Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said that Formula E has the potential to become a serious motorsport player in the future. This comes after Mercedes' announcement that they are pulling out of DTM at the the end of the 2018 season to focus their efforts on coming into Formula E.
The move from Mercedes mirrors a number of different constructors who are either already in Formula E such as citroen and Renault, with BMW and Porsche to join in the coming years. It is becoming increasingly important for major car manufacturers to be interested in electric technology for their cars, with the ban of petrol and diesel in 2040 in France and the UK, and Formula E is a perfect way for them to test electric power.
Toto Wolff has maintained that Mercedes' decision to join the series was an opportunity that they could not ignore. He said on the matter: "Electrification is happening as we speak, the technology [in Formula E] is very immature and the racing series is very immature. But they have a very charismatic energised entrepreneur who runs the series, who has against all odds been able to attract all major German premium car manufacturers into the series.
"I would not be surprised if in three, four, five years Formula E is something totally different, and all of us might be sitting in a room like this and talking about the Formula E race. I think it's important to have that mindset that things are changing and probably we can't anticipate in which way things are changing. I also like the ten-cylinder [petrol] engine, but I'm not sure that in five years anybody else is going to like it apart from us."
He went on to say how the series could mirror the Tesla brands' growth in recent years saying: "Five years ago a Tesla was a Lotus Elise with a big battery in the boot. Today it is a serious automotive player. So Formula E for us is an exciting start-up.
"It has event character, it's urban. It attracts totally different audiences to what traditional motorsports do, and in our strategy, we cover the global platform that is Formula One and we cover the start-up that Formula E is today, in order to learn about it, how it develops and maybe that Lotus Elise is going to become a serious motorsport player in five years."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing