Alejandro Agag column: FE currently in a real growth phase

It was a great moment for us to 'officially' welcome Nico Rosberg to Formula E in Berlin, and for him to drive the new 'Gen2' car

Alejandro Agag column: FE currently in a real growth phase

I remember being in Vienna at the FIA prize-giving ceremony, on the night he announced his retirement from Formula 1, and introducing myself to his wife at the end of dinner. I said: "Hi I'm Alejandro Agag from Formula E and I would like to talk to your husband". She just replied: "Don't even think about it. He's not getting in a race car again."

So, it was a great moment to have him there with us in Berlin - both as an investor and as a supporter.

Obviously there has been some speculation that he will be involved in the new Mercedes Formula E outfit, but I haven't heard anything pointing to that - although that doesn't mean it's not going to happen.

Being in Berlin was a good reminder of our roots as a championship. This is the only city that we have raced in every season. But we're always looking to the future too and trying to develop the championship, and this is why we will be racing in Saudi Arabia at the start of season five.

The race in the district of Ad Diriyah in Riyadh is very important to us. We believe that sport can inspire communities and we want to be part of the positive change that's happening in the country.

For the first time in June, women will be able to drive in Saudi Arabia and this will be an historic moment. Furthermore, we have received complete assurances - in fact it is the request of the organisers - that women participate at the event and women will be at the race as spectators and supporters. All the women who travel with the championship will also be allowed to come and work.

We see that as a great element of change in a country that didn't have those rights in the past and we're happy to be part of that. We see that Formula E can be a force for good and in this case - a very specific place and country - we think that we can make a contribution by going there. So, I am really happy with our decision. I understand that there is a debate around it and it's perfectly understandable.

I think sport has to be above politics and you shouldn't mix them. When a sport receives a boycott because of politics, like the Olympics or the football World Cup, we should be above that. I think fans, once they see the race, will see a great event, because the track in Ad Diriyah is spectacular. And the fans who don't like the decision to go there - and I am sure there are some - well, they have their personal political views, which I completely respect.

Before Riyadh, of course, we have another new round, in Zurich, which will be the first race in Switzerland since circuit racing was banned in 1955.

We owe a lot to Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer, for this, because they were one of the founding partners of Formula E. Having Julius Baer, TAG and ABB - our title partner - all headquartered in Switzerland counts a lot and this is another great symbol of how Formula E is changing things: in a country where racing was banned, now there is going to be racing.

It's good for motorsport in general that we open-up new countries - especially a country like Switzerland, which has so much potential and so many companies there that can support motorsport. And one of our leading drivers, Sebastien Buemi, is from Switzerland, so I think it's a perfect place for us to race.

There was some good momentum behind the event in Switzerland, so we just waited. They wanted to do it and some members of parliament had the initiative of pushing forward with a change in the law to permit racing and especially electric racing - and now it has happened.

There's a lot of excitement already ahead of the event - they're expecting a large turnout.

The championship is in a real growth phase at the moment. We have major new manufacturers coming into the sport, new races and some big-name drivers being attracted.

Nico won't be racing, but it's very exciting that Felipe Massa will join the championship in season five.

These things don't happen overnight - Nico, Felipe, Zurich - everything is a result of a lot of work and preparation. I've been talking to Felipe for three years and he's a great driver, a great guy - a personal friend, I am glad to say.

We pushed a lot for him to come, but at the end of the day it's the teams who make the decisions - I cannot impose a driver on them - I can just hope that they will do it.

I've had a few messages from some other Formula 1 drivers recently... but for us, where drivers come from is not so important. It's more the quality of the drivers and how they fit into the our ecosystem. Felipe will be great for Formula E.

shares
comments
Ex-F1 driver Massa completes 800km running in first Gen2 FE test
Previous article

Ex-F1 driver Massa completes 800km running in first Gen2 FE test

Next article

Abt: Audi's 'trust' in FE proves I'm more than 'the son of someone'

Abt: Audi's 'trust' in FE proves I'm more than 'the son of someone'
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2021-22 Plus

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2021-22

After a wild 2020-21 season, this year's Formula E campaign had a much stronger narrative to it, but ended with the same result as a driver from the Silver Arrows squad triumphed. Here's our guide to those who shone brightest during the campaign

The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title Plus

The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title

After Nyck de Vries was crowned Formula E champion in 2021, his Mercedes team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne stepped forward this season as the Gen2 era and his team bowed out. As he did on the way to the GP2 crown in 2015, the Belgian achieved a peerless level of consistency and was only outside the points once, with his sole win in Monaco sufficient to head off a chasing pack headed by Mitch Evans

Formula E
Sep 19, 2022
Why Bird can bounce back after a tough 2021-22 Formula E season Plus

Why Bird can bounce back after a tough 2021-22 Formula E season

With his winning streak coming to an end this season, the 2021-22 Formula E season was tumultuous for Sam Bird, failing to gather momentum as Jaguar generally struggled. But the long-term favourite looks forward to bouncing back next season as the championship enters its new era

Formula E
Aug 30, 2022
What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2 Plus

What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2

The 2021-2022 Formula E season finale brought the curtain down on the Gen2 era of the all-electric world championship. It elevated FE to new heights, fulfilling its intended directive. While it is a good launching pad for the impending Gen3 cycle, there are certain aspects the series must tackle for the new era to have the same impact as its predecessor

Formula E
Aug 16, 2022
The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge Plus

The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge

The odds were heavily stacked in Stoffel Vandoorne’s favour to capture the Formula E crown at the Seoul finale, but chief rival Mitch Evans applied maximum pressure with victory in the first race. It meant Vandoorne had to show his resolve to reproduce the key qualities he held all season to complete his march to the title

Formula E
Aug 15, 2022
Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title? Plus

Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title?

Stoffel Vandoorne is on the brink of the Formula E title with a commanding lead ahead of the Seoul finale, but both rivals and unknowns still stand in his way. Here’s a run through of what Vandoorne must overcome to clinch the championship and how his competition will look to pull off the biggest of shocks

Formula E
Aug 10, 2022
How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon Plus

How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon

It might not look like the most glittering of Formula E campaigns, but Dragon Penske’s youngster has caught the eye of those who count despite his future remaining unclear. Regardless of the distortion, Sergio Sette Camara has a clear vision of what he’s focused on and how to get there

Formula E
Aug 4, 2022
How Formula E's title fight gave way to Dennis and Di Grassi in the dockyards Plus

How Formula E's title fight gave way to Dennis and Di Grassi in the dockyards

The penultimate stop on Formula E's world tour took in London's ExCeL, where the championship contenders were upstaged by two first-time winners in 2022. Andretti’s Jake Dennis kept the home fires burning in the first race as Venturi’s Lucas di Grassi claimed the second, but two consistent finishes mean its advantage Stoffel Vandoorne heading to the Seoul finale

Formula E
Aug 1, 2022