On the day the ABB FIA Formula E Championship's latest challenger - the Gen2 EVO - was revealed, sparking a new chapter of the all-electric racing series, we speak with FIA President Jean Todt about the growth of Formula E and why it's incomparable to any other series on the planet.
After the new Gen2 EVO broke cover ahead of its debut in the 2020/21 season, FIA President Jean Todt declared the all-electric series was in a "class of it's own," despite being in only its sixth season. Todt spoke alongside Chairman and Founder Alejandro Agag and ABB FIA Formula E Championship CEO Jamie Reigle in Formula E's headquarters in London.
"I've always said that Formula E is the category which must have the vision for the future," said Todt, recounting the formation of the series alongside Agag. From an idea scribbled on the back of a napkin in a restaurant in Paris in 2011, Formula E has developed into one of the fastest-growing sports on the planet, with the aim of demonstrating the potential of electric mobility to help create a better, cleaner world.
"Considering we started with two cars needed to finish a race and now, after five years, we can do it with just one is outstanding because we can demonstrate that motor racing is not only a show but also a laboratory.
"We don't want to have a car that looks like Formula One or Formula Two - we want a car that looks well ahead."
In the space of just four years, the championship ushered in the radical new Gen2 car, which boasted nearly twice the energy storage capacity of the original Gen1 car, enabling it to complete a whole 45-minute race without the need for a mid-race car swap. With such rapid technological development, the series soon attracted more manufacturers, seeing Mercedes-Benz and Porsche join the grid ahead of the 2019/20 season. Already looking ahead to the seventh season, where the electric racing series competes under the banner a World Championship, the new-look Gen2 EVO will make its debut in for the first time.
"We found a good designer and they came back with good results," recalls Todt about the design of the championship's cars and its most recent addition.
"The Formula E design is different from any other single-seater and Formula E must be comparable to no other category in motorsport.
"Some people ask if it could be a competitor to Formula One but it's completely different - it's in a class of its own."