Those of you who watched the ITV 4 feed for the Malaysian Formula E race in November would have had the opportunity to catch an interview with Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, shortly before the race started. It was a fascinating interview and it’s one I think is worth revisiting, particularly for those who missed out on it the first time round.
Over the last decade, there has been huge push for all governments to commit to being ‘green’. The term itself is multi-faceted and it clearly means different things to different countries, but the goal is to simply to become less dependent on fossil fuels and seek solutions to the energy crisis. If you follow American politics you’ll be well aware that the Obama administration has used its authority in the past 18 months to introduce significant greenhouse restrictions for power plants, as well as severely restricting methane emissions for the gas and oil industry. ‘Climate change’ and ‘carbon footprint’ are two phrases which no country can ignore at this point.
Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, is under no illusions that global warming and climate change are a significant threat to our planet, and he clearly views Malaysia’s Formula E race as a statement of intent. Speaking to Nicki Shields, he said ‘We believe in being green, we believe we must our part in cutting down on carbon emissions’. It’s clear that he was not just representing Malaysia’s view on motorsport but on investing in green initiatives, as well as the motor industry, as a whole. ‘It’s the right signal, the show we are serious about electric cars’, he continued.
If Formula E is to succeed in the early years, it needs the backing of governments who are willing to spend money and produce race tracks in busy city centres. Formula E makes perfect business sense; if Formula E can help develop battery technology and promote electric cars, then the amount of electric cars used in countries such as Malaysia will likely go up, thus reducing the nations carbon footprint. The final benefit of course is to the cities themselves. ‘Formula E allows us to showcase it (Putrajaya) to the World’ he finished.
There have already been multiple reports from across the globe that other major cities want to hold Formula E events, and this really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Formula E has a sustainable business model, and the benefits to holding a race are simply too good to pass up. There may only be 10 races in its first season, but if the success of the first four races is anything to go by, more countries could be queuing up over the next months.