Formula E off the track: offering the ultimate electric experience
Streamlined electric vehicles zooming past the finish line with a crowd cheering from the sidelines: this scene has been celebrated umpteen times around the globe since Formula E’s official inauguration in 2014, but what goes on off the track? Yuliana Ramirez and Antje Hembd of Global Sponsoring and Partnership at Julius Baer give us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look.
Every second – or millisecond, that is – counts in Formula E. And pace plays a crucial role not only on the track – preparing for and running an event as action-packed and interactive as this is no leisurely feat. Enter team members Yuliana Ramirez and Antje Hembd, who are well versed in what it takes to bring the ideal racing day experience to fruition.
Having previously worked for the Sauber Formula One team, Antje is familiar with the thrills both on and off the track, whereas Yuliana was relatively new to the motorsport scene when she first started. “My background is in luxury goods actually, so I never imagined coming into the world of Formula E, but it’s definitely something special,” she insists. Now the pair work fluently as a tight-knit team, ensuring electric-racing enthusiasts the ultimate electric experience.
Race day through their eyes
When asked what a typical race day looks like, Yuliana jokingly asks whether we have all day. “The clock starts at breakfast, during which we discuss plans for the day before heading to the track to ensure our branding is in order. We then prepare everything in the ‘Emotion Club’ or our dedicated ‘Pole Position Lounge’ before meeting with colleagues and partners and, ultimately, receiving guests – that’s when the real work starts,” she explains. Antje confirms this notion: “The focus is very much on ensuring our guests enjoy a holistic race-day experience.”
With approximately 50 to 100 guests circulating the various attractions on a given race day, what is race day like through the eyes of guests? “It’s all about providing our guests with a behind-the-scenes look at the latest innovations concerning the cars of the future, and letting them experience it all first-hand,” says Antje. “We want to offer them a peek at the future of mobility and let them ask the experts questions – they can meet the teams and drivers, and even sit in a BMW i8 safety car and do a hot lap around the track.”
More than a few memorable moments
Among the numerous events, are there any moments in particular that stand out? “In Mexico there was a father with his friends and about ten children, who were super excited to be there and explore all of the family-oriented events,” says Yuliana. “One of the girls, who was maybe eight, started crying when she realised they weren’t able to visit the garages. So we made sure that the entire group was granted access. The little girl was absolutely ecstatic, especially during her meet and greet with António Félix da Costa, one of the drivers for DS Techeetah.”
From Marrakesh to Hong Kong, New York City to Rome, Antje and Yuliana have globetrotted from one continent to the next in the name of one of the fastest growing motorsports on the planet. So, do either have a favourite race? “The E-Prix in Santiago, Chile, was amazing,” says Yuliana. “It took place in the heart of the city and the atmosphere was phenomenal. And the Mexico City E-Prix felt completely different because the people there are just so passionate about motorsports. And of course Hong Kong – the race track is surrounded by skyscrapers and faces the harbor. The view is unforgettable,” she says. Antje is also reluctant to narrow it down to just one race: “My favourites are definitely Hong Kong and Paris, both of which are in the heart of the city which makes it all the easier to feel the hype around you.”
A dynamic duo
As unofficial ambassadors of the city-based, electric-car championship who spend days on end together, what’s it like working together so closely? “Antje has a strong personality and is very straight-forward,” admits Yuliana. “Thanks to this, though, she’s able to solve problems very quickly.” Antje is quick to add: “Yuliana’s impressive language skills and approachability make her an ideal point of contact first and foremost for our guests and business partners, as well as our regional marketing colleagues, who coordinate client hospitality. So, we truly complement one another.”
Window to the future
With championships scheduled well into the future, Yuliana and Antje’s calendars are full. Given the thousands of guests that have been and are yet to be introduced to the boundary-defying motorsport, what is Julius Baer’s take-home message? “By bringing people closer to the sport, we want to share with them our visionary approach to investing and show them that how we invest today is how we will live tomorrow,” says Antje. “We are demonstrating the potential of sustainable mobility to ultimately contributing to a cleaner planet.”
And by setting up sometimes hard-to-imagine racetracks in the densest of city centres, the racing series serves as a catalyst to continually improve the design of sustainable, electric vehicles, which ultimately cascades to the overall driving experience for everyday drivers around the globe. So, let us rejoice and keep an eye out for the newest era of all-electric vehicles both on and off the tracks.
Formula E people
Every racing driver will tell you that it takes an entire team to make sure he and his car are ready to hit the track on race day. The same is true of Formula E. We take you behind the scenes to meet the engineers, mechanics, team managers, logistics coordinators, track engineers, PR managers – and many more – who make it possible to race in over ten city circuits each season.