Formula E

FIA & Formula E woo Chinese manufacturers: "A win-win situation"

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

Formula E and the FIA have invited representatives from several leading electric car manufacturers from China to the Shanghai E-Prix. They were given the opportunity to network with the teams at the first two Formula E races in the country since 2019. There was also a technical workshop around the Gen4 car, which will be used from the end of 2026.

Representatives from Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi, BYD, Lynk & Co, Zeekr and IM Motor were invited to the first China race in over five years. Not only were they able to watch the victories of Mitch Evans and Antonio Felix da Costa up close at the double-header, they were also able to take part in a workshop on the upcoming Gen4 car and the technical roadmap for the racing series. Furthermore, they were introduced to the teams and officials.

Following the withdrawal of Nio, Formula E is once again trying to attract a Chinese manufacturer to the racing series. Nio sold its former works team to Shanghai Lisheng Racing in 2019, but remained on board as title sponsor until the end of 2023. The manufacturer team underwent an extensive rebranding for the 2024 season and has since competed under the name ERT (Electric Racing Technologies).

"Gen4 seems to be the perfect platform"

"I am very excited to be at the Shanghai E-Prix this weekend," said Zhao Yuhui, Vice President of Zeekr. "I first heard about Formula E ten years ago and its growth since then has been truly remarkable. I firmly believe that the series will contribute to the transition to electric mobility, and the upcoming Gen4 race car seems to be the perfect platform to showcase the potential of such an innovative technology."

"I think it's a win-win situation because the Chinese development of electric cars is now so advanced that they are world leaders and we can learn a lot from them," says Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds at Motorsport.com. "What they are not doing, however, is testing this technology under race conditions. Again, they could learn a lot from that. The fact that they participate in technical workshops and learn a bit more about the development of the technology is very good for both sides, in my opinion."

Will ERT become the BYD works team?

However, this was not the first time that representatives from Chinese manufacturers have attended a Formula E race this year: As Il Messaggero reports, a delegation from BYD was already at the races in Mexico City and Sao Paulo in the spring, where talks with high-ranking Formula E representatives also took place.

Rumours suggest that a cooperation with ERT is under discussion: The Chinese team currently still develops its own drives, making it the only drive manufacturer without a connection to a brand that also produces electric cars. The decision to part ways with longstanding title sponsor Nio before the start of the season was a deliberate one in order to be able to work with another manufacturer in the future.

However, the Chinese manufacturers must make a decision soon: The first deadline for registering as a manufacturer for the first Gen4 season expires on 30 June. Interested companies can still apply until the end of the year. However, the FIA will then decide on authorisation.

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