Major boosts from India and Japan as Formula E gains momentum
Posted By:   |  30 Nov 2013   |  8:34 am GMT  |  75 comments

The Mumbai-based company, Mahindra Group, has announced that it is to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship from 2014 under the name of Mahindra Racing.

They become the eighth team to join the new series, which is set to host its first race in Beijing in September next year. At the same time, one of Japan’s leading broadcasters, TV Asahi, has taken exclusive TV rights for the series in Japan.

The Mahindra Group is one of the largest multinational corporations in India and covers a broad range of businesses. Expertise in aerospace, agriculture and financial services now includes the ‘e20’ electric car and the decision to move in to Formula E came naturally.

“We strongly believe that Formula E can provide an excellent global showcase for our electric vehicle technology,” said Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra Group.

“With advanced operations and expertise in electronics, IT, automotive technologies and manufacturing, we are already seeing the fusion of this technology into our electric vehicle operations. Racing will further accelerate that trend while Formula E is set to raise awareness globally about the benefits of electric vehicles.”

The move to car racing comes after three years in the MotoGP paddock, competing in the 125cc class in 2011, before switching to the newly-named Moto 3 series in the last two years.

Mahindra Racing become the eighth team to join the Championship and have less experience than many of their competitors. They are the third team from Asia, following China Racing and Super Aguri’s inclusion, who have previously competed in A1 GP and Formula One respectively.

Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing of Indycar are to be joined by Drayson Racing, e.dams and Audi Sport ABT from Europe to make for a healthy field with almost a year until the inaugural season.

“We are very proud to have a major global company like Mahindra join the FIA Formula E Championship,” added Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings. “

“Adding a manufacturer from India to what is already a real global mix of teams is fantastic news for the series. Everything is coming together very well and we look forward to presenting all ten teams to the FIA World Motor Sport Council next month.”

Meanwhile TV Asahi announced on November 29 that they’ve taken exclusive Japanese broadcasting rights for the Formula E Championship.

They will show live coverage of all Formula E races as well as practice and qualifying sessions with a potential reach of 51.4 million households. Fuji TV has long held the F1 rights, but this marks the first move back into motorsports for Asahi since 2003.

“TV Asahi has acquired the exclusive rights to the live broadcast of the new FIA Formula E Championship in Japan,” said Hiroshi Hayakawa, President of TV Asahi. “This will see a return to motorsport for us since the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003. For us, the striking difference of Formula E compared with existing motorsport events is their attempt to adopt new features such as the ‘real-time gaming’ directly connected to the race and ‘Push-to-Pass’ linked with the SMS platform – both elements which embrace the next generation of broadcasting.”

He added: “In a world where a new structure of TV broadcasting is demanded, we are convinced that Formula E has the content which appeals not only to the existing motor sport fans but also to the youth generation that fully utilises multimedia.”

The first run of a Formula E car, the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, was completed last week by test driver Lucas Di Grassi. The Brazilian former Virgin Racing driver completed 40 laps of the La Ferte Gaucher circuit in France, using an electric motor with just 50kw of power, a quarter of the 200kw battery that will be raced next year.

“It is a great feeling to be driving the Formula E car for the first time,” said Di Grassi.

“I can assure all the drivers will have a lot of fun with this car – even with just a quarter of the power it has quite a lot of grip and the electric motor produces huge torque.”

Featured Innovation
technical innovation from tata COMMUNICATIONS
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Enlarged version of Scalextric. Eventually it will have to happen I guess and it will be like those sic-fi movies with the whizzing audio like Speed Racer if you’ve watched it. Sounds from the screeching rubber will be more audible which can be interesting though. Personally I still prefer the V12 screams but gotta move on with the times. More important will be the racing with close fights which is the core of motor racing. No point whining anymore and enjoy what’s coming for the future. I find it difficult to give up after decades being a fan in motorsports.


I am looking forward to this, but I might have to eat my words.

After a previous article on this site, someone commented on the sound of the cars (a sound I hadn’t heard at the time). I responded that it wouldn’t matter what they sounded like, as long as they were quick enough,people will watch.

