It was in the City of Light where the lightbulb moment happened. The concept of Formula E was born in Paris as a means to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles and alternative energy solutions through motorsport.
Alejandro Agag, Jean Todt and Antonio Tajani, sitting President of the European Parliament, had the vision during a dinner in Paris on March 3, 2011, to create a racing series powered solely by electric cars held on the streets of the world’s leading cities.
Six years have since past, and the FIA Formula E Championship today returned to the same city to announce that grandstand tickets are now sold out for the second edition of the Paris ePrix on May 20.
Agag revealed the news in front of a selection of top French media and local authorities at a press conference held at the FIA headquarters in the French capital, alongside FIA President Jean Todt, Renault e.dams co-founder and team principal Jean-Paul Driot, as well as TECHEETAH driver Jean-Eric Vergne.
He was also joined by General Bruno Le Ray - Military Governor of Paris and Major General, Serge Orru - Advisor to the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Olivier Le Quere - Deputy Mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris representing Rachida Dati, and Pierre Rabadan - Sports Advisor to the Mayor of Paris.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E, said:“It’s fantastic to be here in Paris at the headquarters of the FIA who continue to show support for the series, and to welcome a number of media and local dignitaries to discuss the growth of Formula E and its focus on fan engagement. Formula E wants to bring racing to the people - what better way to do so than bring electric street racing to cities such as Paris where it all started.”
Jean Todt, President of the FIA, said: “Together with Alejandro, we had the idea to create Formula E and I’ve always dreamt of a race in Paris. Last year’s event was an historic moment and a great spectacle around Les Invalides - and in close proximity to the FIA headquarters. Formula E is the perfect showcase of new electric vehicle technologies and attracts more and more interest in the mass adoption of clean mobility solutions in urban settings around the world.”
Vergne, who crossed the line in second place for DS Virgin Racing in Paris last season, said: “It was a special feeling to stand on the podium in Paris last year - it was a great result for both me and the team. But there’s still one more step to go - the top step. Winning in Paris would mean a lot to me, and we’ll work hard to give it our best shot. There were so many people last year and the podium was an incredible moment, I look forward to seeing them again at my home race.”
Fans can also follow the electrifying wheel-to-wheel action in Paris for free in the Allianz eVillage fan zones located around the circuit in Les Invalides.
For the Paris ePrix, the newly-named Allianz eVillage will also be open on Friday from 12:00 - 20:00, with a behind the scenes public pit walk from 18:00 - 19:00.
Compared to last year’s inaugural event, there are double the amount of grandstand seats available with dedicated giant screens and free public viewing areas located around the circuit and opposite the pitlane to ensure improved track visibility.
By Sam Mallinson