Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says he has pushed back against suggestions the series should introduce four-wheel drive as one of the innovations for its third-generation car.
The electric single-seater series is introducing its Gen2 car for its fifth season, which gets underway in Saudi Arabia on December 15.
With major manufacturers such as Mercedes and Porsche signed up to join soon, there are concerns about costs getting out of control, and Agag says it is important for FE to focus on the right areas for development, even if that means disagreements with the manufacturers.
“What is key is to keep the road relevance, and we’ve been having some very interesting discussions with these OEMs about what our generation three car is going to be like,” Agag said at the Motorsport Leaders Business Forum in London.
“We are really fortunate to have a close working relationship with the FIA, we’re really aligned, so the FIA and the promoter have the same objectives, to control costs and be road relevant.
“To give you an example, and this is not final, for generation three, one school of thought is four-wheel drive, another is ultra-fast charging.
“For me it’s a very clear choice: the first four-wheel drive car was on the road in 1901, so somebody tell me where is the innovation with four-wheel drive? I don’t see it.
“Super-fast charging can change the world of electric cars. You go to the electric station, whatever you call it, and in two minutes your battery is full.
“That will be road relevant, so it’s very clear to me the roads we need to take and the roads we don’t need to take.
“It’s not always so easy to explain to the big OEMs who have super expertise on four-wheel drive.”
Agag said the new car, which will race for three seasons before it is replaced by the third-generation machinery, was the brainchild of FIA president Jean Todt, after they both came up with ideas for the Gen2.
“I didn’t want that car actually,” he said. “We had two designs.
“Jean did a design and I did a design, or I had people helping us do a design, and I liked my design and Jean liked his design.
“Obviously, we have the Jean Todt design and I have to say, Jean’s design is way better than my design.
“When I saw the car made, I sent a text to Jean and I said, ‘Listen, Jean, you were right and I was wrong, your design is amazing’.
“This is another lesson: when Jean has his mind set on something it’s just better to think about something else – he’s going to go for it.”