Racing car for Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team

Driving Innovation: The Business Behind the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team

It’s fast. It’s exciting. And it’s all electric. ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is the new motorsport in town.

Around since 2014, this racing event is similar to Formula 1 in many respects: The competition takes place in the city centers of some of the most iconic places in the world and the cars are single-seat, open-cockpit, open-wheel speed machines.

But the Formula E cars, which can reach speeds up to 175 mph, are powered solely by electric batteries. For the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, this sport is an opportunity to demonstrate some impressive technology – on the racing circuit, of course, but also in the business operations that support the team’s car and drivers.

The Business Side of Racing

“When we decided to join the racing circuit in 2019, we had two challenges,” says Laura Goodrick, chief financial officer of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team. “We were putting together a brand-new racing team, but at the same time we were essentially creating a startup company.”

To get this dedicated support organization up and running very quickly, the race team chose SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Goodrick explains that the solution offered both fast implementation and support for a team that is constantly on the go.

“We have business operations in the UK, in Germany, and at racing venues around the world,” Goodrick says. “So being cloud-based has really given us an advantage.”

Today, virtually the entire team relies on SAP S/4HANA Cloud to put the data they need right at their fingertips. This helps them drive financial control on the international race circuit and efficiency across a global supply chain.

Understanding the New Fan

The team is also using leading-edge technology to learn more about a new generation of racing enthusiast.

“Without the fans, there would be no sport,” says Ian James, team principal of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Race Team. “To understand what the fans want from the sport is hugely important.”

And the demographics associated with the new sport are pretty interesting. For example, data released by the ABB FIA Formula E Championship after its fifth season revealed that 72% of its followers on social channels were under the age of 35.

The Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team is using Experience Management solutions from SAP and Qualtrics to help create the ultimate customer experience.

“We get instant feedback that helps us identify where we are setting the benchmark and where there are gaps and room for improvement,” James continues.

Innovation, Innovation, Innovation

Formula E racing is all about innovation and the technologies that are likely to dominate sustainable transportation down the road.

“Formula E gives us a platform to showcase the technologies driving our Mercedes-EQ brand,” says Goodrick.

And the Mercedes-EQ segment of the business is growing at racetrack speed.

According to Daimler officials (Daimler AG owns the Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG brands), the company will be bringing more than 10 different all-electric vehicles to market by 2022, and customers will have the choice of at least one electric alternative in every Mercedes‑Benz model series.

All-electric vehicles could be the future of auto racing and the future of our daily commute.

Be sure to check out these videos featuring Laura Goodrick and Ian James to see the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team in action. And learn why the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team was recognized as a recent SAP Innovation Award finalist.

John Ward is part of SAP Customer Marketing CoE.
This story originally appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.
*Top image courtesy of Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team