Dubai's W Motors may launch own Formula E team by 2020

W Motors CEO Ralph Debbas said Formula E is 'more exciting' than 'monotonous' Formula 1
Dubai's W Motors may launch own Formula E team by 2020
W Motors CEO Ralph Debbas said Iconiq was offered to “buy and rebrand” Formula E teams but opted not to.
By Lubna Hamdan
Mon 15 Apr 2019 10:00 AM

Dubai-based car manufacturer W Motors is considering the formation of its own electric-powered car racing team for Formula E by 2020, according to the company’s founder and CEO Ralph Debbas.

W Motors is known for making multi-million dollar cars, including the $3.4m Lykan Hypersport that featured in American action film Fast & Furious 7 in the famous scene that saw it crash through Abu Dhabi’s skyscrapers Etihad Towers.

However, it also boasts an electric car making division called Iconiq, which it launched in partnership with a Chinese firm to create level 4 (high automation) and level 5 (full automation) autonomous cars.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Debbas said he may launch an Iconiq Formula E team over the next year or two.

“Formula E is becoming more exciting. There’s much more interaction with the viewers and you can actually vote for who you want. At Iconiq, we’re considering to have our own team in the next year or two. We’re very close to the Formula E founders and organisation,” he said.

Debbas said Iconiq was offered to “buy and rebrand” Formula E teams but opted not to.

“We’re not ready this year, but maybe next year, we’ll have our own team. It’s the right way to go and there’s great potential to be in Formula E. It’s growing even further globally.”

F1 for socialising

The CEO said he prefers to watch Formula E races as opposed to Formula 1, and only participates in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for social purposes, adding that he’s sold more cars by socialising at the event than by having its cars on display.

“[W Motors] participates in the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix every year, but we do it just for fun. Every year for the past 4 years, we have our own yacht, where we invite all our international partners and friends. Seventy people come and we spend three beautiful days,” he said.

“Nobody goes [to Formula 1] to watch the races, unfortunately. They’re just there to socialise, have fun and enjoy it. We sold many cars just by socialising there instead of having our cars sitting there physically. We realised that there’s no point in pretending we go there to watch the race. Let’s just go and have fun."

Debbas said Formula was “fantastic” in the late 1990s, beginning 2000s, but is “beginning to be very monotonous”.

“The cars are the same and there’s nothing exciting. Formula E is becoming much more exciting. There’s interaction with the viewers and you can actually vote for who you want,” he said.

“I haven’t watched a single Formula 1 race in the past few years. It just doesn’t excite me anymore. I watch Formula E races more than Formula 1, to be honest,” he added.

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