June 29, 2015 / 8:59 AM / in 2 years

Formula E hopes to expand to Africa, India

LONDON (Reuters) - The Formula E electric car racing series is aiming to expand to Africa and India after a successful debut season in Asia, the Americas and Europe.

“We want to conquer as much of the world as we can,” the series chief executive Alejandro Agag told reporters after Sunday’s final round at London’s Battersea Park on the south bank of the River Thames.

“We will be looking for places maybe in Africa also.”

Agag said the series, won by Brazilian Nelson Piquet junior for Team China Racing, would probably have two new cities in the second season although the number of races was likely to remain the same or one more.

“We want to give the championship stability for the teams. Probably grow another two races for season three,” said the Spaniard.

One of those could be in India, with Mahindra & Mahindra Auto Group President Pawan Goenka telling Reuters the choice was likely to be between New Delhi and Bangalore.

“It cannot happen in 2015/16, it’s too late, but in 2016/17 we would like to. The organizers have a general interest in bringing a race to India,” he said.

“Delhi will be ideal in terms of interest and visibility and the backdrop that you get and wide roads -- but perhaps most difficult at the same time -- followed by Bangalore. Mumbai is out of the question.”

Agag said the debut season, which kicked off in Beijing last September and raced in 10 cities, had been a “great success, especially when you consider how difficult it was to make it happen.”

Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, whose British driver Sam Bird won the final race on Sunday, told reporters Formula E would overtake Formula One within five years but Agag played that down.

“We love Formula One and think it’s great. But we think Formula E is different. We would be making a big mistake if we tried to compete with Formula One and be similar to Formula One,” he said.

”We have to be radically different to Formula One to have a chance of survival. I don’t mean survival by beating Formula One but co-existing complimentary to Formula One.

“I think that will be the only chance for us to have a long term future in the world of motorsport. We stand no chance against Formula One but we do stand a very strong chance on our own as a different product.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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