Story highlights

  • 2017 was a “take off” season for Formula E
  • Sponsors and new teams signing up
  • “Formula E have evolved at astounding speed” says di Grassi

The 2016/17 championship concluded on the streets of Montreal in dramatic fashion last weekend as Lucas di Grassi came from behind to clinch the world title, 12 months after losing out by the narrowest of margins to arch rival Sebastien Buemi.

“I feel amazing, it couldn’t be better — it’s a dream come true,” a visibly emotional di Grassi said after Sunday’s ePrix. “I’m so happy for the team (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) our partners and myself. We really deserve it.”

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Champion at last

Victory was sweet for di Grassi after coming so close to winning the championship in London’s Battersea Park last year, and finishing third the previous season.

The 32-year-old from Sao Paulo has been a driving force in Formula E — he was the first driver to sign up to the series, won the inaugural race in Beijing back in September 2014 and has finished on the podium a record 20 times.
This season, di Grassi has added more chapters to the script with an heroic win in Mexico where he won having spent the early part of the race running in last. Then there was Berlin, where he competed with a broken fibula.

Di Grassi has been one of Formula E’s biggest cheerleaders from the beginning watching it rise from obscurity to what is now the brink of motorsport’s mainstream.

“Formula E have evolved at an astounding speed since season one,” di Grassi told CNN.

“To see what it has accomplished in three years is just really unbelievable. We now have the most amount of car manufacturers of any racing series in the world and it’s only going to grow for seasons four, five and six … I only see a bright future,” he added.

‘Take off’ for Formula E

These are exciting times for the world’s only electric world championship with sponsor money flowing into the coffers and auto manufacturers queuing up to join the series.

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Jaguar lined up on the grid for the first time this season, BMW is gearing up to race in 2018 and fellow German auto-giants Mercedes and Porsche recently committed to Formula E from 2019. Even Ferrari is mulling getting involved, according to boss Sergio Marchionne.

This is all music to the ears of Alejandro Agag, co-founder and CEO of Formula E.

“I think it’s been the take-off season for Formula E with all the attention and all the new entries,” Agag said.

“I think last weekend meant we really ended on a high with Lucas coming from behind and winning the drivers’ championship and Renault (eDams) keeping a very well deserved teams’ championship.”

Four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost, who has now masterminded three consecutive constructors’ titles for the Renault eDams team, agrees with Agag.

“In the first season we could not expect to have so many contributors involved in our championship and so much success,” Prost told CNN.

“Everybody knows Formula E now. We had a concept and it has been a big success. It’s been a big surprise for me,” the Frenchman added.

Fostering electric growth

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played) should switch back to* epic ad layout. onContentPlay calls updateCompanionLayout* with the ‘restoreEpicAds’ layout to make this switch*/if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || ”;if (playerInstance && typeof playerInstance.reportAnalytics === ‘function’) {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(//videos//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)://[^/]/videos/(.+.w+)(?:/video/playlists/.*)?$/, ‘/video/$1’);if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = ”;}}playerInstance.reportAnalytics(‘videoPageData’, {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: ”,referrerUrl: document.referrer});}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});/* videodemanddust is a default feature of the injector */CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);

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