Swiss fans got the chance to see the Formula E car in action for the first ever time when the fully-electric single-seater drove through the streets of Geneva.
The event, organised by Formula E’s Official Timekeeper and Founding Partner TAG Heuer with the support of Global Partner Julius Baer, saw local driver Simona de Silvestro behind the wheel of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.
Setting off from the newly opened TAG Heuer Geneva boutique the SRT_01E continued along the Quai-du-Général-Guisan and past the Geneva branch of Julius Baer. There, Simona found a popular face in the Formula E family; Nick Heidfeld waiting for her just outside the Swiss bank office. The Formula E car stroll then continued crossing the Pont du Mont Blanc Bridge before finishing on the Quai du Mont-Blanc.
Simona de Silvestro, who has driven in IndyCar and tested for the Sauber F1 Team, said: “It was a special moment for me to drive the Formula E car here in the streets of Geneva on the day which celebrates the return of motorsport in Switzerland. For me it was the first time I drove the Spark-Renault SRT_01E and the first feeling I had is that there was no noise! For a driver every new challenge is a great experience and this was even more special; the acceleration of this car is really good and I had a lot of fun. I am sure that the American fans will love to see Formula E in Miami and Long Beach in the next weeks.”
The last motor race to be held in Switzerland was at the circuit of Bremgarten, near Bern, in 1954. Now, after a historic decision by the National Council to adopt a motion by MP Fathi Derder, Switzerland can welcome professional motorsport back into the country. It was Mr Derder who actually gave the start of the street demo, waving the Swiss flag ahead of the car.
The new law – to be confirmed by the Council of States – is restricted to only electric vehicle racing. This opens up the possibility for Formula E to race on the city streets of Switzerland in the future.
“We would never have dreamed of getting an ePrix in Switzerland off the ground without TAG Heuer and Jean-Claude Biver’s continuing support,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. “We are very proud to have TAG Heuer as a founding partner, and thankful that they are able to assist us in this exciting challenge. If the race takes place, TAG Heuer will definitely be our title sponsor. The ePrix will strengthen our close relationship with this country, which is the home market of our Global Partner Bank Julius Baer. They have been fully behind us since the very first race in Beijing.”
This month will also see attention turn to Geneva as the capital of the motorsport world with the launch of the Geneva International Motor Show from the 5-15 March. The Formula E car will be on display with the e.dams-Renault car also on show at the Renault stand.