FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem (centre) was at the the first ever Formula E race for electric, open-wheel race cars in India this weekend in Hyderabad. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Mohammed Ben Sulayem, attended the first ever Formula E race for electric, open-wheel race cars in India this weekend in Hyderabad, meeting with government ministers to discuss a wide range of issues including sustainability, diversity and inclusion and the development of grass roots motorsport.

Formula E is the pinnacle of electric racing, with performance, efficiency and sustainability its key goals. Entering its ninth season, Formula E has launched its third generation car for teams that include entries from manufacturers Nissan, Jaguar, Mahindra, DS Automobiles, NIO 333, Porsche and Maserati as the world’s first net-zero carbon race car in the world’s first net-zero carbon sport.

New venues

With the 2022/23 calendar including four new venues comprising Cape Town, Sao Paolo, Portland and Hyderabad to boost the championship to 16 races, Ben Sulayem welcomed India’s return to FIA world championship racing for the first time since the Indian Formula One Grand Prix in 2013.

“It’s a genuine pleasure to attend the inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix. The arrival of Formula E in India marks another significant milestone for racing enthusiasts in the country, with the street circuit becoming the 30th location to host a Formula E race,” Ben Sulayem said.

Among those on hand to see Formula E for the first time was Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports. An avid sports lover who has served as President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), the Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association (HPOA), the Hockey Himachal, the Himachal Pradesh Table Tennis Association and as Associate Vice President of Hockey India, Anurag Singh Thakur now adds motor racing to his sporting interests after watching the net-zero carbon series race along the banks of the picturesque Hussain Sagar Lake for the first time.

Hot laps

On hand to witness the action in Hyderabad was cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and star players Shikhar Dhawan and Deepak Charhar. Tendulkar was taken for hot laps in the 1900bhp Mahindra-owned Pininfarina Battista EV supercar by Mahindra Racing Formula E team reserve driver Jehan Daruvala.

“A wonderful achievement by Anand Mahindra and his team. It’s heartening to see Indian companies back cutting-edge, world class automobiles. The Pininfarina Battista was so fast, we defied time and landed in the future,” Tendulkar said as he stepped from the car.

“Formula E in Hyderabad is a sight to behold for a motorsport enthusiast like me. I had a wonderful time cheering for Mahindra Racing and was glad to see motorsport returning to India after a decade,” the cricketing great added.