Formula E: Series boss shrugs off Sebastian Vettel’s “cheese” comment


Last summer, as the FIA prepared to launch its all-electric Formula E championship, four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel didn’t give the upstart series a vote of confidence.

In fact, he called it “cheese.” And not in a good way.

But as his series prepared to race in Buenos Aires this afternoon, F-E boss Alejandro Agag has taken the high road on the matter.

In fact, Agag has expressed his hope that Vettel will eventually change his tune and experience F-E himself.

“We’re big admirers of Vettel,” Agag said on Thursday according to Reuters. “He just doesn’t like Formula E. Maybe one day, we can convince him to come to Formula E.”

Perhaps Vettel’s comments last summer stemmed from the image issues that go with electric cars. Those issues are something that F-E is hoping to solve as it works toward becoming a stronger series in the years ahead.

“People don’t think of them as quick, as cool,” Agag said before adding that “we respect what Vettel thinks, but I also respect what Alain Prost thinks” – a reference to the four-time World Champion, who helps lead the e.dams-Renault squad in the series.

F-E may not be the fastest series in the land, but it has provided its fair share of highlights in its opening races.

The inaugural event in Beijing ended in mayhem as Lucas di Grassi won following a wild, last-lap crash involving Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld. Solid races have followed at Putrajaya, Malaysia (won by former F1 prospect Sam Bird) and most recently at Punta del Este, Uruguay (won by current F1 test driver Sebastien Buemi).

Not bad considering the series was essentially nothing just a couple of years ago.

“Two years ago, we didn’t have cars, we didn’t have venues, we didn’t have teams. We didn’t have sponsors or broadcasters,” said Agag. “Today, we have a championship going full-on with big fights between the drivers.”

That championship takes another turn this afternoon in Buenos Aires (start time, 2 p.m. ET) on a 1.5-mile street circuit set at the city’s Puerto Madero district.

Buemi, the series’ most recent winner, appears ready to continue his momentum. After leading both practice sessions earlier this morning, he has won pole position for today’s race.

He’ll be joined on the front row by Jaime Alguersuari, who just missed the pole by 27 one-thousandths of a second. Heidfeld and Bird will be in Row 2.

Despite a small accident in qualifying, championship leader Di Grassi shall start on the inside of Row 3. He’s joined there by Andretti’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who challenged Buemi for the win in Uruguay before a mechanical failure stopped his surge.

Speaking of Andretti, IndyCar veteran Marco Andretti will make his F-E debut from 14th on the grid. He’ll have familiar company in Row 7 with another long-time IndyCar pilot, Oriol Servia, starting to his inside.