FE hosts forum on future of hybrid and electric motorsport
Guests receive exclusive preview of new Formula E car
The FIA Formula E Championship, in association with FIA WEC, held a unique forum event at Silverstone recently for teams, drivers and invited guests to discuss the future of hybrid and electric vehicles in motorsport.
More than 120 guests attended the open forum with special appearances from Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, ACO President Pierre Fillion, Lord Paul Drayson, Team Principal of Drayson Racing Formula E and David Richards, C.B.E, Chairman of Aston Martin and Prodrive, as well as drivers Jaime Alguersuari, Lucas di Grassi, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna, together with host Louise Goodman.
Formula E is a new FIA championship which aims to bring electric racing to the people, with city centres around the globe playing host to an electric energy World Championship designed to promote interest and investment in electric vehicles and sustainable motoring.
It makes its debut in 2014 racing on street circuits worldwide with events so far selected in London, Rome, Miami, Los Angeles, Putrajaya, Beijing, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro. Two teams representing Britain and China have already been announced as candidates to become the first of what will be a 10-team and 20-driver grid for the first season.
Speaking after the event Alejandro Agag said: “We have been overwhelmed with the response to our forum and the level of interest from leading drivers and teams who share our vision for the future in combining exciting racing with clean energy and sustainability. The discussions clearly showed how the technology being developed for hyrbrid and electric racing will become the framework for research and development around the everyday electric vehicle and that we have some very exciting times ahead of us.”
Pierre Fillion commented: “As you know, the FIA views championships like FIA WEC and FIA Formula E as the perfect platform to promote new technologies and demonstrate how these can transfer to everyday road cars, something we have been doing with the Le Mans 24 Hours. Formula E will be able to further demonstrate these new technologies being used in high pressure racing conditions and we look forward to working with Formula E in the coming years.”
Lord Paul Drayson commented: “At present we’re just scratching the surface of what we can do with electric and hybrid drivetrains, but the most exciting element is the opportunity to make motorsport much more relevant to the challenges of the car industry. Motorsport needs to be the leader in this and to help shape perceptions of what is cool and exciting.”
David Richards commented: “One of the problems motorsport faces is relevance to the public and one of the areas I find intriguing is the opportunity for manufactures, like Prodrive, to develop new technologies and to showcase them in a relevant environment. Around 80% of our work focuses on motorsport and a lot of these activities revolve around battery technology and hybrid systems, so to be able to apply that technology in racing is going to be an exciting opportunity for us.”
Lucas di Grassi said: “The forum was a great initiative and to have top people from motorsport talking about the future of hybrid racing. As I driver, I’m very excited to be involved and to see how this technology will influence not only motorsport but also future road cars.”
Bruno Senna commented: “Hybrid and electric cars are the future. You see the automotive industry already heading towards these cars and it’s only natural for racing to go the same way. The technology is still limited in some areas but motorsport can help pioneer new technology into road cars and push the boundaries.”
Vitantonio Liuzzi commented: “The technology of these cars has really developed over the last few years and this is the shape of the future. We still have a lot to learn and develop but this is a very interesting topic and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops.”
Nicolas Prost commented: “Obviously this project is very ambitious but there are a lot of very serious people behind it along with the FIA so from a driver’s viewpoint it sounds very exciting. I feel the series will attract a new type of motorsport fan, mainly younger people and families, and could become a lot bigger than people think.”
Jaime Alguersuari added: “I think this new concept is quite challenging for a driver. Having a Formula E event all in one day – practice, qualifying and race – presents a new challenge but I think it could be really interesting, especially racing in places like London and Rome.”