Exclusive: Team Aguri in talks for Chinese takeover

FIA Formula E Championship squad Team Aguri is in negotiations with Chinese Media Capital (CMC) for the company to buy into the team, Motorsport.com can reveal.

Exclusive: Team Aguri in talks for Chinese takeover
Salvador Duran, Team Aguri
Salvador Duran, Team Aguri
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri
Salvador Duran, Team Aguri
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri
Salvador Duran, Team Aguri
Salvador Duran, Team Aguri
Salvador Duran, Team Aguri

The potential deal, if concluded before Paris this weekend, will see former Citroen WTCC driver and occasional F1 tester Ma Qinghua become the first Chinese born driver to compete in the series.

Qinghua will replace current driver Salvador Duran, who Motorsport.com understands has flown from France back to Cancun, Mexico this week. Shanghai-born Qinghua would join Antonio Felix da Costa in the team on the streets of Paris this weekend after being granted a Formula E licence on Monday.

CMC invests in a company called SECA Worldwide which represents many well-known sports personalities and teams. Ma Quinghua is one of SECA’s clients and is personally managed by Julian Jakobi, the management guru who also looks after Sebastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne.

A leading source close to the negotiations, which are continuing today, told Motorsport.com that the deal was ‘advanced’ and that it will ‘open significant possibilities for the growth of Formula E in China and beyond,’ should it be completed.

CMC is one of the world’s leading private equity and venture capital firms. It hit the motorsport headlines last autumn when it was reported that the company was in talks to raise £5.5bn for a takeover bid of Formula 1.

The Chinese company has its headquarters in Shanghai and is also part of the promotion of both the Beijing and Hong Kong races which are expected to start the third season of FIA Formula E this autumn.

Aguri Suzuki departs; Renault power for team in Season 3

Team Aguri has gone through a turbulent last nine months which has seen several new investors arrive at the team. Monegasque property developer Marc Faggionato is one of the key stakeholders in Aguri. Other shareholders in the team are original founders Mark Preston and Aguri Suzuki. Two other parties are also known to Motorsport.com as having stakes in the team.

All bar one of the key figures from the season one iteration of Team Aguri have departed the squad this season. Some of these now work at the NEXTEV squad alongside former Aguri Engineering Chief Gerry Hughes.

The change in ownership at Team Aguri comes after an agreement to run a Renault powertrain in season three of the all-electric championship, which is believed to have been made late last month. Motorsport.com though has learned that the deal has not yet been completed.

The initial plan for Nissan to brand aspects of the team for the 2016/17 season is ongoing, but is not expected to be concluded until July.

Renault was one of the first automotive manufacturers to explore the Chinese market, setting up the Sanjiang-Renault partnership in the early 1990s. This became the Dongfeng-Renault alliance in 2013, and in February 2016 a massive manufacturing and production facility opened in Wuhan, where up to 150,000 vehicles will be produced per year.

While there is no suggestion that Renault-Dongfeng would be part of the newly-structured Aguri set-up, it would be a major boost for any future marketing scope for a potential new alliance.

Team Aguri is expected to confirm they are in talks with ‘an investment company’ and also that Aguri Suzuki will leave the team before the end of the season.

A spokesperson for the team commented: “Aguri Suzuki played a fundamental role in the formation of the team and we would like to thank him for his continued support.

"We are now entering a new phase for the team and are in advanced discussions with new investors, but will not be able to comment further at this time.”

shares
comments
Ma Qinghua lands Aguri Formula E seat
Previous article

Ma Qinghua lands Aguri Formula E seat

Next article

Mahindra and Pininfarina reveal Formula E concept designs

Mahindra and Pininfarina reveal Formula E concept designs
Load comments
De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Prime

De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 7, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021