Hot on the heels of Audi’s commitment to Formula E and its own confirmation of a production class of electrified vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has announced its intention to enter the FIA Formula E Championship for the 2019/2020 season.
“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery-powered electric vehicles using the EQ label,” said Dr Jens Thiemer, Vice President of Marketing at Mercedes-Benz. “Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our intelligent battery-powered electric vehicles, as well as giving an emotional spin to our EQ technology brand through motorsport and marketing.”
“I’m very happy to see yet another manufacturer committing to the FIA Formula E Championship,” added FIA President Jean Todt. “Mercedes-Benz has been competing in motorsport since the very beginning, and in joining this newest chapter of racing history, it shows that the vision and concept of the championship is aligned with how manufacturers want to develop electric vehicle technologies, and bring these innovations to audiences around the world.”
Prior to last year’s season launch in Hong Kong, Mercedes reserved an entry for the electric single-seater series’ fifth season (2018/2019) but has now pushed its place on the grid to the series’ sixth season.
“Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture - it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies,” enthused Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series. I’m pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way.”
The company has not said if its commitment to Formula E will impact its current Formula 1 program, but it is expected that the two programs will run simultaneously (at least for a couple years).
“In motorsport, like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and also explore innovative new projects,” said Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “With Formula 1 and Formula E, we have achieved exactly this balance.”
Mercedes joins Audi, Citroen, Jaguar and Renault in the electric racing series, that requires a team to have two cars per driver – in place of the customary mid-race refuelling in most combustion-engine motorsports series, each electric racecar is driven into the pits at some strategic point in the race, and its driver switches into a new, fully charged car to complete the rest of the race. BMW is also involved as a technical partner in the series.
“Today is a great day as we welcome Mercedes to the Formula E family - adding to the increasing number of manufacturers joining the electric revolution,” concluded Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E. “This shows how much the world is changing, not only in motorsport, but the whole automotive industry. We’re witnessing a transformation that will first change our cities, and then our roads. Formula E is the championship that embodies that change, and together with all our teams and manufacturers we’ll keep pushing for technologies, to have better and more affordable electric cars.”