CEO Jeff Dodds on Formula E's present, future and his predictions for F1 in 2024

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CEO Jeff Dodds on Formula E's present, future and his predictions for F1 in 2024

Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds sat down with TNT Sports' Jermaine Jenas with three rounds of Season 10 completed to discuss 2023/24 so far, Formula E's future, GEN3 EVO and GEN4, the levels of competition in motor racing's top electric race series and his predictions for Formula 1's 2024 campaign.

Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds

Where do you feel Formula E is at a quarter of the way into Season 10?

There’s two starts to the year – off-track and on-it. We’ve had the season-opener in Mexico City and two races in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia and we’ve seen pretty much what you’d expect from Formula E – three races and three different winners representing three different teams. It’s very, very unpredictable as ever in terms of who’s going to come out on top.

Off-track, we’ve got some really good momentum. Our fanbase continues to grow, by another 30-40 million worldwide over the off-season and we’ve retained our status as the number one sport for ESG – environmental, social and governance, which is really important for the team and we feel we’re in a good place.

WATCH: Find out how to watch every Formula E race where you are

Hard work from the team has brought in another 40 broadcasters around the world, so from a viewership point of view, we’re also ahead of where we thought we would be. When we ended in London last season, it was four teams and four drivers in contention at the last – a proper grandstand finish.

When you head into the new season, you’re hoping for full stadia with every seat sold to go alongside that incredibly competitive racing – you also hope for clean, safe racing without any big accidents. We’ve come out of the blocks strong on all counts so far. We’re hoping to keep up that momentum in Sao Paulo, and Round 4 of Season 10 on 16 March.

What can fresh fans expect from Formula E?

Every time I walk past you [Jermaine Jenas, lead presenter for TNT Sports’ Formula E coverage in the UK] you’re properly into the details with your laptop open – which is amazing!

READ MORE: Season 10 so far...

If I were to highlight a couple of things to new fans tuning in, I’d first pick out the level of competition. Compared to other sports where there are normally very dominant players, teams or managers, it’s just not the case in Formula E. As we come into the season, there’s obviously strong candidates for the top but all of a sudden, after three rounds, it’s all up in the air again and everyone’s in the mix.

The second thing is, which is a difficult thing for most sports, is that we’re more than a sport – that’s not all we are. When we were founded just under a decade ago – we’re only nine seasons old, babies – we were founded to be an elite motor racing series and maybe one day, the biggest motorsport championship in the world.

Season 10, Round 3, Diriyah (FULL RACE) - gated

On the other side of things, we were founded as a platform to educate people around the world about things we need to do differently from a climate and environmental point of view. There aren’t many sports out there if any founded with those dual purposes. We’re a social and environmental platform as well as a leading race series.

Just how far has Formula E come in its nine full seasons so far?

I wasn’t around at the start but on a daily basis, I tip my hat to those that were. Electric cars were in their infancy back in 2014 with only hundreds of thousands of units sold worldwide, and to have that vision when EVs were not really a thing for them to be selling in the tens of millions a decade later is an incredible thing.

CALENDAR: Don't miss a lap of Season 10

Drivers are competitive animals and we’ve always had a strong grid full of people who have raced in Formula 1, those that have gone on to race there, FIA World Endurance Championship and sportscar drivers, Super Formula and Super GT champions – you name it, we’ve got some of the best drivers in the world. They are fixated on winning but they all genuinely love being part of something that’s bigger than just a sport.

If you talk to some of them, like Lucas di Grassi (ABT CUPRA) for example, who’s been here since day zero really, he’s fully invested. He’s a champion with us, and has his own business called Zero Summit – focusing on net zero. He’s gone from pure racing driver to someone prominent in the emerging space of climate and the environment. They love being part of something bigger and the drivers really do car about where we are going and what we stand for.

What are your thoughts on alternative fuels?