Well I’ve heard them now, and it’s horrible…and that’s just one. What will a dozen of these things sound like?

We’ll need someone like Murray or James to drown out the whine.


Looking forward to it.


can they get their act together at ITV and get it please. their schedule of sport is pretty threadbare

sky would only get it to destroy it as they have F1


There are studies ,I think one of them by Berkeley, University of California that prove that while an electric car produces less emisions in the streets , with the technology existing as of today the carbon emmisions during its manufacture are so big that even establshing a 10 year lifetime the carbon imprint would be negative in comparison with a traditional car during the same period ,taking manufacture into account.I will try to find the article and post the link.

On the same train of thought I am not optimistic that E-racing is going to be at all entertaining .We will have radio messages like ” I am saving tyres but also my kilowatts are going down ,you think we could change batteries in the next pit stop ? And forget racing with rain, too dangerous.


I tend to take a default reaction against electric racing cars, just as I do against electric and hybrid cars in general, but opening my own mind a little, there is potential in here. I tend to think they will be making a mistake if they promote the fact of the cars being powered by electricity as the USP of the series, as ultimately 1) who cares and 2) like me, many are likely to take a cynical view. If the series is promoted as being an exciting, innovative series with city-centre races then it becomes more viable. There are some serious, and popular teams involved in it and holding races in city centres is sure to grab attention. Add in a few ‘name’ drivers and if the racing is exciting then I could see Formula E gaining some momentum, especially if F1 continues to be dull, overly-politicised and financially challenging for participants AND fans.


We can only hope that the series accelerates the efficiency of the carbon footprint these cars leave in comparison to Internal Combustion Engines. Ive read several articles that suggest the whole process of producing a car, running it through its useful life and recycling would draw very little difference between very efficient petrol cars to electric cars. Further Im not so sure that prolonged use of high voltage power cells does not have some impact on health. Every other electric power source has some material impact on people and whilst Im sure it’s safe in short term no one really knows the long term effects especially as the higher the capacity and charge of the cells become.

It will certainly be interesting to see this series progress and having major manufacturers like Audi, Mahindra involved is a very strong sign. As this suggest that’s whatever the hurdles that arise ,the investment backing will be there to overcome them. In time we will see the guys from F1 filter down into this series also which will be rather interesting. It will not interest me until the cars become quicker than F1– but sadly the way F1 is heading with tyres- that might not be all that far away!


If the race car doesn’t have a spark plug I am not interested, and that goes for glow plugs as well. Just one man’s opinion.



I have just caught up with Fridays F1 show on Sky – in which they show a clip of the Red Bull team trying to rev their Renault V8 to destruction (in the pits after the Brazilian GP) – BLOODY HELL!!!!!

I know it’s childish, immature and a bit of a boys thing, but the look of joy on the faces of the assembled team members (remember they work with these cars every day of the year)says all you need to know about why Formula E will struggle to catch on.


We used to do the exact same thing in school with electric motors and other electrical components. See what we could do to make them go as fast as possible and see what it took to destroy them. This kind of fun is endless and not only limited to combustion or electric technology…


Here is the link to the clip I mentioned above:

Do you really think electric motors will have the same appeal for the majority of race fans? I can’t see it myself. 🙂


I just wish this was happening this year. Its a long wait, sigh….

Bring back V12's !!!

Can’t be any worse (in terms of boring and lack of actual racing/spirit) than the current state of F1. I suppose I’ll give it a chance before I knock it, but I just can’t see this as real motor racing without the sound and atmosphere of well, motors?


James, suggest to the powers that be that they should launch a computer game to capture fans at home. But make it:

– available on consoles AND mobile devices

– downoladable updates throughout the year to keep the cars & drivers real-world accurate

– online championships, online fastest lap competitions with incentives

– launch it at the begining of the season so that we can play along during the whole season

All of those things would trump any F1 game.

And if it’s too hard, tell them to call EA and just be a part of Real Racing 3. Hyundai has done it recently with it’s new WRC car…


This is an extremely good idea. If they make the game free and instead look to the sponsors to pay royalties for the extra exposure of their branding the game will bring, then it can have a really wide appeal and a HUGE audience. If they can find some real prize money for the yearly game/online champions, then they can look to having an avalanche in popularity.


