Electric racing’s ‘milestone’ Saudi deal to ‘pioneer’ sustainable tech
The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) new Electric 360 project can power a revolution beyond sport, according to Formula E, Extreme E and E1 chairman Alejandro Agag, who claims the newly unveiled deal is a “huge milestone” on the journey towards developing sustainable transport technology.
The sovereign wealth fund has increased its presence in electric motorsports with a long-term deal that will provide three of the sector’s most prominent series with financial security whilst pledging to advance the future of electric mobility.
Under the deal, PIF will be the sole principal partner of the land-based Formula E and Extreme E championships, as well as the E1 all-electric raceboat championship.
“This one-of-a-kind partnership with PIF is a huge milestone for us in our journey to pioneer the most cutting-edge sustainable transport technology,” said Agag, who is also the founder of all three series.
“With so many examples of the positive real-world impact of each series, this 360-partnership takes our potential to the next level.
“PIF will not only play a strategic role in helping us leverage our unique technological platforms, but also foster global collaboration, education and skills development for the next generation worldwide.”
Saudi Arabia has forged an increasingly influential position at the heart of motorsports, as well as sport in general, in recent years.
This weekend, the kingdom will host an ePrix in Diriyah as part of a decade-long arrangement. Qiddiya, a planned entertainment, tourism and sports mega-development in Riyadh, will include “racetracks for motorsport enthusiasts”, according to the PIF’s latest annual report.
In addition, the PIF already has a five-per-cent stake in Formula E and, in 2022, became a “person with significant control” after snapping up stakes in Extreme E Ltd and Electric Sea Racing Limited, which operates E1.
However, a Formula E spokesperson told Global Sustainable Sport that the latest deal announced this week does not involve any equity transaction. However, it is certain that the volume of events that take place in Saudi Arabia will increase.
“With so many examples of the positive real-world impact of each series, this 360-partnership takes our potential to the next level."
The length of the deal has been left unspecified as there is potential for it to be flexible or renewed, while the financial details are also undisclosed.
However, Agag suggested that it could be a substantial amount, by saying that the investment “helps consolidate these ventures long-term”.
Both the E1 Series, embarking on its inaugural season, and Extreme E are set to begin their 2024 campaigns this month with events in Jeddah.
This season marks the last under the Extreme E name, as organisers are preparing to transition in 2025 to Extreme H, which will see cars powered by hydrogen.
The Electric 360 deal follows vast sporting investment from Saudi Arabia’s PIF. This has included attracting a host of footballing superstars to the Saudi Pro League and the takeover of Newcastle United in the English Premier League.
The establishment of LIV Golf was another high-profile venture that is said to be aligned with the Saudi Arabian Government’s Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy.
Sustainability is listed as a key aspect of Vision 2030, with Saudi Arabia attempting to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060.
Electric 360 is believed to advance that goal.
“Together with these championship series, Electric 360 will redefine electric sport and supercharge its growth, delivering tangible impact aligned with our broader business strategy as PIF drives new green technological innovation that will be the cornerstone of future electric mobility,” said PIF’s head of corporate brand Mohamed AlSayyad.