Monday, July 22, 2024

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The problem that Formula E may face in sticking to its current calendar DNA

Since taking on his latest position almost a 12 months ago, Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds has been vocal on several topics as he looks to guide the all-electric championship to larger and higher things.

The latest buzz has centered across the 2024-25 Formula E calendar, which was released earlier this month and has been approved by the FIA ​​World Motor Sport Council, with 17 races scheduled across 11 locations.

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The campaign begins in Sao Paulo in December this 12 months, spans two calendar seasons – something that hasn't happened because the pre-pandemic era – and extends until July 2025, when it is going to end again in London at ExCeL.

Tokyo, a well-liked newcomer this 12 months, and Monaco are moving to doubleheaders attributable to the appeal of each, while Jakarta in Indonesia returns after a year-long hiatus attributable to local politics.

But digging deeper, Dodds has made no secret of the incontrovertible fact that he sees Formula E as “a series of city races” and “of those 17 races, lower than 25% of them shall be on everlasting tracks.

“This means that, guided by our DNA, three-quarters of our races will be on street or built tracks,” Dodds says. “It's an actual mixture of old favorites. Much of the feedback we receive from bands, producers and fans concerns the will for continuity within the hardcore calendar.

Of the 11 locations listed on the calendar, only three are everlasting, including the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track in Mexico, the Shanghai International Circuit in China and America's newest homestead-Miami Speedway.

Formula E has added Shanghai to the calendar for the current season

Formula E has added Shanghai to the calendar for the present season

Photo: Andreas Beil

While the championship has previously raced at nine venues, two latest venues shall be visited for the primary time, including the Miami speedway, with a date to be determined for March 8, which Dodds said shall be latest and, in response to Autosport, is Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The American race will happen on April 12 and can happen on a lot of the Homestead infield track, in addition to potentially a part of the oval, becoming the fifth different venue used for Formula E racing within the US after previous visits to the purpose-built track in Miami, Long Beach, New York and most recently Portland.

“We think it's a extremely good track and suits our type of racing well. The Miami name that comes with it’s perceived by television audiences all over the world as a reputation that draws Miami, perhaps greater than cities like Portland,” says Dodds, who admits that a second U.S. location is being sought.

“Reality depends on location [Misano]which is quite far from the nearest airport and with a style of racing that not everyone liked, it didn't feel like it would be a permanent, long-term home.” Jeff Dodds

“Actually, there are probably seven or eight different major cities within the U.S. talking to us about having a race of their city. So these conversations are alive and all the time ongoing. “I think our calendar can accommodate two races in North America and probably two races in China.”

While Dodds is already seeking to boost Formula E's growth in markets where sales of electrical vehicle technology are growing, a notable absence from next season's calendar is the absence of a race in Italy.

The Misano World Circuit hosted a double-header for the primary time earlier this 12 months, but was met with criticism because the Italian track's wide, flowing spaces resulted in wild racing that became disliked by many drivers, while the general distant location meant Formula E the organizers didn’t seek a refund.

“The reality is that the location is quite far from the nearest airport and with the style of racing not to everyone's taste, it didn't feel like it was going to be our permanent long-term home,” admits Dodds. “We feel we should be closer to a major city and ideally we would be on a built or street track rather than a permanent track.”

Misano was dropped partly due to its remote location

Misano was dropped partly attributable to its distant location

Photo: Andreas Beil

While the push to construct more street circuits closer to city centers is smart on paper, provided that this was one in all the championship's unique selling points when it was founded 10 years ago, in point of fact it’s now a growing problem attributable to the ever-changing situation – increasing the speed of cars.

The Gen3 Evo, which shall be used next season, is anticipated to be faster than its predecessor, while the planned introduction of a Gen4 machine, equipped for the primary time with slick tires with almost twice the ability, will significantly deepen the issue that Formula E will face if it desires to proceed racing on tight and winding streets.

Such locations wouldn’t only limit the true potential of the machines, but would also require greater costs to make sure that facilities meet appropriate safety standards. The increased speeds of the Gen3 machine were one in all the the explanation why the long-standing Rome venue was faraway from the calendar this season, with the layout deemed unnecessary and even dangerous after a nasty multi-car crash in the course of the last visit.

“Formula 1 is putting street circuits on its calendar and the cars are much bigger and more powerful than us, so it's possible,” says Dodds. “We're going to places we'd really prefer to race, but when it's not practical to construct a race track in the midst of the town, we'll consider everlasting tracks, but it surely's about finding the fitting everlasting tracks.

“An excellent example: I’d like to do a race on the Bund in Shanghai, but the fact is that in 50 minutes you’ve gotten a world-class racetrack with world-class facilities and we’re able to adapt the track to our needs. needs in the longer term.

“The ambition would be to retain our DNA, to race in cities, but to create suitable permanent tracks where we feel we can show the capabilities of the car and attract a fan base.”

For now at the least, Formula E has returned its focus to street and city circuits, which shall be excellent news for drivers, lots of whom have grown to dislike the type of peloton racing typically produced on everlasting tracks attributable to the present class of cars.

However, how long this may remain a viable option in the longer term of the championship is up for debate because it continues to advertise electric vehicle technology, which could mean that current facilities could turn out to be an unviable option.

City tracks are coming back into fashion after Formula E flirted with permanent venues

City tracks are coming back into fashion after Formula E flirted with everlasting venues

Photo: Andreas Beil

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