Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag Recaps Inaugural Season, Looks Ahead To Year Two
The inaugural Formula E season ended in dramatic fashion when Nelson Piquet Jr. beat out Sébastien Buemi by a single point for the drivers' title in the final ePrix at London's Battersea Park. Although the team missed out on the drivers' championship in late June, Buemi's e.dams Renault team -- now Renault e.dams -- won the team title by a comfortable margin. With the first official preseason test at Donington Park less than two weeks away, Formula E CEO ALEJANDRO AGAG takes a look back at the series' first season, changes to its calendar and tells SBD Global about new developments, on and off the track.
Q: Give me your quick recap of the inaugural season. What were some of the highlights and disappointments?
Alejandro Agag: I think it was an amazing season, in which Formula E established its place in the world of motorsport and also as an event and not just a sports one, capable of grabbing the attention of the populace in some of the most important cities in the world. That’s a fact also born out by the numbers: more than 360,000 spectators actually attended the 11 ePrixs and around 190 million watched on television. The best moment? Definitely the seconds immediately following the start of the first race in Beijing: it was the moment when all the work of three and a half years finally came to fruition. Disappointments? Fortunately, there weren’t any! Obviously there are many aspects we need to improve in terms of the organization and we already made some changes during the course of the season: when you start from zero it’s normal that you have a learning curve to deal with, but the best thing about this series is that all parties -- from ourselves, to the FIA, from the teams to the drivers to the media -- are working together to grow, like one big family!
Q: The series calendar for the second season features only one new venue -- Paris. Why did you not try to increase the number of venues after a successful first season?
Agag: In the calendar we presented to the FIA World Council on July 10, the most important news was that a round in Paris will kick off the European part of the season. To race in one of the most important capital cities in the world, around the architectural beauty of Les Invalides will be a fantastic spectacle. Let’s see if we manage to add in another date and the venue for the fifth round of the season, on March 19, has yet to be decided. We have received many expressions of interest from cities all over the world, but we first want to consolidate our presence in those places where we found trust and enthusiasm from the authorities and the general public. That's why the number of locations to date will not increase compared to Season 1. We added Paris because it is one of the most important capitals of the world and the capital of a very important country in motoring terms and a city in which the themes related to sustainable mobility are particularly in the spotlight. The absence of Monaco was expected and is necessary due to the alternation with the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, which is held on even-numbered years.
Agag: We are very pleased that all 10 teams that took part in the first season have put in entries for the second one. It’s an important sign of stability, which makes Formula E even stronger. And it’s equally important that other teams are knocking on our door, keen to race in this championship.
Q: What will be the biggest changes going into Season 2, on and off the track?
Agag: We are working on making Formula E even more of an interactive show for spectators, with features such as telemetry in real time and the 360° on-board camera, as well as a further development of the FanBoost, which we’d like to be even more integrated in the narrative of the race, rather than being restricted to the run up to it. As for drivers, I think the list of competitors for the first season made Formula E one of the best single-seater championships and there is no reason why that shouldn’t also be the case in its second year. Already, when testing starts at Donington in August, we will begin to get a clearer picture of what to expect, not forgetting that several drivers were already confirmed prior to the end of last season. The most important change is that the technical regulations have been opened up, so that no fewer than eight constructors will be supplying their electric motors to the teams. [We] should in any case see an increase in performance and a greater variety of sound: apart from the music played by the EJ, we’ll also have a new music from the motors!
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