Born in Madrid, Alejandro Agag is the founder of electric racing series ABBA FIA Formula E World Championship, off-road racing series Extreme E and electric race boat championship E1.
“I thought we need to create a green version of motorsport. That’s where the future is.”
Your passion for motorsport, how did it begin?
(Alejandro Agag) My passion for motorsport was kind of late bloomer. Although I remember my first ever motorsport memory, my parents and I lived in Monte Carlo, Monaco when I was about 12 years old and our apartment was overlooking one of the corners of the racetrack area where the car went into the tunnel. I remember watching the Grand Prix and seeing the cars going into the tunnels. So that’s kind of my first ever memory of motorsport. Then I just went on with my career, I studied economics and I went into politics. I was just following motorsport as a fan, but not too intensely until I stopped politics. And when I was about 31-32 years old, I had a couple of friends who were in motorsport, they were very important in the Motorsport of course, Bernie Eccleston (Former F1 CEO) and Flavio Briatore (Former managing director at Benetton F1 and team principal at Renault F1), invited me to join them and do some business around motorsport. That’s how I got into motorsport. Since then, I got more and more passionate, and I got involved in racing with a racing team in GP2. That’s how my passion for motorsport really went, and it’s becoming the main thing in my life now.
What was the inspiration to start the Formula E race?
(AA) I was realising that motorsport was losing relevance, it was losing contact with the real concerns in the climate change, and it was more and more focused against making a sustainable planet and lifestyle. I got an impression also from partners and sponsors of the sport that they were concerned about ‘where motorsport is going’. So I thought we need to create a green version of motorsport. That’s where the future is. And that was the inspiration for Formula E.
Please walk me through your typical day. What is the first thing to do in the morning?
(AA) So it changes a lot because there’s a lot of travelling but when I’m in London at home, I wake up around seven in the morning, go for a run before breakfast, then I have breakfast and read all the news. Then I come to the office. I am personally involved in three companies; Formula E, Extreme E and E1, the new boat’s championship. They’re all on the same floor. So I’m constantly having briefings and meetings with different people from the different teams and also have other meetings organised and normally I also have lunch meetings. We have a restaurant nearby called the River Cafe. I go there very often for my lunch meetings there. And then in the afternoons either I go back to the office or have meetings in central London. I always try to avoid having work dinners and try to have dinner at home with my family or with the kids.
What is the most important criteria when choosing a city for a Formula E race?
(AA) We want to be in tier 1 cities and the most important cities in the world. The cities that really are part of what’s happening on the planet, represent the most amount of people and different cultures. We want to be in cities that are in big cities, that are driving innovation, that are putting environment and sustainability as a priority, and cities I want to promote electrification and electric cars. Those are cities we want.
“To fight climate change, I think that everybody needs to take action from their own area of expertise, and my expertise is motorsport.”
Not only Formula E, you have also initiated other electric racing projects; Extreme E and E1 Series. What motivates you to tackle the climate change sector?
(AA) I think that everybody needs to take action from their own area of expertise, from their own job, from their own activity. My activity is motorsport, and I could even expand that to off-road (Extreme E) and even to the water (E1), but all with one kind of guiding direction, which is electrification. So to bring electrification to the water, to bring electrification to remote corners of the planet. That’s what drives me to really use motorsport in a very wide way to promote electrification.
What is the future city you imagine?
(AA) I think electric cars and driverless cars will change the cities. We will have less ownership of cars and more shared transportation. And VTOL and the air transportation will impact cities very much. I don’t know how much we can bring VTOL to the retail transport because replacing all the cars with VTOL is going to be expensive. But I think VTOL can definitely replace planes moving from city to city, you could imagine going from the roof of one meeting in London to the roof of one meeting in Manchester, or going to Paris from London in VTOL.
What is your next goal?
(AA) My next goal is to survive three championships; Formula E for sure, but Extreme E and E1 have a lot of challenges. My goal is to bring them to places where they will be more successful and become bigger. Then I think my job will be done. My next one would be to finish my book. I’m writing a science fiction book. I would love to finish it. At the moment I’ve written like 100 pages only. I think I have another 500 pages to write, and then it will be done.