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Agag: “You have to build championships independently of manufacturers”

Formula E founder Alejandro Agag believes it’s important for his championships to be able to run without manufacturers, he revealed during Extreme E’s Desert X Prix.

The single seater championship is facing two of its manufacturers leaving the series in the near future, with Audi and BMW having announced their exits.

While the likes of Mahindra and Nissan have already committed to FE’s third generation of race cars, Agag highlighted the importance of not relying on manufacturers.

“In my opinion, as a promotor or a builder of championships, you have to build championships independently of manufacturers,” he said. “Because manufacturers come and go and, when they go, nothing happens.

“Formula 1 used to have seven manufacturers. They all left at the same time. Because manufacturers have their own way of decision making which are not always linked to racing.

“Sometimes they have different circumstances, different strategies which they decide, so you need championships to be strong with independent teams only.

“Manufacturers are welcome to come, but they’re not necessary. That’s the key for me.”

When asked if Extreme E could overtake Formula E in terms of populatiry with both manufacturers and the fans, Agag stressed the differences between the two series.

“Extreme E and Formula E are two very different propositions and I think they’re very, very compatible,” he said. “Formula E promotes electric cars in city centres. Formula cars are a different type of racing.

“Extreme E is more focused on off road, on showing different landscapes and on climate action. So they’re very different and compatible.”

Despite the differences, the opening round of the Extreme E championship left Agag feeling similar to after the inaugural Formula E race in Bejing in 2014.

Like Extreme E, the first ever Formula E race caught the attention of the wider motorsport fanbase with a dramatic collision which Agag feels stick in people’s minds.

“I had the same feeling today as I did after the race in Beijing. The scare in Beijing lasted less time, but it was at the end. Nick [Heidfeld], after 20 seconds, gave the thumbs up.

“I was in the same place [as I was today], the TV compound. I saw it live. We had a camera on top of the car. I wanted to know what was going on. Here, the car was over. Claudia [Hurtgen] was out of contact for a long while. I had both experiences in both first races ever.

“I think I had a huge sensation of relief. The first weekend will have a huge influence on how Extreme E evolves like it did with Formula E. Everyone saw that crash. Everyone remembered that crash between Heidfeld and Nico Prost in Beijing. I think everyone will remember Claudia’s crash and roll. But I think that’s part of motor racing and I feel very similar to how I felt after the first Formula E race.”

Bethonie Waring

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