Mercedes EQ Team Principal Ian James believes that the financial stability of Formula E in the future has been one of the major issues the teams must iron out before they sign up for the Gen 3 era in 2022.
James admitted that the series will attract new manufacturers to the sport despite Audi’s and BMW’s departures at the end of season seven. The Brit wants to ensure that championship makes the correct direction financially, which will attract new OEM’s whilst keeping the series relevant to the automotive industry.
“I think the financial aspect is one of the key factors without a doubt, but I think that needs to work for everybody to stay in, to attract new manufacturers and new teams to the sport as well. You are always going to get a cycle; you are always going to get people who leave for whatever reason because it doesn’t work for their own internal strategy.
“But if the championship is set up in the right way, you will always have new people come in and take those places. So I’m not overly concerned about that as long as we do hit that right strategy, and that is something we are in intensive discussions together with the FIA, FE, and the other manufacturers and teams as well.
“There is a lot of work still to be done. I don’t think we are quite at a position yet where we’ve agreed on the right solution, but everybody is super engaged in getting there and driving it forward in the right direction, so I am confident that we will get to the right structure but there is still a lot of work to be done ahead of that.”
Mahindra and DS Automobiles recently committed to the Gen 3 regulations, which come into effect for the 2022/23 season. James expects Mercedes to join those manufacturers as long as they can sort out the business side of negotiations. He hopes this will ensure that the championship remains sustainable when other elements of the powertrain and car open up for development.
“I think we, and I personally, very much believe that the series as a whole has a lot to offer. I do feel that it’s still very relevant for our road cups programmes. I think that with the Mercedes EQ product and the portfolio which is going to grow exponentially over the next couple of years, I think to have a platform such as Formula E to communicate that is absolutely spot on.
“I think the fact that we race to all of those aspects, that part of the DNA of Formula E is very, very relevant for us still. So the reasons we came into it are still very much valid, that’s still there. What we do need to do though is to get the business case sorted out; we need to get that financial sustainability for everybody in that, and if we achieve that then I think that we will be in it for the foreseeable future. But as I say, there is a lot of work to do before we get there.”