Interview with Neal Coupland, Sports Partnership Director at NEOM

MBFE Filming Days @ STR - Sebastian Kawka
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Earlier this year, NEOM entered a long-term partnership as Principal Partner of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team (MBFE). The partnership will serve to drive knowledge transfer and development of sustainable technology and mobility in alignment with Saudi vision 2030. We talked to Neal Coupland, Sports Partnership Director at NEOM to know more.

Neal Coupland, Sports Partnership Director at NEOM

What was the vision behind the NEOM-Mercedes-Benz EQ’s partnership?
The NEOM-Mercedes-Benz EQ partnership is founded on a shared vision to pursue pioneering ideas, accelerating our bold ambitions to create a land of the future where the greatest minds are empowered to exceed boundaries.

We are excited to be working with an organisation with such a rich heritage in sport who share our values, championing sustainability in support of the world’s first net carbon zero sport and leading advances in technology and engineering, seeking to pioneer the at-scale use of electric vehicles in everyday life.

With the announcement of the partnership, development programs were outlined. How will these contribute to the global sports landscape and the region’s positioning?

At NEOM one of major aims is to inspire a community of pioneers and nurture the next generation of talent. The partnership with Mercedes-Benz EQ will provide vital knowledge sharing opportunities through our graduate GrOW program, which enables young Saudis to undertake placements with the Mercedes-Benz motorsport team giving them invaluable experience to take back to NEOM.

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MBFE Filming Days @ STR – Florian Roser

We will also work together with the Mercedes-Benz EQ team to roll out a Driver Development Programme early next year, for talented junior drivers in the Kingdom.

What are your expectations for the team’s performance in season 7, which will be the first as an FIA World Championship?

We can’t wait for the season to start and are excited to see the team in action. They certainly held their own during their first season in Formula E, finishing on a high with a fantastic first and second finish at the Berlin E-Prix. We are particularly looking forward to the Diriyah E-Prix taking place in February, welcoming Formula E and the Mercedes-Benz EQ team to our home race!

What do you think is the future of green mobility in the region?

NEOM is committed to working in harmony with the environment. Through our partnership with Mercedes-Benz EQ we are looking to lead the way in the adoption of electric vehicles. Taking key learnings from Formula E and Mercedes-Benz EQ we will implement the latest technology in green mobility.

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Mercedes-Benz EQ Formel E Team

What opportunities are you looking forward to exploring with NEOM in the next few years?

We have an exciting opportunity here at NEOM to create a unique sport and physical recreation ecosystem, focusing on the bespoke needs of elite athletes and residents across a wide range of sports. We aim to push the boundaries of sporting achievement using the latest advances in technology and science.

We are based in a location which allows us to offer world-class adventure sport activities in a fully sustainable environment. In addition to this we are also focused on creating a regional hub for e-sports, with our state-of-the-art immersive academy.

From grassroots to high-performance sport NEOM will unite communities, create exceptional liveability and contribute to a thriving economy becoming a centre of sporting excellence and a major participant in the world’s sporting landscape.

MBFE Filming Days @ STR – Sebastian Kawka

In other news, The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team is ready for its second season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. This will commence Season 7 in the all-electric race series with an unchanged line-up, featuring the driver pairing of Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.

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