How the final stages of the current Formula E calendar will look is still unclear, after a series of interventions from local politicians in the planned host cities.
The “traditional” season closer in London’s Battersea Park was scrapped last summer after complaints from a local residents group. They successfully lobbied councillors to cancel the event citing concerns about the removal of green space in favour of tarmac, despite Formula E paying for new roads and other improvements to the park.
Several rounds marked as “to be confirmed” on the initial schedule never came to fruition, leaving a massive 12-week gap between November’s Marrakesh ePrix and the next round in Buenos Aires on 18 February.
Late last month, it was revealed that the location of the Berlin ePrix would have to change after local politicians objected. It looks likely to return to the Templehof airfield track used in season one, rather than the inner-city street circuit used last year.
The fate of the entire Brussels ePrix now looks in doubt after the planned location was also deemed unsuitable by Belgian transport ministers. Originally scheduled for 1 June, local organisers have conceded that it will be very difficult to find an alternative venue in time. Rumours quickly circulated that the round could be moved to the German city of Hamburg, but this is also meeting with political resistance.
Fourth time’s the charm?
Season three is starting to look like the beginning of a difficult transition period for the electric racing series. Cities around the world are keen to look green, but it’s proving difficult to convince them to embrace Formula E. Ironically, in many cases, this is because of the impact the event will have on local traffic.
There are a number of new cities in the running to host races next season. Formula E have expressed an interest in visiting new cities in Australia, Brazil and India, as well as a return to London. Most recently, Alejandro Agag has held meetings over holding a round in Rome.
Whatever the outcome of negotiations over this season’s races, the series must now work hard to ensure the quality and quantity of race weekends for season four. With competition from the new Electric GT series, and with the potential for some of the biggest names in motorsport to join the series soon, now is not the time to loose momentum.
Image: Robin Frijns racing in Hong Kong © Formula E