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Formula E 2016-17

FIA Formula E prepares to make Hong Kong one of its showpiece events

Series boss Alejandro Agag says the city stands to benefit from being at the forefront of the sport’s development

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2016, 5:06pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2016, 9:54am

The future of motorsport lies with Formula E racing, chief executive Alejandro Agag said on Tuesday as Hong Kong unveiled plans for 30,000 fans to attend its inaugural e-Prix in October.

Formula E racing is the future as in a few years all cars will be electric powered
Alejandro Agag, chief executive of the Formula E series

Hong Kong will be one of 12 cities to host the championship series when it launches its third season of the new class of racing, which uses only electric-powered units, later this year.

Agag is confident his Formula E series could reach the same level of success as Formula One.

“Formula One has existed for more than 60 years while we only started two years ago,” said the Spaniard, who is in town for a ticketing announcement for the HKT Hong Kong e-Prix, which will take place on the Central harbourfront on October 8-9.

“But the future is with us as we are growing.

“I have been in the world of F1 for more than 10 years and still love F1 – I am a big fan – but Formula E is totally different. There is no noise, no gasoline smell like F1 but it is still very fast and exciting and the fans love it.

"Formula E racing is the future as in a few years all cars will be electric powered.”

WATCH: A simulation of the Hong Kong e-Prix track for the October race

Organisers on Tuesday announced there would be three grandstands accommodating more than 6,000 fans, while another 24,000 fans could watch the race on screens in the eVillage.

The Formula E series was only conceived in 2012 and is now in its second season with the championship culminating in two races in London in July, but Agag says it has come a long way, quickly.

140mph broadband speeds: HKT named as sponsors for inaugural Hong Kong Formula E showpiece

“This is only our second year and we have faced many difficulties, especially in the beginning because no one believed we would make it. That we would fail,” said Agag, a businessman who also has a stake in English Championship soccer club Queens Park Rangers.

“It has been a difficult project, almost impossible because we have had to start from scratch – no cars, no cities, no sponsors, no teams, no drivers and no TV ... nothing. It was difficult to make people believe that this would happen.

“Then everything became easier because people saw the reality.

“We are going to have more drivers and more big factory [teams] want to come.”

Agag cited the example of Paris where they raced in April.

“We had a one-year agreement but just after the race the mayor of Paris and myself announced there would be five more years,” he said.

Agag said Formula E would create a fan base for the younger generation.

“Young people are our target audience because the kids will drive electric cars when they grow up,” he said. “We are doing a lot of things on social media as we want to reach a new demographic.”

Electric dreams: Hosting a leg of the Formula E series will put Hong Kong at forefront of the technology race

He said the Hong Kong e-Prix would provide a new experience for people. “We want to make it the best race ever of Formula E in the streets of Hong Kong which will be watched by millions around the world,” said Agag.

“We will have images of racing cars with the Hong Kong harbour as the most beautiful background.

“We can only bring it here because we are electric or we could not be racing in the centre of the city,” he added.