Doesn’t need to be real prize money (although I like..), but maybe a trip to the grand finale of something like that. Marketing dream for the series..

In Real Racing 3, Hyundai has put up a prize of a trip to the Monaco WRC rally next year, just by driving their WRC car in the game and logging the fastest lap. Oh and that game is completely free, yeah, plus it’s on Android and iPhone so you can virtually play it anywhere – the train, the mother in law’s, you name it.

No I don’t work for them 🙂

Hope someone does this for F-E, would be a great game.


So the car makers involved so far are Renault and Mahindra (albeit in very different capacities)?


Audi through the ABT team, and although McLaren isn’t a full line type of manufacturer they’re the ones doing the electronics so there is support from car makers.


Races to be decided by fan boy text vote ‘fan boost’.

Is Simon Cowell involved?


It is obviously positive news re. Team involvement but other than cursory mention of the cities wishing to partake as venues there seems to be no news as to progress of circuit planning and infrastructure.

We are aware of the problems surrounding the proposed F1 New Jersey circuit, how will it be possible for all these cities to create a GP circuit of acceptable standards in what is now less than twelve months.

Although this is a different series to F1 the safety risks and spectator viewing facilities will require no less detail.

I can foresee this series failing to make the impact it’s hoping for due to lack of adequately prepared venues.

James do know if any of the venues have actually seriously drawn up the necessary details yet?


Hi james always wondered why Mahindra never entered the f1 scene..btw will formula e be covered by this site… I sincerely hope so…as new tech is always xciting..


I asked the same question and was told yes, at least to some degree James will follow it 🙂


Feeling excited about M&M entering Formula E. Mr. Allen, any idea which broadcaster will telecast Formula E in India?




If it is true, I would watch for sure.

Its been years that the inefficient Mahindra-Reva have been selling for only one reason. It was the only option in India and that too in select cities. I live in Bangalore, the home of Reva. Hope the lessons learnt IN F-E would flow into the car that they sell and we can seriously consider buying one in a few years from now.


I’m really starting to look forward to this now, all I want to see now is a few big name drivers from various racing series’. Has Loeb got anything planned when Formula E starts?


I just can’t see this formula taking off and capturing the publics imagination. It smacks of a gimmicky ‘green’ FIA marketing idea – I suspect it will fade away after a season or two.


Interest could pick up when a few good ex-F1 drivers rock up to play.

Looking more and more likely with the financial midfield mess of teams folding, or more racers being left out as they take on the biggest paying drivers.

DTM was way more attractive when Hakkinen, Frentzen, Ralf Schu, DC and Alesi were mixing it with the regulars.

That is if it can shake off the image issues. I still imagine the drivers will all sit on the pit wall with their cars in slots as they all hold their trigger controllers 😉



I have zero interest in F-E.


Not so sure your right on this one.

So much depends on the way the series is marketed and the quality of racing and drivers. The noise issue could be a big turn off, but as most F1 fans watch the majority of their races on TV where the sound is totally ruined, maybe it’s not such a big issue. So even if a bit muted live, Formula E could be make for great tv and that after all is where the cash is.


40 comments on this article, compared to 302 (correct at the time of writing) on Maldanado moving to Lotus. Not a particularly scientific measure, but a reasonable ‘snapshot’ of how much interest there is in Formula E, amongst motor racing fans, on this site. I suspect that lack of interest will be replicated in the wider public and the teams will run out of money. The series will simply disappear through lack of support.

Time will tell if I am right 🙂


Give it a chance, man. It hasn’t even started.

I think had internet blogs been around 150 years ago, equine discussions would’ve been much more popular than the advancement and potentialities of automotive racing…And we all know that horses remain to this day the backbone of our transportation and agricultural industries…


Hey Tim,

As you said that this isn’t a very scientific measure. First of all I think F.E. would be satisfied to have a fan base, a quarter in size of F1 by the end of their first year.