There are synthetic fuels and biofuels that in my mind are kind of a migration fuel – they have their challenges and downsides. For industries that find it difficult to make the transition from heavy fuels into electricity or clean hydrogen, they are part of the journey.

READ MORE: Formula E's history in key moments

I think for us, in motorsport, we’re striving to accelerate away from internal combustion engine cars to electric cars. Around 15% of total global emissions come from road transportation and pretty much all of the governments around the world are committed to decarbonising road transportation and they agree that electrification is the answer and EV sales are growing at more than 20% a year.

We’re the only people who can race at FIA World Championship level as an all-electric series – exclusively. We’re all-in.

What future plans are in the works for Formula E?

We’ve got massive plans. Our growth curve has been pretty steep. We took a bit of a knock during lockdown as most live sports did but we’ve since come back super strong and we’re on a really good growth trajectory.

I try to break the future down into three different areas when I’m talking to the team internally about things. Where we race and who we’re taking this championship to, what we look like in terms of the next generation of development and who is racing with us.

READ MORE: Formula E's cutting-edge GEN3 race car explained

We’re fixated with bringing more diversity into the sport and into Formula E. We’ve had women drivers before but we have none at the moment. We’ve had women team principals before but we have none just now. In those terms, and in terms of ethnicities, we want to see more diversity as you walk through the paddock.

We’re bringing the series to some new audiences with Tokyo, Japan this year – our first visit there – as well as to motor valley in Italy and the Misano circuit. We’re also heading back to China with Shanghai. While we want a consistent calendar, as we move into the future we always look to a few more events at a few different locations around the world.


We’re very lucky from a technology point of view when you look at other series. They’re working with ICE technology that’s 100 years old and fully matured. They’re not getting any betterment out of that and the margins mean you have to invest fortunes to get the tiniest little benefit.

Compare that to EVs where we’re on such a steep development curve. With us, we’ve gone from car swaps in GEN1 where two cars were required to finish a race per driver, given the battery tech available. The current GEN3 is 75% more powerful, 60mph faster and has six times the energy regeneration capability – and goes the race distance while being much faster, lighter, smaller, more efficient and more sustainable.

We’ll announce GEN3 EVO this season – the evolution of our current car – and that will look different, a bit stealthier and cooler and the performance of the car will take another leap. My team will scream at me if I started going into details but it’s materially different in terms of things like acceleration – there you’re going to see Formula E cars that leave every other motorsport, pretty much, in the dust.

Two years into the future we then make the next leap to GEN4 – even more performance, an evolved look and much bigger battery capacity so we can race for longer or deploy more power over the course of a race.

This is the beauty of working with a technology at the cutting edge. It’s also the reason a lot of our automotive manufacturer partners and technology partners are involved, because they’re learning stuff at the race track that goes straight back into their cars on the road. There’s a load of examples of this but the one I really like to remember is Jaguar being able to add 10% of real-world range to their road-going I-PACE through their learnings in Formula E – that’s just super cool.

What do the drivers make of the cars?

I’m no driver and I can’t speak to it personally but what I hear in conversation with the drivers is that the cars were amazing in GEN2 – the leap was huge from GEN1. With GEN3, they’re still getting to grips with what their demands are of them and there are changes that will happen with GEN3 EVO that will change the dynamics of the car again at the end of this season.

READ MORE: GEN1, GEN2, GEN3 and the future

There are maybe drivers that are struggling this generation that didn’t with GEN2 and you’ll see that change up again in GEN3 EVO with some taking to it and doing really well as they gel with it more quickly. Our drivers constantly have to evolve.

What about the comparisons between Formula 1 and Formula E?

In some respects we’re similar. We’re both open wheel single seater racing car series at FIA World Championship level. Our DNA is kind of similar and you our cars kind of look similar at a glance. They have 10 teams, we have 11, they have Mercedes and Red Bull – we’ve had the former win the title in the past – and we have the likes of Porsche, Jaguar and Nissan plus a host of others that will get upset because I can’t mention them all!

