'Formula E has advantages over F1,' says former F1 champion Nico Rosberg

For former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg, it's undeniable that respect for electric ...

Posted: May 26, 2018 1:16 PM
Updated: May 26, 2018 1:16 PM

For former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg, it's undeniable that respect for electric motorsport is growing.

Formula E, he says, represents the future of mobility and despite what all-electric racing critics had predicted -- it's just as entertaining to watch.

32-year-old Nico Rosberg was the Formula One world champion in 2016

He has since retired and become an investor in Formula E

Rosberg took the Gen2 Formula E car for a spin around Berlin

"You never know what to expect," Rosberg told CNN's Supercharged. "Last time (in Paris, Sam Bird) -- who finished third -- arrived with three tires of the four! He finished the race in three tires. I mean, that's pretty impressive."

Then there's John Eric Vergne, who managed to take the provisional pole position in Hong Kong back in December despite driving backwards over the finish line.

"That's all the things you need to see," explained Rosberg, who was crowned F1 world champion in 2016 before retiring. "It's great how Formula E has become such an entertaining sport to watch and in many ways it has some advantages over Formula One because it is the unexpected."

In fact, even Rosberg's father Keke, who was also an F1 world champion in 1982, has embraced the change that comes with Formula E.

"He is an absolute petrol head. In the beginning he was like 'who is going to watch e-mobility Formula E, who needs that?' and then the other day I caught him -- he set the alarm to watch the Formula E race start!

"So this is it, that is the biggest sign that the category is established within the hardcore racing world."

It's been a while since fans have seen the German on the track. But for the first time since his shock retirement at the age of 31, he was back behind the wheel to test drive Formula E's new, futuristic Gen2 car.

READ: "Welcome to Gotham" -- Formula E unveils next generation 'Batmobile' design

From the Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie, Rosberg sped through the streets of Berlin showcasing the ultramodern design and aggressive aesthetic.

It's no surprise that Rosberg was keen to see experience the car at close quarters. Last month, it was announced he'd become an investor and shareholder in Formula E.

"I did a donut as well in the middle of the city -- that was cool," Rosberg chuffed.

Rosberg also took the electric vehicle through its paces on Tempelhof Airport's circuit.

The most significant development in Formula E's Gen2 car is that it now has twice as much energy storage capacity -- meaning drivers will no longer have to make a mid-race car swap as they have done since the sport first launched in 2014.

It was Rosberg's first public appearance since winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Mercedes -- which will be joining the Formula E grid during the 2019-20 season, adding to speculation Rosberg might return to competitive racing.

But he was quick to deny those rumors, telling CNN's Nikki Shields that he has no ambitions getting back on the grid.

"When I finished F1 it was a blank sheet of paper and I started exploring, looking at things, and I saw that there was a huge potential in the mobility space to really have a big impact on our world and Formula E is the pinnacle of that.

"I am very happy with where I am at the moment so my thoughts have not gone into any different opportunities and it's great to be here and supporting in the role that I am in."

However, Rosberg couldn't contain his excitement following his laps on Tempelhof Airport's circuit.

"That was massively exciting," he told Supercharged.

"It was a great, special experience for me. A lot of memories came back and just being in that space again -- (it was) really nice."

Visit CNN.com/motorsport for more news and features

The first opportunity to see the Gen2 in race action will come when Formula E's fifth season beings in Saudi Arabia later this year.

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