Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne made big headlines this week after saying that Ferrari needs to get into Formula E. In true Sergio fashion, though, that came as news to the Formula E side, whose CEO Alejandro Agag told Jalopnik that the famed Italian marque hasn’t reached out to them about this yet.
Marchionne explained to the FIA’s official magazine Auto that Formula E’s electric tech fits soundly into their future vehicles’ strategy. As quoted by Autosport:
We need to be involved in Formula E because electrification via hybridisation is going to be part of our future.
Hybridisation is crucial to Ferrari.
There is no denying that regulations put us under pressure, but we could reach those targets in other ways.
The challenge is to benefit from hybridisation not just in terms of emissions reduction, but also performance.
We have already developed a hybrid supercar, La Ferrari, and on future Ferrari models we will leverage new technologies as well as electrification.
Of course, let’s not forget that this is the man who routinely trolls the NASCAR-verse with wishy-washy “we’d like to get Dodge back into NASCAR”-style statements without many signs that they’re actually working to do so. So, when Jalopnik got a moment with Agag this morning, we asked how far along these Ferrari Formula E plans might be. Agag responded:
I don’t know. They said it yesterday, right? They haven’t told me.
As the head of a relatively small, upcoming and still close-knit series, he would probably hear about a new marque reaching out because they’re interested, so it seems as if Marchionne is saying things a tad out of order again. Agag continued:
It’s not the first time Marchionne has made those kinds of remarks.
I’m super happy to have Ferrari, as you can imagine, in this championship. So, I guess I’ll be getting in touch with Marchionne soon to see what he wants to do.
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However, Agag noted that a Fiat Chrysler subsidiary, Magneti Marelli was already involved in Formula E as a powertrain supplier for the Mahindra team:
They have some parts—a presence already in the championship, but I guess from [Marchionne’s] remarks that he’s really looking for something a bit bigger.
As Marchionne noted, though, regulatory pressures are forcing more automakers to go electric, and Formula E is really the only high-profile FIA series of its kind so far. Formula E utilizes a spec chassis to keep costs down, Agag noted, in order to focus development on the items most pressing to EV devlopment—namely, powertrain and battery technology. So, if you need to whip your electric technology into shape, this is where you go.
Audi, Jaguar, Renault, Citroën are already in the series in some regard, along with electric startups NIO and Faraday Future. BMW and Mercedes are set to join Formula E in 2018, per Autosport, so it’s not like Ferrari would be the odd man out. Ferrari has a longtime partnership with the Russian software company Kaspersky, who has also expressed interest in joining Formula E.