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Mercedes secures entry to the fifth season of Formula E in 2018-2019

Mercedes Benz Grand Prix has reached an agreement to reserve an entry for the fifth season of Formula E, it was announced today.

Mercedes secures entry to the fifth season of Formula E in 2018-2019

Mercedes Benz Grand Prix has reached an agreement to reserve an entry for the fifth season of Formula E, it was announced today.

The world champion Formula 1 marque has signed an option with Formula E Operations Ltd to enter the all-electric series for the 2018-2019 season. It joins other premium automotive brands Jaguar, Audi and BMW in making the commitment to the series and will help in it negotiations with F1's new owners Liberty Media.

While F1's global reach dwarfs FE, which has a strong technical story but struggles to attract fans, the presence of the major manufacturers will change that as they promote their activities.

Moreover Mercedes can use its presence there to leverage its negotiations with Liberty Media over the renewal of its contract to compete in F1 post 2020. It is a very shrewd move from an automotive technical point of view - to be current and class leading on battery technology - as well as from a strategic F1 business point of view.

Liberty Global, another branch of the John Malone empire, is a major shareholder in Formula E, so the billionaire has a very strong position now in the future of global motorsport.

There are currently 10 teams competing in Formula E and that number will rise to 12 for the fifth season, with Mercedes set to take one of the slots subject to the approval of the FIA.

Formula E Paris

Speaking in an official statement, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff explained that the manufacturer had been monitoring Formula E for some time and stated that electric racing will be “very relevant” as the technology becomes more prevalent in future road cars.

"We have been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest,” he said. “At the current time, we are looking at all the options available in the future of motor racing, and we are very pleased with an agreement that secures us an opportunity to enter the series in season five.

“Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry. Racing has always been a technology R&D platform for the industry and this will make Formula E very relevant in the future."

XPB.cc Toto Wolff

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag expressed his delight at adding another high-profile manufacturer to the championship’s ranks alongside Renault, Audi (with the ABT team, BMW (with Andretti), Citroen (with Virgin) and Jaguar, which makes its return to competitive motorsport at this weekend’s Hong Kong ePrix 12 years after exiting F1.

"We are delighted to confirm that we have reserved one of our two new entries in season five for MGP,” he said. “Formula E wants to become the platform where car manufacturers test and develop the technologies that they will then introduce on their road cars.

“Having the chance to include in the future a brand like Mercedes our championship would be a major boost to achieve that objective.

Formula E Alejandro Agag

“Formula E is becoming an exciting mix of consolidated manufacturers like Renault, Citroen-DS, Audi, Mahindra or Jaguar, and new futuristic brands like Faraday Future, NextEV, or the likes of major component manufacturers like Schaeffler and ZF. Mercedes would be a great addition to that growing line up."

The established ten Formula E teams are expected to continue beyond the fifth season, which is when the series will use new battery technology that should allow drivers to complete an ePrix in a single car rather than swap to another mid-race as they currently do.

Last week it was announced that McLaren’s Applied Technology arm had won the right to supply the new battery technology for the 2018/2019 season.

What do you make of the news that Mercedes will join Formula E in 2018? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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