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I see long-term future for Formula E in India: Co-founder Alberto Longo

Formula E has grown immensely since its debut season in 2014

Formula E India

Formula E



Updated: 1 Feb 2023 1:34 PM GMT

Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo sees a long-term future for all-electric world championship race in India and exuded confidence that the bureaucratic hurdles and taxation issues, that had pushed Formula 1 out of the country, won't scuttle their plans since they have done enough "homework" to manage that. Londo also said the series may find it tough to achieve the popularity enjoyed by Formula 1 but it is already more relevant.

Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the first ever Formula E race in Jakarta, Longo sounded confident about going to Hyderabad next year. The first ever electric race in India is expected to take place on February 11. "The FIA World Motor Sport Council is meeting in 20 days. After that we will make the announcement of the calendar. Hopefully, Hyderabad would be part of the calendar. I am talking to them on a daily basis and hopefully we will reach the finish line soon," Longo said in an interview.

"India is a massive market for us, a tier 1 market for us. You don't know what the future brings but the intention is to stay there for a long time. It won't be a 20-year contract to start with. It would be a medium term deal and hopefully we extend it four or five years." Formula 1 came to India in 2011 but could survive only three seasons due to promoter's financial health and taxation issues. The bureaucratic red tape can also prove to be a hurdle in India with organisers having to deal both with the state and central government.

"Those issues were more related to tax. We have very good tax advisors, we know the challenges, we know the potential risks and liabilities that we have. We have done our homework on that front. If all goes to plan, I see a long term future for us in India," said Longo.

Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo

Formula E may not enjoy F1's popularity but it's more relevant'

Formula E has grown immensely since its debut season in 2014. It is home to major auto makers including Mahindra, Porsche, Jaguar, Nissan and Mercedes. "It is important to remember that why we started. The idea was to creat a platform to promote electric mobility. The mission is never ending in that sense," said Londo.

On the constant comparisons with F1, he said: "I am a big fan of Formula 1 myself. I was involved in the sport. But I also learnt what I would not take from F1 if I ever became a promoter." "I have all my respect for what they are doing but we are not competing with them. They are a fantastic racing championship but we race with a purpose. It is a lot more than a racing championship."

Can Formula E ever surpass Formula?

"I think they can co exist. The reality is that by 2030-2035 most of the world will ban the combustion engine cars. The world has turned electric and we are the only single seater platform of full electric cars that is out there and we will only get bigger. "But will that be enough to overtake F1, it doesn't worry us today but eventually it could happen. But it is surely more relevant than F1 and any other championship. "What our manufacturers do has an impact on road cars straightaway. That has not happened in many many years in motorsport."

Honour to have Mahindra Racing since season 1

"It has been an honour to have them. What I value most about them is their loyalty. I remember visiting Anand Mahindra and Dilbagh Gill (CEO) back in 2013. They said yes straightaway. We had nothing by then. It was just an idea. They just believed in the idea. Because of Mahindra, we could go to other manufacturers to join us. They have been a massive help," said Longo. He concluded by talking about his long term plans for Asia. "The only reason we are not racing a lot in Asia is because of Covid.

Our target is to divide the world in three mega geographical zones -- Americas, Europe and Asia. "Asia is a key market for us and we are proving it by coming here to Jakarta, hopefully going to India and China soon as Covid is over. We want to race in the five biggest cities of Asia," he said.

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