Honda waiting for Formula E to get better and grow

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Honda have no immediate plans to enter the all-electric Formula E series even if some within the company are keen to do so, according to their Formula One head Yusuke Hasegawa.

With Formula E ending its second season in London on Sunday, and outlining a 2016-17 calendar that includes New York and Hong Kong for the first time, Hasegawa said the Japanese carmaker had looked into it.

But he said the racing needed to improve.

"We have some consideration but so far we have no plans to join Formula E. Formula E is not very popular yet," Hasegawa told reporters at the Austrian Grand Prix, attended by some of Honda's senior management.

"As a technical point of view, it is interesting but from a racing point of view it is not attractive yet.

"Of course there are some possibilities we will join Formula E. In the company some of the members want to join Formula E as well," added the Japanese, appointed in February after a management shake-up.

Citroen's DS brand, Renault and Audi are among volume carmakers involved with Formula E teams while Jaguar are joining in season three. BMW provide safety and medical cars.

No Japanese manufacturer is involved, despite speculation that Nissan might enter after withdrawing from the World Endurance Championship.

Chinese-backed Los Angeles-based Tesla rival Faraday Future last week announced a deal with the Dragon Racing team with former Ferrari F1 principal Marco Mattiacci overseeing the partnership.

Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag also hopes Volkswagen will get more involved after the company last month announced plans for a big push into electric cars.

"We’ve invited them to have a larger involvement in Formula E, we hope they go this route," he told Reuters.

"I think obviously if a company decides to go more into electric, it makes the decision to come into Formula E easier," he added.

"But these large corporations always want to come to something, Formula E or any other championship, when it is very stable and very solid financially. I think now we are getting to that point."

Honda said in February it was aiming for new-energy vehicles to account for two-thirds of its line-up by 2030, from around five percent now.

Japan's third-biggest automaker by sales said its petrol-battery hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell vehicles (FCV) would collectively outnumber its petrol-only offerings in less than 15 years' time.

Formula E launched in 2014 and holds races in city centres around the world.

The cars, which make little noise, are far slower than Formula One and cannot complete a race distance due to the limitations of battery technology, although that should change by season five.

Drivers currently have to change cars midway through races.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

3 min read
Published 3 July 2016 at 9:38pm
Source: Reuters