Formula E announces partnership with ABB
Swiss technology giant will be title sponsor for all-electric racing series
Formula E CEO hints Felipe Massa could join series
The rush to be a part of the all-electric street racing series that’s “writing the future” goes on.
Just four years into its development, Formula E has announced a “groundbreaking” multi-year partnership with Swiss industrial technology giant ABB.
The annual motorsport series will be renamed the “ABB FIA Formula E Championship” – the first time an FIA-sanctioned single-seater championship has had a title sponsor.
As the third E-Prix of 2017/18 approaches in Marrakesh, Morocco, Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag called it “an historic day” for the series he founded in 2014.
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“This is probably the biggest announcement that Formula E has made ever,” Agag told CNN Sport during an announcement at the Saatchi Gallery in London Tuesday.
“We share the same goals. ABB is a company that is focusing on new technologies that are going to transform mobility in the world, and that’s what we want to do.”
“Our two companies are synonymous with pushing the boundaries of what is possible,” he added in a statement.
“Together, as partners, we will showcase breakthrough technology on a global scale.”
Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive of ABB, is excited at the possibility of shaping the future of transport.
“Today, two pioneers are uniting,” said Spiesshofer, telling CNN Sport his company are the “world market leader” for charging electric cars.
“ABB and Formula E are a natural fit at the forefront of the latest electrification and digital technologies.
“Together, we will write the next phase of this exciting sports activity and foster high-performance teams. Together, we will write the future – one electrifying race at a time.”
Numerous manufacturing giants – including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Jaguar – have announced plans to participate in the series in recent years, showing electric racing’s increasing “relevance to the motor industry,” according to Agag.
ABB, which claims to annually dedicate $1.5 billion to fund “research and development activities,” gives Formula E further scope to grow.
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“The tremendous level of excitement surrounding this new FIA discipline is tangible,” said FIA president Jean Todt, calling the collaboration “proof of the attractiveness” of a championship still very much in its infancy.
“The mobilization of major economic powers around the pillars of this discipline – new technologies, electric mobility and sustainable development – is a very good sign, and something to be excited about.”
Massa ‘super welcome’ in Formula E
With a new name signed up off the track, Agag was coy when asked if the sport is any closer to recruiting new drivers on it.
In pictures: Felipe Massa's distinguished F1 career
Brazilian legend Felipe Massa, in particular, presents an exciting possibility for fans, having retired from Formula One at the end of the 2016 season.
But Agag stressed the veteran of 242 grand prix races would require assurances he’d be competitive, should he make the move to all-electric racing.
“Of course, Felipe would be super welcome in Formula E,” said Agag. “I know Felipe, I’ve been talking to him a lot … if he comes to Formula E, he wants to be in a competitive team.
“Felipe is a driver who wants to win and I totally understand that. So we will help him, if we can, to get a really competitive drive.”
The Marrakech E-Prix takes place on January 13, following the form of the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan before spilling out onto the streets.