Mercedes-Benz announced on Wednesday that it would end its participation in the Formula E championship at the end of the 2021/2022 season, the eighth season of the electric racing series.
The announcement comes just a few days after the top driver of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team, Nyck de Vries, was named driver champion of the current 2020/2021 season. Mercedes-Benz EQ also won the team title.
Mercedes said the decision to leave Formula E was made to focus resources on developing electric vehicles. The automaker previously announced that it would not offer electric vehicles until 2030, when market conditions permit.
Mercedes-Benz EQ at the Formula E Berlin E-Prix 2021
The knowledge gained in Formula E will be used to develop future electric vehicles for the road, including models from Mercedes-Benz AMG, Mercedes said. The automaker’s power arm will present its first special electric vehicle at the Munich Auto Show 2021 in September, which is expected to be a version of the EQS hatchback.
Despite the need for resources, Mercedes has no intention of ending its successful Formula 1 program, the automaker confirmed. And the hybrid component of F1 means there is still an opportunity to develop technologies that will be used in electric vehicles. Mercedes will foresee this with its upcoming Vision EQXX EV concept (see below), which will feature F1 technology that is viewed as highly efficient energy recovery systems.
“In motorsport, Formula E was proof of our electric drive competence and a good driver for the establishment of our Mercedes-EQ brand, but we will continue to advance technological progress, especially on the electric drive side, with a focus on Formula 1 in the future drive forward, ”said Markus Schaefer, Mercedes head of research and development, in a statement.
Teaser for the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept, which will debut in 2022
Please note that the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team does not necessarily have to be dissolved. Team principal Ian James said he is reviewing options so that the team can compete beyond the 2021/2022 season.
Mercedes started the 2019/2020 Formula E season for the first time. After the coming 2021/2022 season, the sport is expected to switch to a new Gen 3 racer.
Mercedes is the youngest of a handful of major automakers to show an initial interest in Formula E and then drop out. The list includes Audi, BMW and Renault.