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Saudi Public Investment Fund Backs Electric Motorsports Series

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has expanded its footprint in the world of electric motorsports events with a new multiyear partnership deal across Formula E auto racing, Extreme E off-road racing and E1 powerboat racing competitions, the parties announced Monday.

The arrangement represents the first time one sponsor has backed all three of the formats, according to Alejandro Agag, the founder of Formula E, Extreme E and E1. Agag told Autosport that the deal would be particularly significant for Extreme E and E1, which have followed the launch of Formula E in 2014. An Electric 360 branding will be used for promotions across the projects. Financial details were not announced.

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“This one-of-a-kind partnership with PIF is a huge milestone for us in our journey to pioneer the most cutting-edge sustainable transport technology,” Agag said in a statement. “With so many examples of the positive real-world impact of each series, this 360-partnership takes our potential to the next level.”

PIF already held a 5% stake in Formula E while owning 50% of both Extreme E (which has already announced plans for an Extreme H championship using new hydrogen-powered vehicles) and E1, which will debut in early February as up to 10 teams take to the water in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Back in 2018, Saudi Arabia announced a 10-year deal to host Formula E races. Formula 1 followed three years later.

“At PIF, we believe in the power of partnerships, investing in innovative collaborations as part of our focus on ‘Investing in Better,’” PIF head of corporate brand Mohamed AlSayyad said in a statement. “These partnerships will enhance the quality of life for people, provide opportunities for the communities we serve, and help continue our work as a catalyst for transformation.”

In September, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that 1% of the country’s GDP growth now stems from sports, and his goal is to increase that by another 1.5 percentage points. PIF is already the main financial backer of LIV Golf with a portfolio that also includes tennis, soccer and boxing connections in addition to racing. The country has stated an interest in manufacturing electric vehicles as well while it looks to diversify its economy outside of the oil business.

“I think people are wrong when they say they do all these sports investments to improve their image or whatever,” Agag told Autosport. “They want to bring the best show for their own people at home. They want to bring the fights to Saudi, the motor races, they want to bring football to Saudi to give the best entertainment and sport to their own public so they can go and watch it right there at their home.”

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