A future ABB Formula E Championship calendar featuring at least two races in mainland China is “a necessity”, according to TECHEETAH’s Managing Director Ivan Yim.
Yim has told e-racing365 that China is key to enhancing the future exposure and prosperity of Formula E as it is the world’s fastest growing EV marketplace.
Yim, who works for the SECA organisation that owns and runs the TECHEETAH Formula E team, is one of the most influential members of the Formula E paddock owing to SECA’s stakeholding in the championship itself.
“The thing is if you want to drive this series forward very quickly you have to prioritize what are the key markets [for manufacturers],” said Yim.
“I like places like Marrakesh, but I am not sure that it is a key driver for what you are trying to do. What Formula E needs to do is to look at what are the key car markets, and then really establish priorities around putting races in those core markets.
“So for China I am hoping that means at least two races.”
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag has often spoken about a mainland Chinese race, and the championship is under some pressure to find a suitable venue for Season Five.
Beijing hosted a Formula E race in the championship’s first two seasons, but fell away from the calendar in 2016 to make way for the Hong Kong event that debuted for Season Three.
While a deal to return to Hong Kong for a double-header in Season Five is understood to be 90% agreed, a race in mainland China is yet to be finalized.
China at Centre of Electric Revolution
Yim also explained to e-racing365 the seismic changes that China is implementing internally in order to lead the way in electric technology in the automotive industry.
“I believe that e-mobility is going to come a lot quicker than we think,” explained Yim.
“When you think about it, over 70 percent of China’s electricity is coming from coal powered stations and so China has the pollution issue which they are trying to deal with and discontinuing their over-reliance on oil imports. This is not a good thing for China, so we are going to see EV technology grow very quickly.”
Yim believes that China’s forward-thinking approach to reducing emissions and embracing e-mobility will have a significant rub-off for Formula E through technology transfer with automakers and new start-up EV companies.
“I think that e-mobility in China is going to grow as fast as some of the business we have seen around the internet,” Yim said.
“We have seen Baidu Inc, Tencent Holdings Ltd and all these companies came on quickly in the last five or 10 years because China doesn’t have a legacy in a lot of areas.
“The actual number of cars on-the-road situation is a big thing as well. China has a large number of cars on the road and C02 emissions are a social and macro-economic issue.
“When the [Chinese] government wants something to change, they are going to make it happen very quickly, so initiatives like Formula E will benefit hugely.”