Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle believes the electric racing series has its own unique success story to build in India. Speaking ahead of the Hyderabad ePrix on February 11, the Canadian stated that the series has been successful in many other markets due to its uniqueness.
Asked if he was optimistic about cracking the market in a way Formula 1 couldn’t, Reigle said :
“Well look I mean I can’t really speak for Formula 1 in India, ok just to be clear. Do I believe that Formula E has a very powerful story to tell in India, last night I was this event with Mahindra, and you could see their employees and their executives, how excited they are. I mean I know it’s a small sample set but people will see with Formula E, we put on great Motorsport and it’s really exciting."
"If I used the closest example, closest to town- last year we went to Jakarta there was no race track, literally three months before. We ended up having great racing, no one knew anything less than they known about India than they know about Indonesia.”
Refraining from comparing the success of Formula 1, Reigle was confident about Formula E succeeding at its inaugural event in Hyderabad. The Canadian said India is a market that has intrigued global motorsport and that the electric series had its own uniqueness to build its own success story.
Reigle attended the Mahindra Racing and Mahindra Group events in the build-up to the race. He was impressed and overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of the group of employees and people present at the event.
The electric racing series chief feels the success of the Indonesian race in Jakarta is a prime example of new markets succeeding on the calendar. He did acknowledge, however, that the Jakarta circuit was supposed to be prepped within three months. This resulted in a layout that produced great racing.
Formula E CEO believes Hyderabad ePrix will have its learnings but is positive it can be a success
Citing the Jakarta ePrix as an example, Jamie Reigle revealed that Formula E paddock was startled by the success of the venue on their calendar.
The former Manchester United commercial director revealed there were approximately 60,000 people at the Indonesian venue. This was despite the skepticism surrounding the success of the event.
Reigle did anticipate that there will be important lessons to learn at the inaugural Hyderabad ePrix. However, he feels the electric racing series will be able to introduce itself to Indian audiences successfully.
Explaining the Indonesian example, Reigle said:
“I live in Singapore and I’ve been to Indonesia many times with Manchester United. We went there we had 60,000 people, everyone in the paddock, their minds were blown, the hell we didn’t know this country was here, let alone their passionate fans who were really excited about car racing."
"I think we are going to open peoples minds, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect, there are going to be lots of learnings. But that’s what’s really exciting for me.”
Reigle and Co. have signed a four-year contract with the Hyderabad authorities. The Canadian also stated the importance of building the venue as a key Formula E market over a period of time.
The Indian Formula E round was a success with its audience turnout and a complete sellout with its tickets, as anticipated by the Canadian. The business model of the electric racing series clearly differs from F1, with the primary focus being on making the sport accessible.
Hosting a global event in a Tier 2 city such as Hyderabad, where both Mahindra and Tata have massive tech facilities, is a bonus. The Hyderabad race had its hiccups but did surprise many with the spectator turnout and could become India’s motorsport success story in the making.