Published on August 22nd, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi & BMW Leave Formula E, Mercedes Leaving Next Season
Mercedes-EQ just announced their departure from Formula E after a successful 2020-2021 season.
While Formula 1 has been seeing something of a resurgence, Formula E hasn’t really found its footing. We’re not sure what the numbers are, but it doesn’t seem like some manufacturers are seeing enough value come out of it. This 2020/2021 season proved to be the last straw for 3 of the big German premium brands, Audi, BMW and Mercedes. They’ve all decided to depart the sport and refocus their funds elsewhere with Mercedes-Benz deciding to stay just one more season.
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Departure
For Mercedes-EQ, the electric subdivision of Mercedes-Benz, Formula E has been quite a successful foray. They made their debut to the series one season ago and finished 3rd overall with 147 points. This season, they improved and took first place at the end with 181 points.
However, the team has made a decision to only stick around another year and leave Formula E at the end of Season 8 in August 2022.
Mercedes-Benz made a strategic announcement in July that the company would be reallocating resources to shift the brand to sell only all-electric vehicles by the end of the decade. This means spending money on new electric architectures for its very diverse product portfolio. This is going to be a very costly endeavour for the company and so motorsports will have to take a back seat. That being said, they’ve shown no indication that their Formula 1 involvement will be coming to an end anytime soon.
Why did Audi and BMW leave Formula E?
It’s strange to think that all three competitors have decided on a similar thing at a similar time. Our guess is that all three companies are governed by similar market conditions and feeling the pressure of the pandemic and increased competition and costs. However, they all made slightly different excuses to leave Formula E.
For Audi, leaving Formula E doesn’t mean abandoning the private teams that rely on their powertrain. Those teams will still be supported and allowed to continue. However, the company says it will be diverting its Formula E budget towards creating an all-electric competitor for the Dakar Rally. It also stated that it wants to develop a competing electric motorsports series with fewer restrictions on manufacturers.
BMW was very straightforward with their reason for leaving. They were going to use those resources to develop electric road cars.
What do you think? Did you ever watch Formula E at all? Will more manufacturers leave the disclipline?
Here’s the press release with more information.
Mercedes-Benz today announced that it will conclude its ABB FIA Formula E success story as a team entrant and manufacturer at the end of Season 8, in August 2022.
Since HWA Racelab first took to the track in Season 5, laying the foundations for Mercedes’ Formula E entry, the goal has been to create a benchmark team at every level. A first Mercedes win for Stoffel Vandoorne in the final round of Season 6 was followed by a strong start to Season 7, setting up the team’s championship challenge in only its second season. This culminated last weekend in Berlin when Nyck de Vries and the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team became the first ever all-electric motorsport world champions, by winning the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship Drivers’ and Teams’ titles.
In parallel, Mercedes-Benz made the strategic announcement in late July that the brand will be ready to go all-electric at the end of the decade, where market conditions allow.
As part of the new strategic direction, the brand has deliberately chosen to shift resources for this accelerated ramp-up of electrification, including the development of three electric-only architectures to be launched in 2025. Therefore, Mercedes will reallocate resource away from its ABB FIA Formula E World Championship programme and towards applying the lessons learned in competition to product development in series.
Moving forward, the company will concentrate its works motorsport activities on Formula 1, reinforcing the sport’s status as the fastest laboratory for developing and proving sustainable and scalable future performance technologies.
This learning will be brought to life through future product architectures like the AMG.EA platform, the dedicated performance vehicle electric platform that will be launched in 2025, and projects such as the Vision EQXX.
While Mercedes-Benz will depart Formula E at the end of Season 8, the team’s leadership group has begun exploring options for the team to continue competing in the series during the Gen 3 era, including a potential sale to new owners.