BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - While Sebastian Vettel has turned his nose up at Formula E, describing the electric car racing series as “cheese”, its chief executive hopes the four-times world Formula One champion would one day get behind the wheel of a battery-powered race car.
“We’re big admirers of Vettel,” said Alejandro Agag on Thursday. “He just doesn’t like Formula E. Maybe one day we can convince him to come to Formula E.”
A pack of high-pitch humming electric vehicles will career through the streets of Buenos Aires on Saturday at speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour (136 miles per hour) in the fourth race of Formula E’s debut season.
Spanish businessman Agag hopes the series, which has the blessing of the FIA, motor sport’s governing body, will help electric vehicles shrug off an image problem and fine-tune their technologies.
Vettel’s comments, made before the inaugural race, would not have helped.
“People don’t think of them as quick, as cool” Agag said. “We respect what Vettel thinks, but I also respect what Alain Prost thinks,” he said, referring to the former Formula One great who heads up the championship’s e.dams-Renault team.
The cars look similar to those used in Formula One, with F1 teams McLaren and Williams supplying the electronics and battery respectively. Renault oversees the integration of various systems and Michelin provides the tyres.
Agag said he hoped to get more manufacturers on board, with the ultimate aim of becoming a fully-fledged world championship.
“We think that next year we will have at least four or five manufacturers in the championship,” Agag said, adding that it had taken “a miracle” to put the series together in two years.
“Two years ago we didn’t have cars, we didn’t have venues, we didn’t have teams. We didn’t have sponsors or broadcasters,” said Agag. “Today we have a championship going full-on with big fights between the drivers.”
Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Peter Rutherford
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