By Lena Siep | Initially an alien amongst the longstanding motorsport series, Formula E has become a hot candidate for sponsoring deals and technological partnerships thanks to its innovative format, new ways of communication and an increasing interest from manufacturers, hosting countries and fans alike. Würth Elektronik eiSos are one of the few companies, which have believed in the new racing series from the very start. As a technical partner of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, the manufacturer of electronic components hopes to raise its brand awareness and provide a stimulus for the technological development of automotive components for electric drives and eMobility. We speak to Marion Wagner, Head of Technology Partnerships eMobility and Christopher Becht, Head of Digital Communications, Würth Elektronik eiSos Group.
Würth Elektronik eiSos has been involved in Formula E since the electric racing series first hit the streets in 2014. How did you decide to embark on the experiment, which it was back then?
MW: The ABB FIA Formula E championship is “the symbol” for eMobility, one of the fastest and economically most attractive growing business fields of the future. We started as one of the first technology partners of the championship back in 2014 with the only German private racing team ABT Sportsline. Both companies have a long tradition and are family owned. For us, as one of the leading manufacturers of electronic and electromechanical components in Europe, it was the perfect match to develop the future needs of components. Of course, it was a risk, but we had a strong believe in our partner and the vision of Formula E. We believe eMobility stands for a better and cleaner environment as well as for high performance, sustainability and efficiency reflecting our mission: we speed up the future.
What is the appeal of Formula E versus other potential sponsoring opportunities?
MW: Formula E is a young and highly dynamic championship with a big impact in future technologies. For us, it’s not sponsorship in a classical sense. We understand the engagement as technology partnership. It’s a big package combining the raise of brand awareness, driving motivation for the employees, and developing our components on the same level.
Talking about brand awareness and communications, we can definitely say our technology partnership has a tremendous impact on our digital channels.
What exactly is the nature of your involvement in Formula E?
MW: We use the race circuit as a lab for our components to test them under extreme conditions. Würth Elektronik eiSos Group develops its components for the use under critical environmental conditions, such as temperatures beyond the standard range, vibration and humidity. We gain knowledge in order to improve our components, for example our REDCUBE Terminal series that has been designed already in the second season on the inverter boards. The development of the battery pack for the power management in the cockpit as well as the battery charger are further examples of our technical involvement. Many projects are already in progress, but those are confidential for now, obviously.
As technology partner of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team, you have continuously worked with one of the most successful teams in Formula E. How would you describe your success within the technology partnership?
CB: Talking about brand awareness and communications, we can definitely say our technology partnership has a tremendous impact on our digital channels. Our aim is to transfer the emotions of the race events via our social media channels, website, blogs, as well as on our product solutions. We use this emotional factor to highlight our innovative power for our target group. We use the same approach as the FIA to promote the series and this means “digital/mobile first”.
What expectations do you have as a technical partner regarding the overall infrastructure and sponsoring environment?
CB: Firstly, we absolutely believe in the racing series. And we also have high expectations of the FIA Formula E Holdings to further develop the organisational infrastructure on the venues, ticketing processes and media reach on TV, print and online for a continuously growing demand. Finding a trusted partner with similar company values with tradition and future orientation was equally important for us, and we were very happy to have found this in the private team of ABT Sportline. Well-known partners with tradition, perfect organisation from invitation management to hospitality for our customers and employees, steadily rising digital, print and TV ranges and networking within the industry are characteristics that were crucial to get involved in the racing series. In the end, of course, it is the people behind the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team and the shared vision and passion for the subject of electro mobility that make us happy and drive us every day.
Formula E has seen a significant raise in awareness and public recognition and will certainly evolve further thanks to the increased participation of manufacturers. What changes for you as a partner?
CB: We expect a higher interest from the public generally and of course an increased media reach and brand visibility in additional business fields, especially in the eMobility industries.
Looking to the future, what plans do you have with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler?
MW: After the last successful races, especially with a double podium on home soil in Berlin, the team is highly motivated to fight for the team championship title in Zurich and New York City. And this is our goal for this season!