Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he feels conflicted over his feelings about the ABB FIA Formula E all-electric championship.
He admitted this week that his passion for addressing climate change and protecting the environment was at odds with his instincts as a racing driver where speed is paramount.
“It’s a difficult one because I’m conflicted,” he told reporters in Interlagos at the weekend.
“The gasses that we emit with our cars are not particularly helpful for the climate and for the world, so on one side that’s a concern for me.
“But on the other side, as a racing fan, I’m a petrol head and I will always be a petrol head. There will never be a time when I’m an electric head.
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“I hope, at least, in my period of time, it’s always going to be a fuelled car with at least some sort of V-shaped engine, with some sort of sound.
“I think it’s great what Formula E are doing and it’s a great start,” he continued. “It’s great to see all the top brands – Audi, BMW, Mercedes – are all getting heavily invested because, particularly on the roads.
“You see the traffic every single day, there are thousands and thousands of cars on the road. There’s the same in every country you go to so the sooner we can get rid of the majority of those cars and then turn them into hybrids.
“I think that would be a massive difference, but there are a lot of other things we can do around the world with businesses to help with those emissions,” he pointed out.
“But I don’t think you are ever going to compare Formula 1 and Formula E.
“Maybe in five, ten years maybe, but the technology that we have, it’s quite far advanced compared to what they would be having.
“They’re slower than Formula Ford at the moment so they’ve got a long way to catch the speed of a Formula 1 car. I don’t know if that’s their target.”
But Hamilton – whose former Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg is now a stakeholder in Formula E – admitted that the electric champion was getting better every season.
“I think it’s really impressive. I’ve been watching their cars on social media and they look pretty cool, so I wish them all the best and looking forward to seeing it progress.”
Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne are all set to join the ranks of Formula E for its fifth season which begins in December. So far, Fernando Alonso has ruled out following them into the all-electric ranks when he retires from F1 at the end of 2018.
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