The Italian businessman Gianfranco Pizzuto plans to enter Formula E with his own team in Imecar Elektronik. The aim is to participate in the 2021 or 2022 season, but there are still a few hurdles to overcome before then – such as financing or unavailable grid positions.
The entry is dependent on “how quickly we can finance it”, Pizzuto said via LinkedIn. Since the announcement obviously took place before the financing is secured, the plans should be treated with caution. “If you are interested in joining and supporting the project, please contact me,” Pizzuto writes.
The Italian investor published a rendering of a car painted dark with light green accents on LinkedIn. It already shows the sponsor logos of the Italian eyewear manufacturer Luxottica and the watch brand Breitling. In motorsport, Breitling denied involvement in the project at the request of motorsport-total.com. Breitling has been a sponsor of the British VW subsidiary Bentley for many years, along with Audi and Porsche, two VW subsidiaries already active in Formula E.
The rendering with possibly not even participating sponsors raises questions – especially since Pizzuto has apparently already found a partner for his project in Imecar, a battery manufacturer based in Turkey, yet Imecar’s lettering cannot be found on the Formula E racer. The company has “knowledge about motors and inverters”, Pizzuto told The Race. “We have a strong supplier network that can help us in our work. So on the technical side, we have all the ingredients.”
Pizzuto has apparently become aware that publishing the rendering, which according to media reports originates from a design competition, was not a good idea: Two days after his LinkedIn post, he published a new rendering on Twitter with Imecar lettering and the Turkish flag although the team will be based in Italy, Pizzuto said. The first rendering was apparently taken from a design competition in motor1.com. In the tweet, Pizzuto described the car as a Gen3 car, but it is only the EVO Gen2 generation of Formula E racers – the Gen3 cars have not even been presented yet.
This is how we dream our Gen 3 Formula E monoposto will look like. The team will be Italian-Turkish as my partner and friend is Mark Lander founder of #Imecar based in Antalya. Nonetheless the team’s HQ will be very likely based in Italy. But first let’s get a licence to race! pic.twitter.com/rU6f96Dbz0
— Gianfranco Pizzuto (@GFranco1961) April 28, 2020
On another front, Pizzuto still has an organisational problem: the limitation of the starting grid to twelve teams with 24 cars. Provided that all current private teams survive the Corona crisis and no manufacturer withdraws for cost reasons, Pizzuto would not be able to create a new team but would have to buy up an existing team. The Dragon team, which belongs to US businessman Jay Penske, has been repeatedly accused of being taken over by a major manufacturer. Whether Penske is also interested in a sale or an investor’s entry is still an open question.
The Italian is no stranger to the world of eMobility: Pizzuto was involved as an investor in the founding of Fisker Automotive in 2007 and founded his own company, Scuderia-E, in 2017, specialising in the import, conversion and sale of electric cars. Among other things, Pizzuto is converting the Fiat 500 to an electric drive and is known to have close contacts with Fiat-Chrysler.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal
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