Formula E has invested in the nascent Extreme E series.
The news, which was officially confirmed on Tuesday, will mean Formula E takes a minority stakeholding in the private limited company – Extreme E Ltd which was founded in April 2018 initially by Formula E co-founder Alejandro Agag and former Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran.
Extreme E Ltd, the company which runs and promotes the new series, presently has two directors in addition to Agag.
These are investor Sheng Li, the head of SECA which owns the two-time Formula E champions, DS Techeetah and non-executive director Hazel Hutchinson who is a corporate strategist working for the Aegis Group.
Hutchinson also holds a similar position at Mauve Group Holdings Limited which is the holding company of the Envision Virgin Racing team.
Formula E Operations Ltd, Formula E’s organisers and promoters, underwent a re-structure in July when Alejandro Agag resigned as a director from the company he founded in 2013. He is still though the Chairman of Formula E, a position he took in November 2018.
Agag was replaced as a director of FEO in July by current Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Reigle who joined Alberto Longo, Co-Founder, Deputy CEO and Chief Championship Officer at Formula E and Chief Financial Officer, Mike Papadimitriou as named directors.
Reigle has also taken up a position on Extreme E’s board of directors following today’s announcement.
A statement regarding the news stated that the partnership demonstrates ‘an extension of Formula E’s commitment to developing electric vehicles and sustainable mobility technologies, including now through Extreme E, which is set to trial electric SUVs in some of the most testing off-road conditions in the world.’
Agag alluded to a long-held plan to align the two companies which he founded saying: “It has always been my intention to have Formula E and Extreme E working closely together, spreading the message of electrification, environment and equality.
“The two series are very different but have a shared purpose as they fight alongside one another to counteract climate change.”
The Race says
Today’s news that Formula E Operations Ltd, the company that runs and promotes the new for 2021 ABB FIA Formula E world championship is a major surprise. But perhaps there shouldn’t be so much wonder, as apart from the obvious – a shared creator in Alejandro Agag, there are many parallels between the two all-electric entities.
The one that was majored on in this morning’s announcement was the environmental agenda but there are several commercial, operational and partnership mirrors between the two as well.
They share the same marketing and media rights guru in Ali Russell, the engaging former Chief Operating Officer of Rangers Football Club, and someone close to Agag since his own footballing days at Queens Park Rangers where the pair first worked together.
Additionally, there are key technical partners in Spark Racing Technology and Williams Advanced Engineering which the two series share.
From a media perspective both the Aurora Media and North One TV companies will work together on Extreme E, as they do in Formula E. Although key differences will be the post-production emphasis in the former as opposed to the live format.
Then there is the geographical proximity to both companies in that they share part of the same building in Hammersmith, London.
The Race identified some growing concern in Formula E’s teams that Extreme E, which we playfully described as ‘the noisy neighbours,’ and a growing sense among the Formula E paddock that they were getting an upper hand on momentum.
This has only been reinforced recently by Extreme E being granted FIA status, further growth in its TV distribution sales and the announcement that 2016 F1 world champion Nico Rosberg has acquired a franchise in the all-electric off-road series.
But what of the longer game in today’s announcement, what could it all really mean for the future structure of top-flight EV competition?
This is likely to be where Agag is aiming to be several steps ahead, realising that his ultimate goal of attracting manufacturers to Extreme E could be greatly assisted by a corporate correlation between the two championships.
Then there is the Liberty element. Liberty Global has the largest stake in Formula E and has form in sharing Agag’s sixth sense in investing and driving zeitgeisty initiatives.