Formula E unlikely to return to London this year
Brakes are applied to plans for a race in iconic central London streets as it emerges no events in the fully-electric championship are scheduled to take place in the UK capital during 2017-18 season
London is almost certain to sit out fourth season of the world’s first fully electric single-seater motor racing series, despite Battersea Park having previously hosted successful races, E&T understands.
No competitive events involving the environmentally friendly vehicles are scheduled to take place in the city, and insiders regard it as highly unlikely that there still remains enough time to organise any such event for the 2017-18 season.
Plans are afoot for a “wow factor” electric motorsport fixture in the UK capital during the 2018-19 season, however, and returning to the city is considered a top priority by organisers Formula E because of London’s global clout.
When the list of locations for this season’s fixtures was made public earlier this month, London was notable by its absence. The organisers had hoped electric cars would be allowed to race down some of the most iconic streets in the city to boost the exposure of electric mobility and drive ticket sales.
Permission for such a high-profile event, which would have been likely to draw big crowds, appears not to have materialised in time, though. Such events are tightly regulated, and numerous authorities including councils, the fire service and the Mayor of London’s office would have had to give their blessing.
This season’s calendar features what organisers describe as “a more compact schedule than in previous years”, including three double-headers and three new venues - Santiago, Sao Paulo and Rome.
Formula E will stop at new locations in both South America and Europe this season, with races in the Chilean capital Santiago in February and on the streets of Sao Paulo in March.
The electric street-racing series will also be holding an event in Rome and will be returning to the French capital for the third edition of the Paris ePrix on April 28 2018.
The penultimate event will take place in New York against the backdrop of Manhattan skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty, before the season draws to a close in Montreal, Canada, next summer.
FIA President Jean Todt, said: “The FIA Formula E Championship continues to break new ground bringing motorsport and electric mobility to new urban centres around the world.”
He added: “The impact of this exposure to millions of potential new fans will be fantastic, and the desire of the cities to be involved in the championship shows how much of a success Formula E has been over its first three seasons.”