019.

Porsche has also confirmed a switch to FE from the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship. And manufacturers including Renault and Jaguar are already part of the series.

But Steiner says that Formula 1 remains the place to be for anyone interested in the top flight of global motorsport.

"I still see F1 in a very good place," he told Motorsport.com. "It is the pinnacle of motorsport.

"FE is trending at the moment," he admitted. "Everyone wants to be part of this electric movement, which is fully understandable.

"But when there are seven or eight manufacturers involved, not all can win," he cautioned.

"There will also immediately be a war over who can do more, who wants authority and all those sort of things.

"I see it as an additional series, but I don't see it as a threat," Steiner asserted. "If it was a threat, we would just put electric motors in [F1 cars]

"Whatever happens, it will be Formula 1," he insisted. He dismissed suggestions that Formula E was now a better fit for manufacturers who are eyeing the future of road cars.

"I can understand the interest because it is so trendy now, you need to be part of it, it is a wave."

Another part of the appeal of Formula E is its low cost compared with the expense of being competitive in Formula 1.

"It is inexpensive, relatively inexpensive, compared to F1, so it is a pretty easy decision," Steiner agreed. "Mercedes will spend a lot less in FE than they do in DTM. And the same goes for Porsche going out of WEC.

"[But] at the moment they are not attracting a lot of spectators, so I don't know how they can create revenue.

"It is difficult enough for Formula 1 to create revenue," he pointed out. "And this is a sport that has been here a long time. All the best drivers are here."

New Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey also downplayed the rise of Formula E this week.

"The events of this week didn’t change my view on Formula E one iota," he said. "For the mainstream auto industry, there’s clearly a direction towards electrical engines.

"I’m not sure those things connect yet to make it a sport," he argued. "There’s an appeal to identifying with the environmental issue but I think they’re very different propositions."

 
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