Q&A: Sam J. Piccione III, Chief Revenue Officer, Formula E
Q: WHO ARE the driving forces behind Formula E?
A: Alejandro Agag is the leader, the visionary, the man who sees round corners. Jean Todt is the connection to FIA. And Liberty Media of Discovery Channel fame is the main shareholder.
Q: How does the concept of Formula E differ from other race formats around the world?
A: We are a global motorsport entertainment platform. We provide excitement through environment-friendly and exciting motor racing. Today, BEVs are still a rare sight. But tomorrow, BEVs will be mainstream, especially in urban areas. We are early adopters of a smogfree future through electro-mobility.
Q: Where do the funds come from?
A: We’re in the process of talking to potential partners who would run geographical segments or even sponsor the cup. But it must be the right partner, like a consumer electronic brand or a forward-thinking tech brand. For obvious reasons, we won't allow an OEM to sponsor the cup.
Q: Can you give us some numbers?
A: Each race has a title sponsor who must pay between $500,000 and $3m. Global sponsorship should yield up to $10m. But we never say no to an offer – we make it happen.
Q: Have you got more ideas like FanBoost up your sleeve?
A: Absolutely. It all got started with the eVillage as the crowd’s favourite haunt, the eJ playing records and the roborace grabbing attention. The next big thing is e-sports gaming. Within the social media framework, you can watch or participate even when you are physically not there. In the simulator challenge, the viewer competes against the driver of choice. There is a whole new virtual world out there waiting to unfold.
Q: What do you expect will happen when the new rules come into effect?
A: More technical freedom is going to attract more players. More players means more races, more races means more viewers, more coverage, more business. Believe me – this thing has got huge potential.