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Formula E targets new races after successful debut season

Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag has said that the electric auto racing series will add two new races in its second year, with Monaco set to drop off the calendar following its inaugural campaign.

The 2014-15 Formula E season concluded with two races in London at the weekend, following a debut campaign that has taken in events in Beijing, Putrajaya, Punta del Este, Buenos Aires, Miami, Long Beach, Monaco, Berlin and Moscow. Monaco will exit the calendar next year as its date before Formula One’s showpiece race will clash with the return of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, which is held every other year.

The likes of Montreal, New York, Paris and Rome have been linked to Formula E race deals, with events held on street circuits in their respective cities. Agag told the Forbes website: “Next year we are losing Monaco and we are adding two. It is going up by one but I may take another one down.”

Reuters added that events in Africa and India are also being targeted. “We want to conquer as much of the world as we can,” Agag said, according to the news agency. “We will be looking for places maybe in Africa also.”

India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Auto Group runs a Formula E team and its president, Pawan Goenka, said talks are ongoing over events in New Delhi and Bangalore. “It cannot happen in 2015-16, it's too late, but in 2016-17 we would like to,” he said. “The organisers have a general interest in bringing a race to India. Delhi will be ideal in terms of interest and visibility and the backdrop that you get and wide roads – but perhaps most difficult at the same time – followed by Bangalore. Mumbai is out of the question.”

Agag said the debut season had been a “great success, especially when you consider how difficult it was to make it happen.” However, he moved to play down the comments of Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, whose British driver Sam Bird won the final race on Sunday. Branson said Formula E would overtake Formula One within five years. However, Agag stated: “We love Formula One and think it's great. But we think Formula E is different. We would be making a big mistake if we tried to compete with Formula One and be similar to Formula One.

“We have to be radically different to Formula One to have a chance of survival. I don't mean survival by beating Formula One but co-existing complimentary to Formula One. I think that will be the only chance for us to have a long term future in the world of motorsport. We stand no chance against Formula One but we do stand a very strong chance on our own as a different product.”

Branson’s Virgin Racing team was the subject of further investment in Formula E from the automotive industry at the weekend, as it was announced that Citroen’s DS brand would link up with the outfit. Citroen joins French rival Renault, German group Audi and Mahindra in investing in Formula E in a deal that will see Branson’s squad rebranded as DS Virgin Racing.

Yves Bonnefont, chief executive of the DS brand, said: “The engagement of the DS brand in Formula E with our partner Virgin Racing is fully consistent with the brand’s positioning. We fully share the values of Formula E: avant-garde technology and proximity to the public. The experiences that we will accumulate thanks to the races are key factors for us in the improvement of our technology directly serving our customers.”   
From season two of Formula E, constructors will be allowed to develop the powertrains of the electric vehicles.