Alejandro Agag is a businessman and former politician, now living in London as the Chairman of Addax Capital LLP and the CEO of Formula E Holdings, running the sport of Formula E. With business experience in Formula 1, other motorsport series and football, Alejandro has some unique insights about high-end racing as a whole, and he has agreed to share some of them with the Paddock magazine.
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What are you personally most passionate about in Formula E today?
There are many important things, but if I had to pin one down, I’d say it’s the work we do to influence cities, institutions and major organisations to spread the message of clean mobility and the urgency of real and lasting change.
The mission statement of Formula E has remained the same since the very beginning, and it hasn’t changed at all. We want to be the platform to test and develop technology that will speed up and increase the uptake of electric vehicles on a global scale. The world is moving towards electric power and Formula E is arguably the most road-relevant category in motorsport today.
However, it won’t just be the efforts of Formula E that instigate this change. Inner-city air pollution and climate change are some of the biggest challenges we face and it’s something we’ll only overcome if we take the initiative as a collective to tackle this problem. We all need to move in the same direction and that’s where our work comes in – talking with our network of road car manufacturers, partners and administrative offices of the cities we race in.
We saw it with our first-ever race in Rome: the city and Mayor Raggi understood the impact of Formula E and the ongoing commitment of the city itself in order to reduce emissions and create more renewable methods of transportation. Without the help and support of mayors and governments around the world, a safe and sustainable future will only be a dream. However, with the combined effort in terms of investment and innovation, we can get more clean vehicles on the road and the infrastructure to support it.
It may not be the most time-consuming side of the job if you look at the hours in our day, but it’s certainly the most important one by far.
Our teams, partners and stakeholders tend to have a shared vision and ambition.
From your perspective, how has the business side of Formula E changed over the recent years?
I guess you could say we’ve moved from being a start-up to becoming an established business. At the very beginning, it was just an idea and we needed to get it off the ground.
It’s not a secret we almost didn’t make it through our first year, but people believed in the concept and it’s seen us get to where we are today. Now, despite still only being in our fourth season, we’re looking at building the series further and re-investing in the company to see exponential growth.
I don’t want to go into details of the business model, but it’s about finding new revenue streams without losing sight of the end goal. That’s still eyeballs and the number of people following and engaging with Formula E long into the future.
What’s your vision for Formula E’s near future?
Well, we’ve seen a glimpse of it already – this sport is about performance and perception. The new-look, the next-generation car gives Formula E its own unique visual identity. I think people will now point at one of our cars and they will be able to shout out “that’s a Formula E car!” right away.
The sport is getting bigger, better, faster and more efficient. Not only in terms of the championship and the business but also with the cars out on the track.
Formula E appears to be solving many problems that Formula 1 is still struggling with. What, do you think, is the real secret to this kind of progress?
I can’t comment on other series, but I’m glad you think we’re solving some problems!
There isn’t a single secret to success, of course, there are multiple factors. We’re benefitting from being relatively new compared to sports with decades under their belt – we can steer the direction and build the foundations, rather than manipulating long-standing traditions.
The biggest variables are aiming towards a common goal and just being in the right place at the right time. Our teams, partners and stakeholders tend to have a shared vision and ambition. It’s electric racing and it’s within a city-centre urban environment. Having a clear understanding of what the future holds makes things easier. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.
What’s your take on how Liberty Media is doing with Formula 1’s evolution?
It’s tough to make observations, especially looking at it from the outside. I’m a fan of Formula 1, I still follow it and attend some races. It’s obviously still a work in progress and these things take time. But Liberty Media aren’t afraid to take risks and listen to the fans – I respect that kind of approach very much.