Where we race differs, city centre street circuits are in our DNA and they race at mainly permanent circuits but they’re changing that up a bit there, starting to introduce more and more street circuits, kind of following our lead – Las Vegas being a great example last year.

READ MORE: Formula E's rules and format explained

The core tech is obviously the big difference. They’re racing combustion engine cars and the money, costs are markedly different. The budgets are capped at more than $145m a year and teams run between $1.5-2bn in value. If you compare that to us, a team would maybe be looking at $30-40m with a cost cap at give or take $14m allowing for exchange rate variances. Basically, it’s less than 10% of the cost as a rough comparison.

That cost profile flows its way through to fans as well, so buying grandstand or hospitality tickets – there’s a price difference in our favour there. I’m a huge F1 fan, by the way, it’s not a disparaging remark but I would say it makes Formula E more inclusive and I feel that’s reflected in our fanbase. F1 sees itself as the elite and we feel we’re very different to that.

Not just Formula 1 but motorsport’s fanbase is traditional older males whereas Formula E’s is around 50% under 45 years of age and a fifty-fifty split male to female. Whatever we’re doing, we’re attracting a slightly different audience.

Where's F1 at just now in your view?

As a fan, I don’t think it’s ever been less competitive than it is now. For me, that’s the problem. So much of the regulations are open for teams to work with that it’s kind of an open platform for them. When you get one team dominating, it lasts a generation and combined with great drivers, you get a closed shop and they just become very, very difficult to beat.

Last season, I found myself sticking around to watch the start of races and coming back towards the end, and not having much interest in what went off in-between. I say that with some sadness because I feel an amazingly competitive and healthy F1 is good for all motorsport because it’s at the pinnacle. In terms of number of fans, it’s around a billion or so – and they all want to watch something exciting and competitive.

The show they put on in the likes of Las Vegas and Miami was absolutely incredible, they’re shaking things up with more street circuits, trying different things like playing with qualifying and sprint races and there’s been a big F1 noise over the off-season. They’ve been good for column inches for a number of reasons and they’ve kept the interest up but I would always like to see a more competitive championship.

What will the 2024 F1 season look like? Will Max Verstappen do it again and could he do it in Formula E?

Max is an incredible driver. The combination of incredible driver and car is allowing him to dominate as it did previously with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes – he remains an incredible driver, of course.

For them to come into Formula E and dominate would be counter to anything we’ve really seen before. Formula E cars are very different to Formula 1 cars, and as all of our drivers would attest to, pretty much anything else they’ve raced – they’re very difficult to drive to their maximum.

Anyone wanting to race in Formula E has to get used to the car, the powertrain and delivery, the energy management and just how close the racing is. Because about 70% of the cars share common parts – the gaps are wafter thin, often with just half-a-second splitting the field.

Even a strong powertrain and car is no guarantee of success, as you can see with three different winners from three different teams across the opening three rounds so far in Season 10. There’s been seven different drivers from eight teams on the podium, too.

I think if Max or someone like Max were to come in, he’s obviously incredible and would get up to speed quickly just because of how capable he is. He’d definitely win races and he’d be really excited by the challenge – my phone is always on, by the way, if he wants to call!

Nobody’s ever dominated Formula E the way he dominates F1, though. We’ve only ever had one champion retain the title and one driver win more than one championship – it would be illogical to think he’d come in and break nine seasons of evidence across hundreds of races.

He’s special – in the same bracket as Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. You always get those periods of dominance in F1, throughout its history. We’ve also seen a lot of quality drivers in less than competitive cars just disappear off the radar.

If you’re Max right now, all you’re interested in is ratcheting up the wins and titles in that great Red Bull car. You could say right now that unless he’s ill or there’s an injury or something else unforeseen the title is his – you might as well put the trophy in his cabinet right now. It’s 99% in the bag. If he doesn’t win it, we’ll give $250k to any one of the other 19 drivers that does – to a charity of their choice, and it wouldn’t be the worst day opening the wallet for charity.