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Formula E on track to announce £25m of new investment

NEWS STORY
08/04/2014

Formula E, the world's first fully-electric motorsport series, is set to announce that investment funds have injected around £25m into the business according to an article in the Independent written by Christian Sylt.

It is another big boost for Formula E which launches in September and is being taken increasingly seriously within the racing industry.

Its Hong Kong-based parent company Formula E Holdings (FEH) is majority owned by Spanish real estate tycoon Enrique Banuelos and Formula E's chief executive Alejandro Agag. In December they sold around 10% of it for an estimated £12.5m to Causeway Media Partners, an American fund founded by venture capitalist Bob Higgins along with Wyc Grousbeck and Mark Wan, the co-owners of the Boston Celtics, the most successful team in the NBA basketball league.

"The Americans were one of a bigger round of investors," says Agag. "We have completed the round now and a number of investors came on board so there are others to be announced. Financial investors of the same size more or less. There are three investors. They are more funds than companies."

The Formula E cars have a top speed of 150mph and are powered by 300bhp electric motors made by McLaren. They will race in ten city-centre locations including Los Angeles, Miami, Monaco and London which will host the finale in June next year.

"In 2015 I think it can go up to two more. Hong Kong will be added I think. The ultimate plan is to grow it to 20 races in five years," says Agag. It confirms news revealed by Pitpass in February that the Formula E calendar is expected to hit 20 races by 2019. It will start with wide television coverage.

Last month Agag signed a deal to show all the races live on ITV4 in the UK and his sights are now set on securing a £15m sponsorship which gives naming rights of the Formula E trophy and logos on every car.

"We are talking to three different parties about a cup sponsorship. Progressing with the three in parallel. There is one bank, there is one energy company and there is one retail internet company. We hope to finalise in the next two or three months."

He adds that the annual running costs of the series will be around £40m with approximately 60% of the budget coming from sponsorship. Hospitality, merchandise and tickets will provide around 30% with the remainder coming from fees from broadcasters.

Formula E has not asked cities for a race hosting fee but requires them to provide prime positions for the race as well as assistance with the preparations and introductions to local sponsors. It organises many of the races itself and keeps the ticket revenue. In contrast, F1 uses external promoters and the £309m they pay in race hosting fees comprises the largest single source of its £965m revenue.

McLaren isn't the only British brand involved with the Formula E car as Williams will be supplying the batteries as Pitpass has also revealed. Watch manufacturer TAG Heuer will handle the timing, Michelin will provide the tyres and Renault is the technical partner.

Its ten teams have a glittering array of owners including Audi, Sir Richard Branson, ex-Formula One champion Alain Prost, Hollywood A-Lister Leonardo DiCaprio and Lord Drayson, Britain's former Minister of State for Science and Innovation. They will be restricted by a £2.4m budget cap to prevent costs from accelerating to the level seen in F1 where the average team spends 50 times more every year. It will be a good test-bed to see whether this is a model which works in high-level single-seater racing.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 28/04/2014 20:15

"How much Scaletrix track does 25 million pounds buy?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by markscottuk, 08/04/2014 22:26

"Formula E.on maybe? oh and what will Bernard make of the lack of engine noise?"

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3. Posted by Hardliner, 08/04/2014 20:24

"100% damp squib, boring,inane, pointless, gutless, waste of space, but I'm sure it will be very popular with both viewers and so successful that it might even make Round 2. All these celebs, none of any relevance whatsoever to car racing "

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4. Posted by GoodPublicity, 08/04/2014 12:58

"The racing industry will be mighty disappointed when it finally realises that motorsport fans have minuscule interest in its high-falutin' series.

The fans' silence will match that of the cars."

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