It will take some time for the top drivers to move there, fascinating stories to develop and audience to get there heroes and villains.

It should also be considered that JAonF1 has a very passionate and educated F1 fan base which wouldn’t look too kindly to Electric cars. F.E. might penetrate markets that F1 has so ‘earnestly’ tried and failed.

It suddenly becomes more relevant for countries like India and China which would have their own teams and probably their own drivers as opposed to the European dominated F1 scene.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge F1 fan but try to keep myself open to new ideas. I personally believe that a competitive racing series with a substantial following would do more good than bad to F1. It may hopefully lead to some soul searching and ground reality checks that F1 of today desperately needs …


I thought the same as you do about EVs in general until my Tesla Model S test drive this past July – it turned my opinion by 180 degrees. Being such a believer now that sometimes I have to watch myself not to appear too much of a nut.

Regarding “green”, from the articles that I’ve read, the carbon foot print for EVs could even be bigger than that of an ICE (internal combustion engine) if one counts the energy needed to build the batteries including mining. But with each mile driven, it gets greener even if the grid is powered by coal due to efficiency associated with scale (such as heat capture) that is not available for individual ICE cars. What is green about it is the potential for improvement once battery technology, recycle, and source of grid power improve.

The torque is what’s exciting. Regen is what’s exiting. Test drive for yourself, the you’ll know what I mean. The feeling is like rocket ship/roller coaster 🙂


Each to his own – for now, at least, I will stick with my C2S 🙂


Eventually everything will need to be green if we want to keep civilisation working on an even keel. So, no, it won’t fade away. Embrace the future.


My point is, there is nothing, whatsoever, about this formula which is green or greener than a ‘normal’ racing formula.

Manufacturing, transportation etc will still consume huge amounts of resources. The only difference is the ‘exhaust’ gases from these cars comes out of a power station chimney, instead of the back of the car.


I don’t like this attitude of ‘well everything else isn’t green’ ‘it’s only worth it if everything is green off the bat’ and Tim you didn’t say this but others have ‘the cars are slow compared to other forms of racing’.

It reeks of hypocrisy, and lacks a sense of history and understanding of development. It’s like adopting an attitude that… as if F1 never had to develop from slow lumbering cars to what it is today.

It also ignores incrementalism. Not everything has to be a big perfect one size fits all solution right from the start. If that was the case, nothing would ever get done. It’s not like NASA said, ‘right we need to build a rocket that needs to go to the moon right off the bat! We cannot spend time developing a series of rockets/technology to complete a bigger mission’


True, but in a way how else is one going to progress from a fossil fuel based energy industry? To initially build the product and technology, one uses the old technology. Once the infrastructure and new technology has advanced, then the manufacturing and transportation will happen via within the new system (solar/wind power, etc, fusion, or whatever else)…


Apologies if I misunderstood your comment. I agree with what you say. However, it’s a lot easier to deal with emissions at the power station than from the tail pipe of a vehicle. These sort of ideas will need experimenting with and testing if we’re to develop new ways of using–and conserving–energy. Seen how KERS and ERS (not an F1 invention but definitely improved by the sport) is finding its way into other areas? Like this from Williams Engineeering:


Do we know who has the UK TV rights to Formula E? I read Sky were interested but was hoping it might be shown on terrestrial television.


If Formula-E does not get decent terrestrial TV network coverage it will, at best, be a marginal interest sport in whatever country. Look what has happened to WRC, it is nearly completely ignored in the UK now by the mainstream media. When it was on prime time TV we had two world champions.

We need the BBC,ITV,Channel 4 or Five to show all the races with build up, practice and decent after race interviews.


James, do you know how much it is costing these groups to field a team for the year? Great to see it’s getting more momentum!


The promoter has said a few teams that annual team spend shouldn’t exceed around $5million, although teams have been very tight lipped thus far about finances


$5 million? That seems very conservative, but in a good way. I like the cut of F-E’s jib and a reasonable spend is a good way to attract and retain teams.

I never understood why Ferrari couldn’t go racing for under $100 million, let alone the 300 or 400 that they spend.

