FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to attend inaugural Formula E Hyderabad ePrix in India

F1 Grand Prix of USA
Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA President, looks on from the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle has confirmed that FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem will be present at the inaugural Hyderabad ePrix in India on February 11th, 2023. The Canadian also stressed the importance of India as a tempting market to explore and is optimistic about its inaugural edition becoming a success.

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda in Hyderabad, Reigle said:

“You know, this weekend, the president of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem is coming. It's really important for him, with his platform as president, to grow motorsport globally. So people really like that story, you know, that there was an F1 race in India 10 years ago. I won't comment on what worked and what didn't but for us, India is a super important market.”
For the first time ever, we're heading to India!IT'S RACE WEEK ??? Greenko #HyderabadEPrix

Reigle stressed the importance of a global motorsport event like Formula E in a market previously explored by F1, claiming that Ben Sulayem’s presence on race day in Hyderabad itself is an indication of how important India is as a market for both the FIA and the electric series. While F1 was unable to crack the market in its stint from 2011 to 2013, Reigle is confident that Formula E can succeed in India.

Asked by Sportskeeda how a new venue such as India compares to an established one on the Formula E calendar, such as Mexico, Reigle said:

“Look, for me, it's my job to grow the championship. Mexico, you've experienced it right? What's fantastic with Mexico is that we plug into the existing infrastructure. They host F1, they host Indy, they host all kinds of big motorsports. We can come in there and put our show on and hopefully show a great car race and it's not super hard. On the other hand, we do London, we go in the ExCeL center. We go indoor and outdoor, something no one in motorsport does. Formula 1 can't do it because their cars are too loud. So we try to do things that are very different. And I then think of, how do we serve as the tip of the spear in terms of growing the motorsport.”

Formula E CEO believes Indian ePrix will have its hiccups but will improve over the years

Jamie Reigle feels the initial hiccups at the venue are just like any other street circuit. The Formula E CEO believes the post-race audit will be a clear indicator of what can be improved for future editions.

Reigle explained:

“Well I think when we come to a new market, and it’s not specific to India, we go to New York, we’ve built track in Brooklyn as well and they have to walk to the toilets as well. They like to complain. But seriously when we come we do a lot of planning, we work with the local government, we work with the local promoter, and we of course have experience, we’ve got a team called track and overlay, think of them as architects, planning the site.”
“The challenge of doing the cities is you have constraints right, a roundabout here, we are disrupting traffic, you’ve got a lake. There are always constraints that don’t give you maximum flexibility versus if we are in the countryside somewhere, then you do whatever you want within reason. So we do our best in the first year and we always have a debrief - our team, the local promoter, the local government, the drivers about what we liked about the event, what really worked well with the event and what we can improve about the event.”

The venue marks the home race for two Formula E teams, Jaguar TCS Racing and Mahindra Racing, who have had an overwhelming response to their marketing events in the run-up to the main event. As global motorsport returns to Indian shores a decade after the last F1 Indian GP, the success of the Formula E Hyderabad ePrix remains crucial for India as a motorsport market. The Telangana government and local promoters are working with Formula E to ensure the first edition is a success and the event can build up over the next three years, having signed a four-year contract with the Hyderabad ePrix promoter for a place on the calendar.

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Edited by Anurag C
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