Mercedes-Benz announced Wednesday that it will end its participation in the Formula E Championship after the completion of the 2021/2022 season, which will be season number eight for the electric racing series.
The announcement comes just days after the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team's top driver, Nyck de Vries, was named drivers' champion for the current 2020/2021 season. Mercedes-Benz EQ also took home the teams' title.
Mercedes said the decision to quit Formula E was made to refocus resources on electric-vehicle development. The automaker has previously said it plans to offer electric vehicles only from 2030, where market conditions permit.
Mercedes-Benz EQ at the 2021 Formula E Berlin E-Prix
Lessons learned in Formula E will be used to develop future EVs for the road, including models from Mercedes-Benz AMG, Mercedes said. The automaker's performance arm will reveal its first dedicated EV in September at the 2021 Munich auto show, expected to be a version of the EQS hatchback.
Despite the need for resources, Mercedes has no intention to end its successful Formula One program, the automaker has confirmed. And the hybrid component of F1 means there's still the opportunity to develop technologies used in EVs. Mercedes will preview this with its upcoming Vision EQXX EV concept (shown below) which will feature F1 technology, thought to be highly efficient energy-recovery systems.
“In motorsport, Formula E has been a proof point for our electric drive expertise and a good driver for establishing our Mercedes-EQ brand, but in future we will keep pushing technological progress, especially on the electric drive side, focusing on Formula One," Markus Schaefer, Mercedes' head of R&D, said in a statement.
Teaser for Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept debuting 2022
Note, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team may not necessarily be disbanded. Team Principal Ian James said he's exploring options to have the team continuing to compete beyond the 2021/2022 season.
Mercedes first competed in Formula E's 2019/2020 season. After the upcoming 2021/2022 season, the sport is due to switch to a new Gen 3 racer.
Mercedes is the latest in a handful of major automakers to show some initial interest in Formula E and then quit. The list includes Audi, BMW and Renault.