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Alejandro Agag, the man who swapped consulting for racecar driving
Alejandro Agag, walks into the room with the confidence that only a man of many talents can do. He is a seasoned politician, former chairman of Addax Capital, and is now the CEO of Formula E, writes FinBuzz.
Unlike the better-known Formula One auto racing series, in Formula E, officially called FIA Formula E Championships, only 100% electric-powered cars zoom around the track. The first series was held in Beijing in September last year.
Before the turn of the century, Agag was better known as a politician, but now, most people associate him with sports car racing.
After a lengthy political career in Spain, Agag moved to London 2002 and opened a consulting firm, later called, along with Ignacio Munoz Alonso, former CEO of Rothschild Bank in Spain. In 2008, he was named the Spanish businessman of the year.
He was the first person to expand Formula One across Spanish media, and since has been involved in several high-level sponsorships and race industry deals, one of which is a sponsorship with Julius Baer, a Swiss private banking group.
“My banking and finance background was essential for being able to put together sponsors. Formula E has an exclusive sponsorship package with Julius Baer now which is going to last several years. A number of other banks have approached us to invest but I let them know while they can’t invest right now in Formula E they can partner with the car teams and sponsor that way,” Agag explained.
He sees his work at Formula E as a mix of work and pleasure.
“I was already a part of Formula One, being a driver myself and finding drivers for them. Because of my background in finance and my involvement on the track, FIA had the idea for me to put together investors for Formula E,” he said.
Formula E seeks to be the first carbon neutral automobile sport, and is committed to sustainable and innovative technology in the motor industry.
“Formula E is my passion. It is the testing place of new technology and the gateway to the future of the automotive industry. At Formula E we care for the environment and hope for a world where (one day electric) cars will be the only ones allowed in city areas. Cutting back on pollution is essential as we become more aware of the damage we are doing to the world we live in,” he said, running his hands through his hair.
I asked him what other technologies could replace electric for the Formula E car.
“Hydrogen could be part of our technology in time but currently hydrogen still relies on a battery and you need a source of it.”
Agag went on to say that whatever happens to the advancement in technology Formula E is here to stay.
“Currently Formula One is more prestigious that Formula E but that’s because it has a history. One day, maybe fifty years from now, Formula E will be just as prestigious if not more so.”
Formula E is hitting the road with a race in Shanghai next month and one in Paris in April. It is in talks about holding the event in several other cities in Asia and America.
Agag no longer races but runs a test drive around the track before races and sometimes gives private tours to sponsors. His choice of car is the BMW M18 and he also drives a Renault Zoe.
Although originally from Spain, after fifteen years of living in the City, Agag considers London as his home. In 2002 he married the form