One of the most powerful figures in the global auto industry, Carlos Tavares, told The Race that he has doubled the Stellantis Group’s commitment to Formula E because it has “the greatest potential for growth in society”.
And his comments on how Formula 1 feeds into this potential FE growth are insightful.
Tavares, the CEO of the world’s fourth largest car manufacturer, described the current and future motorsport landscape as “huge development potential for Formula E” in his speech at the Rome E-Prix last weekend.
Tavares joined Stellanti’s Motorsport boss Jean-Marc Finot and Maserati CEO Davide Grasso in Rome, where Maserati announced further details of its entry into Formula E next season. It will lead a yet-to-be-named team from the current Venturi site in Monaco from the start of the Gen3 era of the all-electric World Championship.
Maserati joins stablemate DS Automobiles as registered manufacturer and will share powertrains with its sister brand for the first homologations of its return to international single-seater motorsport since 1960.
Tavares told The Race that due to societal pressure to phase out internal combustion engines in favor of EV technology, Formula 1 and Formula E are unlikely to coexist in the future as governments enforce legislation to reduce reliance on petrol and diesel engines to finish drafts.
“You can see that the big car manufacturers are already there [in Formula E]fight and try to compete,” he said.
“I believe there is a lot of room for improvement and growth in Formula E, which means at some point the question will be Formula 1 or Formula E, right? This question will come with time.
“What I also believe is that there will come a moment when Formula 1 will no longer be able to run on internal combustion engines, simply because the citizens will not accept it.
“The societal pressure will be so great that F1 will have to phase out ICE technology, which means that at this point Formula E and Formula 1 will have to discuss with the FIA the direction to take and find the right path.”
Tavares added that Formula E “is the growing discipline at the moment; The discipline that has the greatest potential for growth in the society where we are all working with a global warming problem that we need to solve is of course Formula E.”
“That’s the greatest potential right now, so we’ve brought two brands from Stellantis – Maserati and DS Automobiles – into this discipline,” he said.
Stellantis plans to invest at least $35.5 billion (€30 billion) in vehicle electrification and new software/technology by 2025. The group expects to have 55 electrified vehicles in Europe and the US alone by 2025, including 40 fully electric models and 15 plug-in hybrid models.
That’s an extraordinary amount of cash, and it’s clear that he and the brands he represents are convinced that Formula E will be crucial to the desirability of the DS and Maserati brands for several years to come 2025 to present.
Formula E is said to have a 25-year exclusivity clause for electric single-seaters, which would ensure it will be the premier electric world championship by 2039.
Formula E Chairman Alejandro Agag and his F1 counterpart Stefano Domenicali are known to have met several times in recent months to discuss the big picture of the future motorsport landscape.
Both work for companies owned by the same stakeholder, Liberty Media, albeit with nuanced strands.
These informal gatherings are set to continue for years to come, and while one of the most powerful people in the automotive world is praising Formula E, it’s clear, as Tavares himself says, that a discussion needs to ramp up quickly to “ensure the right way” for the future of both series.
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