Former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld has praised the potential of the new FIA Formula E Championship following the first stage of pre-season testing at Donington Park.

The German, who started 183 F1 races in a career spanning 11 years, is one of the highest profile entrants for the new all-electric championship having signed to drive with the Monaco-based Venturi team.

Indeed, having spent recent years competing in sportscars, including a recent run to fourth overall in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, Heidfeld admits the entire concept of Formula E enticed back to single-seaters even before he was further convinced by some of the finer details.

"I followed the development quite early on, but I thought I wouldn't do it because of the time commitment between this and WEC," he told However, there was more information about how everything was planning out and what teams and drivers were joining, which was important to me because we want to have good competition. Then the icing on the cake is all the venues we are going to."

A respected test and race driver in F1, Heidfeld says he is impressed with the quality of the electric-powered chassis, adding that it took little time to get used to the difference in sound.

"I wouldn't say anything surprised me because I came into it open-minded and not expecting anything. If you compare to other cars, the amount of power and downforce is lower than in F1, but I think it is a very good starting point for electric engines.

"In the beginning I needed to get used to the sound, but that happened quickly. Now it is my third day in the car in dry conditions and we are going through the parameters we can change in the car."

Indeed, Heidfeld even thinks the less intrusive sound, along with the compact single-day race format and the central locations, will prove more palatable for its target audience of families and younger people.

"The single-day concept for me as a driver will be interesting to see how it goes," he continued. "It will be difficult but it will be the same for everyone.

"It will be good for the spectators because they will see everything in one day and it brings the races to the spectators, so I expect to see more children and kids. A younger audience seems more interested in electric engines and the young children won't have to worry about the noise, so I think it could be a great day spent with the whole family, rather than just motorsport fans."