Whatever your opinion on Formula E – and there are many opinions on it – it’s growing. We’re now in the fourth season of the electric racing championship that everyone and their dog had written off before it even began.
This year, Audi joins as a full works manufacturer. Next year, BMW will enter a full works team. Soon after, Mercedes, Porsche and Nissan will also sign up to race. Car companies with quite a bit of history – and success – in motorsport.
The reasons are simple: the world is hurtling towards an all-electric future, and nothing focuses development quite like motorsport. But you’ll have spotted a rather conspicuous absentee from that list of manufacturers: Tesla. Should the world’s foremost purveyor of electric cars join the roster?
We put that question to reigning Formula E champion and Audi Sport driver Lucas Di Grassi. “While that should be a question for Elon Musk, of course, I think Tesla should be involved. It’s a brand which I admire a lot. Actually the first electric car I ever drove was a Tesla – the Roadster, back in 2010.
“I think Tesla is a great company, revolutionising the automotive industry,” Di Grassi added. “The products they launch are amazing. I have a big admiration for Elon Musk, and I think they are a big reason why Formula E is succeeding.
“They are pushing the electric market worldwide. All manufacturers have to react to what Tesla does. That gives them the possibility to do that in Formula E.”
Acknowledging that “they’ve got bigger priorities” and there is no motorsport heritage tied up in the company name (only now is the Model S racing in the Electric GT championship, pictured above), Di Grassi still hopes the California company will enter the burgeoning Formula E championship.
“It’s a complex question, but I would love to see them come into Formula E,” he said.