The regulations are converging to the point where it’s almost a single chassis formula.


Let’s hope they turn up as Mahindarace and not Mahindarance 🙂


I find it offensive Mr Freeman. Mahindra and Mahindra’s Reva or G-Wiz is the world’s largest selling electric car. They are one of the fastest growing companies in India. They were frontrunners to take over Aston Martin


Really? I thought the G Wiz was pretty small. Certainly it looks small on TopGear. And the take over of Aston Martin ofends you as well? That’s terrible. I will write to Mahindra and ask them to oppologise to you for the size of the G Wiz and the Aston take over. Or are you offended because they are entering Formula E? I will ask them to oppologise for that too.


Ok Mr s… Do tell me, why is this offensive to you personally? What is your ‘personal’ connection to ‘sacred’ Mahindara, please explain.

Ps, M&M’s are great I agree. And kids love them too!


I found your comment about Mahindrance offensive. that all. The other stuff I posted to show how great M & M are


Makes perfect sense. To a company that’s looking to get into motor sports, and that isn’t a manufacturer of internal combustion engined cars today, Formula E must look a lot more attractive than Formula 1, where the odds are stacked firmly against newcomers – not just because the established teams have a natural head start, but also because of the protracted licensing deals, the “Ferrari bonus”, and the huge outflow of money to the “commercial rights holder”, etc.

Technology-wise, Formula E and Formula 1 will almost certainly converge. But while Formula 1 has demonstrated that it is capable of constantly innovating and updating its cars, its organizational structure looks much more resistant to change.

Formula E looks like a chance to have a fresh start, whereas anyone joining Formula 1 today must feel like a late entrant to a pyramid scheme.



Do you know if Sky sports F1 will be showing formula E in the UK?


One would imagine that in order to promote it, they will show it on free-to-air TV.

Then again, think the word ‘imagine’ should be replaced with ‘hope’ 🙁


Then again, think the word ‘imagine’ should be replaced with ‘hope’.

Or perhaps, pray 🙂

Bring back V12's !!!

If it is as hopelessly organised and broadcast around the world (outside of UK) as Formula 1 is at the present then I certainly wouldn’t be imagining or hoping for too much mate.


Don’t know yet


Ten Sport in Australia – the home of F1


Do you know if Ten Sport in Australia will be broadcasting Formula E


Arguments have been made that Formula E tech is far too conservative. But that may be what has attracted Mahindra:


Adding to your round up was news that former F1 drivers Karun Chandhok and Takuma Sato look set to join the sport: Chandhok for Mahindra and Sato as a development driver.


Sato as development driver?! What will he be developing – the strength of the parts?! Don’t get me wrong, I used to really like Taku in F1 and he is a seriously quick driver but ever since he’s gone to Indycar he only ever seems make the news for crashing the car. Earlier this year he was given a warning for his conduct by Race Direction and he was also involved in Dario Franchitti’s horror accident last month.

Interesting to see Mahindra in the series and how they get on. They started slowly in MotoGP’s 125cc/Moto3 category but had a pretty good season this time round; I was quietly impressed by the performances of young Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira on their bikes and hope that both team and rider will keep moving forwards next season and also be competitive in Formula E.

Didn’t think I’d follow F-E that much but the drip-feed news that comes through is intriguing and it may be worth checking out the series when it starts – to see what it’s like. Time will tell I guess.


In Sato’s defence, he was as much of a passenger as Franchitti in that accident once he ran out on to the marbles. It was exceptionally unfortunate for both that Franchitti was where he was at the time, as normally both would have come away unscathed (or at worst Sato alone would have brushed the barriers). He is inconsistent, but the guy still has some talent.


I’d like to know how Mahindra’s Formula E effort compares to the MotoGP programme. Their race bikes come from the Italian company Engines Engineering with co-operation from Suter – will the Mahindra Formula E be designed and built in India or similarly come from an acquistion/partnership in Europe?

Their MotoGP programme seems to be successful – as you say, good results this season and next season a couple of other teams will be using their bikes. It will be interesting to follow their Formula E progress.

Top Tags
SEARCH Innovation