Mercedes-Benz has become the latest manufacturer to be linked to joining the Formula E grid, having signed an option agreement with the series organisers to enter the FIA Championship from 2018.
Should the option be taken up, the German manufacturer’s entry would be managed by Mercedes Grand Prix, the team which has claimed the past two F1 Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles, and looks set to repeat that feat again this year.
The move comes as part of Formula E’s bid to expand the grid from 10 to 12 teams for the 2018/19 season, which is reliant on the approval of all existing competitors.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, commented: “We have been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest. We are looking at all the options available in the future of motor racing, and we are very pleased with an agreement that secures us an opportunity to enter the series in Season Five.”
“Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry – racing has always been a technology R&D platform for the motor industry, and this will make Formula E very relevant in the future.”
Attracting brands and fans
While the announcement does not yet indicate that a full entry will be submitted, it is a clear indication that in just two full seasons Formula E has risen from motorsport start-up to a recognised marketing and technology testbed.
One only need consider the number of planned electric vehicles on show from major manufacturers at recent motor shows to see that this the clear focus for road car development, and as such affiliations with internal combustion-powered motorsports will lose some real-world relevance.
Formula E has done brilliantly to draw a loyal crowd of followers, establish new levels of fan engagement and establish genuine credibility in racing circles. With interest from the likes of Nissan, Volvo/Polestar, Porsche, Mugen, and now Mercedes, the future of the series looks to be very bright.