Bernie Ecclestone advises F1 to go all electric

Ferrari unveil car for 2018 season (1:42)

Ferrari have officially revealed the SF-71H ahead of the new Formula 1 season. (1:42)

Bernie Ecclestone has urged Formula One to become an all-electric racing series in order to remain in line with the future of the motor industry.

The former F1 CEO no longer has a direct influence over the direction of the sport after he was given the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus under F1's new ownership last year. Ecclestone often criticised the existing hybrid engines when he was in charge of the sport, but he now believes the future of F1 should be fully electric.

"We still own the name Formula One, we still have contracts with promoters, let's make different types of cars," he was quoted by the Guardian, "let's speak to the manufacturers and start a new all-electric F1, a Formula One for the future."

Formula E already exists as the FIA's all-electric racing series, but Ecclestone says F1 should sit above that. Although battery technology is not yet ready to produce F1 levels of power over a grand prix distance, Ecclestone believes the only thing stopping F1 is the risk it presents for Liberty.

"Can't we do this?" he said. "The manufacturers provide the cars themselves but we aren't going to pay them because they get massive worldwide publicity. It would be a super Formula E, if you like.

"You can make cars be like an F1 car and the only thing you would miss would be the noise and I do not believe that people could not come up with something to make more or less the old F1 noise. They [Liberty] would need to have the balls to do it today. I think they will have to do it."

Ecclestone also warned that Ferrari's threat to quit the F1 is real. Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne issued the threat last year after raising concerns about the direction of the sport under its new ownership, and Ecclestone says F1 must take the Italian manufacturer seriously.

"F1 is Ferrari and Ferrari is F1," Ecclestone said. "I would hate to see F1 without Ferrari.

"No promoter would be happy to see Ferrari leave," he said. "They would join Ferrari immediately if a new series started with the same elements as now but was cheaper for the racetracks.

"Sergio does not do things unless he is serious. I don't think he is the sort of guy who doesn't do what he says he's going to do."