Soon, another brand could find its way to the Formula E grid: Ford. The automaker is reportedly very interested in participating in the electric-car motorsport, and it could show up as early as next season. If Ford does join Formula E, it would become the first American automaker to do so.
reported on Ford’s possible entry last Monday. A Formula E program could replace Ford’s World Endurance Championship program, which is contracted through mid-2019. Ford would not be able to enter Formula E as a manufacturer team, however. The motorsport allows for only 12 teams and a 24-car maximum. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz filled the 11th and 12th slots with their announcements to join the series last year.
That means Ford would have to partner with an independent team. Currently, Dragon Racing and Virgin Racing are the two available teams open for partnerships. The report said Dragon is the more likely candidate for Ford as it is owned by Jay Penske, son of the legendary racer, race team owner, and businessman Roger Penske. Roger Penske owns several Ford dealers and currently runs Fords in NASCAR.
Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag told the publication that there is no wiggle room for a 13th entrant and the 12-team cap was designed to create value for the franchise system. He did say the two independent teams were receiving a lot of attention and expected one or two more manufacturers to join. Adding to the Ford rumor, Agag allegedly traveled to Detroit in February.
A Ford announcement would likely occur soon if it plans to compete in Formula E and join the starting grid for the motorsport’s fifth season, which begins late this year (the current season ends in July). Season five will also usher in a new race car design and each entrant will only run one car instead of two during each race thanks to larger batteries and other technological advances.