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Formula E

The Power 12 – Part 2

We reveal the six most influential and powerful people in the Formula E paddock…

Photo: Formula E

Criteria: Individuals of significant authority in the Formula E paddock centered around matters of decision and influence.

Note: FIA President and co-founder of Formula E, Jean Todt, has been exempted due to his wide-ranging, significant and multi-faceted role in global motorsport.

6. Lucas di Grassi

The only driver to appear in the Power 12 is unsurprisingly Audi’s Lucas di Grassi.

He has, whether by fluke or design, become the unofficial face of not only the championship but also EV racing and autonomous vehicles activity too.

He was one of the original Formula E advocates and legend has it that he was the first name on the Formula E Operations payroll back in 2013.

Di Grassi engages emphatically on technical, political and sporting matters when it comes to Formula E.

Ally these traits to his role as CEO of Roborace and his position as an ambassador for UN Environment, you have something close to a racing polymath.

Oh, and he’s still a pretty good racing driver too!

Photo: Formula E

For the media, di Grassi is valuable and as an experienced professional he is very much well aware of that.

Offering genuine engagement and insight, he goes several steps further on a variety of topics and for that he is a highly sought sounding board.

It is no coincidence that he garners more column inches than his current colleagues on the grid.

5. Frederic Bertrand

The FIA’s director of circuit racing championships, Bertrand has immense responsibility and influence when it comes to the implementation of Formula E’s technical and sporting structure.

An expert in purchasing and supply chain business, Bertrand made a name for himself at Renault and PSA before joining the FIA in 2012.

Photo: fia.com

He rose to the position of director of circuit racing and has been instrumental in the practical activation of Formula E at the behest of president Jean Todt.

Strategizing and developing the category, Bertrand and his team’s work has attracted some significant praise, especially the management of the complex Gen 2 technical package.

Under Bertrand’s watch, the development of working groups and the entire structure of the championship from the FIA’s perspective is governed ensuring that teams and promoters are often led by his influence and that of the commissions and working groups which he manages.

4. Sheng Li

One could say that Li’s achievements over the last half a century remain as remarkable as any figure in recent Chinese business history.

Former Vice President of Market Development and China Head of Marketing for Visa Li founded the SECA company in 2010.

Photo: DS Techeetah/SECA

Not only does Li, through SECA, own the DS Techeetah team, but he was instrumental in securing what is believed to be a 9.5 percent stake in Formula E as a shareholder through SECA, the company ultimately responsible for the sports marketing strand of CMC.

Li rarely comes to races but he is active in ensuring that the decision making process is filtered through trusty lieutenants Edmund Chu (DS Techeetah President) and Ivan Yim (Managing Director).

The specific and precise influence that Li exerts as a shareholder in Formula E is relatively unknown, however.

But as the third biggest shareholder after Liberty Global and Discovery, it is evident that he has significant power in the paddock and beyond.

3. Alberto Longo

Alberto Longo is co-founder of Formula E, cousin of Alejandro Agag and as worthy of anyone in the paddock to embrace the moniker of ‘The Race Maker’.

Alberto Luis Alvarez De Sotomayor Longo, to give him his full name, is the Deputy CEO of Formula E but his major role is stitching together the intricacies of the championship calendar.

Photo: Formula E

His efforts, largely successful in ensuring some truly jaw-dropping key events in some of the world’s greatest capital cities, are greatly admired and revered in the paddock among stakeholders and the general Formula E community alike.

There have been tremendous successes and notable achievements – New York, Paris, Santiago, Rome and Hong Kong that Longo has been instrumental in.

The complexities of Longo not walking into the vacant CEO role were baffling to some, but for now he influences a great deal and is an important and popular senior member of Formula E’s senior decision makers.

2. Professor Burkhard Goeschel

It is to e-racing365’s regular amusement that ‘The Prof’ strolls languidly around the Formula E paddock completely devoid of attention or recognition outside of the teams and organizers.

This is because the low-key Goeschel wields probably the most amount of tangible power in the paddock because it is he and his FIA’s Electric and New Energy Championship Commission (ENECC) that informs the rest of the FIA on the direction in which the regulations will follow.

Photo: Rui Camillo

A self-deprecating good-humored former BMW board member, Burkhard’s influence defines the technical road map and the future of Formula E and other alternative fuelled and powered championships across the world.

Among an impressive plethora of honorary and non-executive positions he serves on the Research Commission and the Scientific and Ethical Advisory Board for the State of Bavaria.

If there is any doubt about Goeschel’s inclusion in this list then the words of one current team principal should be heeded.

“Without him, both the current landscape and future of where Formula E is going would be much less clear. For the manufacturers it would just be a much less clear and less attractive proposition.”

1.Alejandro Agag

It cannot be a major surprise that Agag is numero uno.

Not because he is the co-founder, the public face or any of the myriad remarkable things he has achieved since the dawn of Formula E at the start of the present decade.

It is simply because when it comes to influence, whether it be with global OEMs, high-profile partners or dipping back into his former political skills, Agag is both the power and energy of Formula E.

Grace his office in Hammersmith, London and you will find an array of photos of him with some of the biggest political figures of the last 30 years.

Photo: Formula E

That kind of influence, that kind of contact base is the domain of very few. But what is more impressive is the vision, calm authority and also knowing the right time to make the big decisions.

Are there any blots on the glowing electrified landscape for Agag?

Standing back from CEO duties this year and ensuring that the right man or woman is headhunted to try and replace the irreplaceable might be harder than he and his team think.

Then there is Extreme E. Has Agag bitten off way more than he can chew on this one?

We’ll find out soon, but presently it would be a brave person to bet against him pulling that monumental project off too.

That is why he is the most powerful person in the Formula E paddock and possibly will be for years to come.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Edward Hunter

    February 24, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Where is Mohammad BIn Salman in this list? Given that Agag bent over backwards to host the season opener in Saudi Arabia once he was given a ridiculous amount of money, I think we all know who really holds the most sway here when it comes to money.

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