Maserati is back on the “track”. With the return to racing of the Trident house, Italy makes its debut in Formula E, the FIA electric world championship. Starting from 2023, that is the ninth season, the one in which the Gen3 single-seaters, the most performing cars used to date, also make their debut, Maserati becomes the first national manufacturer to compete in the zero-emission circuit.
“We are extremely proud to be protagonists of the racing world again, the environment to which we belong”, summarizes the CEO of Maserati Davide Grasso. The politically correct championship is suited to the strategy of the Modenese company, which from 2025 will offer with the Folgore version a fully electric variant for each of the models in the range.
With glorious past also in Formula 1 and with an absence of competitions that has lasted since 2010, Maserati’s return to racing is also significant for Formula E. Alejandro Agag, the “father” of the championship, explains that he cannot imagine a brand best for the debut of an Italian manufacturer. According to the Spanish manager, son-in-law of former Prime Minister Aznar, Formula E “represents the perfect environment for the most dynamic, innovative and high-performance automotive brands”. Jean Marc Finot, Head of Motorsport at Stellantis, specifies that “Maserati Formula E will constitute a technological laboratory that will allow us to accelerate the development of highly efficient electrified powertrains and intelligent software for our road sports cars”.
With the adhesion of the Italian manufacturer to Formula E, the Stellantis group will be represented by two brands: the other is DS, which works with the Chinese Techeetah. The two teams will be rivals, they will share the powertrain, but not the software, Finot said, who will provide more details on the operation only in the next few days. It is not clear, for example, if Maserati will become the twelfth team (the maximum number foreseen), if it will take over from Mercedes, which leaves at the end of the season and intends to sell its team, transferred to the United Kingdom, and therefore will be the eleventh team. Or, again, if after the previous renunciations of the premium brands Audi and BMW, it will be the tenth.
Agag leaves all the options open, to 10, 11 or 12 teams: “We are talking to three or four interested parties”, he limits himself to saying. McLaren has an option, which is expiring, and Lucid Motors is one of the candidates. The increasingly intense hybridization of Formula 1 does not worry Agag, which continues to believe in a future convergence between the two circuits. However, the manager warns: “Formula E has an exclusive with the FIA for the power supply”. It does not exclude sensational returns of some German brands in the coming years given that the future of mobility will be zero emissions (on the road).
Maserati also likes that Formula E is mostly run within cities: this year they make their debut on the Seoul, Vancouver and Jakarta circuit. He certainly does not regret that important markets such as the American, German, Monegasque, British and Arab markets are involved (the first two ePrix of the eighth season are scheduled in the Saudi capital at the end of January).
The consequences of the pandemic have caused the Chinese appointment to be skipped again, but the country is heavily involved in the circuit. Within a few months, Italy discovers itself as a potential protagonist in a championship that it had previously only hosted (in Rome) and sponsored (Enel X). With Antonio Giovinazzi, hired by the American Dragon Penske after the forced leave of Alfa Romeo in Formula 1, he expresses a top driver and with Maserati also a brand of great prestige.
Neither Grasso nor Finot are unbalanced on a possible involvement of the Apulian in the project. The transalpine manager says, however, that within the group there is the experience to know how to choose the people to entrust the steering wheel: the DS Techeetah has already won two drivers’ titles (Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix Da Costa) and two in teams.