An American investment group led by Scott Swild and José Maria Asnar Botella has bought a majority stake in the RoKiT Venturi Formula E team, which will continue under its existing name and senior management.
Asnar Botella is the step-brother in law of Formula E co-founder Alejandro Agag, and the son of former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Asnar.
Both Swild and Asnar Botella have extensive experience managing venture capital businesses, and Asnar confirmed that he had been interested in Formula E since the very first season, and that the time was now right to invest in the series.
“I’ve had a unique perspective on Formula E since its inception and I was captivated by the vision to promote a more sustainable future through electric racing from the outset.” Explained Asnar. “My first real experience of Formula E was at the finale of the inaugural season in Battersea Park back in 2015 and I could feel the appeal immediately. Even back then, I had the feeling that this was something incredibly special that had the potential to be unstoppable – and I was right. What Alejandro and his team have done has fundamentally changed the way that people think about electric mobility. Gildo was right at the forefront from the beginning and his intuition to bring Susie to the team was spot on.
“We are investing at a critical time in Formula E’s short history and, whilst there is so much potential for further development and commercial expansion, one of the priorities must be an improved partnership between the sport and the teams. Collaborating with Susie and Scott, my longtime friend and mentor, is a great joy for me personally and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
Swild was initially looking to invest into Formula 1 instead, but was convinced by Asnar and Wolff that investing in Formula E would ultimately provide the opportunity to reap bigger rewards.
“Initially, we were looking at Formula 1 from an investment perspective.” Revealed Swild. “But understandably José is a big believer in the potential of Formula E and introduced me to Susie. From our first meeting, I could see the unique business case the sport and the team present.
“Investing in Venturi, with its heritage as an original team guided by the visionary Gildo Pastor, and competing in an exciting sport that promotes global sustainability and pioneering electric mobility is a great opportunity. Every forward-thinking corporate board in the world is cognisant of the importance of sustainability and is looking for ways to invest in its future. Formula E is in its intermediate stage, having successfully overcome the hurdles of its early period. With this strong foundation, it is a great time to invest when the championship is established and there is still so much growth to come.”
Susie Wolff will remain as team principal, alongside deputy team principal Jerome D’Ambrosio. Both Wolff and Venturi president Gildo Pastor will retain an interest in the team as managing partners.
“We move forward into our next chapter as a team under the new ownership led by Jose and Scott and I am pleased to become a Managing Partner alongside my role as Team Principal.” announced Wolff “The investment experience of Scott and Jose will strengthen the team‘s capabilities and provide us with interesting new perspectives and opportunities for the future. This move also demonstrates the positive role that the forthcoming cost cap has to play in the commercial viability and therefore appeal of the sport to investors and partners. I want to also take this opportunity to thank Gildo for his trust and unwavering support. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with such a visionary and have no doubt that Gildo will continue to push the boundaries of sustainable mobility far beyond what many dare to deem possible.”
Gildo Pastor echoed Wolff’s confidence, and despite Venturi’s president taking a less active role in the racing team, he is confident in the team’s future.
“Two and a half years ago, I put my absolute faith in Susie, her vision for the team, and her undisputed tenacity to bring that vision to life.” Said Pastor. “We have met so many milestones along our journey so far, including our first race victory, our first title partnership with ROKiT and the addition of our powertrain partnership with Mercedes-Benz in a strategic response to the rapid evolution of the championship. Now we have a new and forward-thinking investor group, led by Scott and José, who see and feel the potential in the series and team as I do.
“As the focus of my attention moves away from the racetrack to the proving ground where we continue to raise the bar with record breaking electromobility, and to the sky with our equally pioneering space endeavours, I know that the team is in very safe hands.”