Formula E

Analysis: This is how much optimisation potential the 2024/25 Formula E race calendar still has

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

Formula E presented its racing calendar for the 2024/25 season last week. It is particularly noticeable that the electric racing series, now in its eleventh season, is attempting to reduce costs and emissions from freight transport by forming geographical blocks. In the past, this has been a major criticism of Formula E's itinerary, which sees sustainability as one of its most important issues.

As the venue for the race on 8 March 2025 was still missing when the race calendar was announced, it is somewhat difficult to analyse the itineraries. We are therefore also looking at the option of the Thai city of Chiang Mai being chosen for the vacant date. After all, statements by some Formula E officials as well as the Prime Minister of Thailand suggest that the 2025 race series could be held in Chiang Mai, although official confirmation is still lacking.

The total distance between the ten known venues, excluding Chiang Mai, is around 69,700 kilometres, i.e. around 7,740 kilometres per venue. Assuming that the race takes place in Chiang Mai on 8 March, the distance increases to 78,400 km, i.e. around 7,840 km per station. The cities are located on four continents - South America, Asia, North America and Europe.

After Italy's exit: fewer cities in Europe than ever before

Of course, the fact that there are only three European venues on the racing calendar in the 2024/25 season - Monaco, Berlin and London - is more significant than ever before. As the racing series travels directly from Berlin to London, there is also relatively little potential for optimisation here. This is different to 2020, when Formula E wanted to travel from Paris via Seoul to Berlin, on to New York City and finally to London, but ended up not doing so due to the pandemic.

The Asian leg in May and June will have a very positive impact on the 2024/25 season: From Tokyo via Shanghai to Jakarta, the freight only covers a distance of 6,200 kilometres, although the Japanese capital alone is around 5,800 kilometres away from Jakarta as the crow flies. The formation of geographical blocks is a strategy deliberately pursued by Formula E, which Julia Palle, Sustainability Director of Formula E, already explained last year in an interview with e-Formula.news.

Integrating the potential Thailand race into the Asian leg from 2026 would be ideal. If this were successful - for example between Shanghai and Jakarta - Thailand would only mean an additional distance of around 1,100 kilometres. If there is indeed a Chiang Mai E-Prix in March 2025 - between the races in Diriyah and Miami - the total distance that the freight would have to cover during the season would increase by around 8,700 kilometres.

Total savings potential still over 50 per cent

However, there is still potential for optimisation in the current calendar: Formula E leaves the American continent in January and returns in April for the Miami E-Prix. Alternatively, the electric series could also travel directly from Mexico City to Miami before heading to Diriyah. This change alone would save around 12,000 kilometres, or almost 20 per cent of the total distance covered during the season!

A maximum optimised race calendar with the currently planned venues (including Chiang Mai) would not be possible with a distance of less than 47,600 km if the season were to start in Sao Paulo and end in London. Formula E would therefore still have a maximum savings potential of 39.5 per cent, at least in theory.

If the order of all race venues were to be completely flexible, the minimum distance would be reduced to 37,900 km and the savings would increase to 51.7 per cent. In the planning for the 2019/20 season, it was even 58.7 per cent. This clearly shows that Formula E has definitely improved in this respect over the last five years.

Note: The graphics used in this gallery are from luftlinie.org (via Open Street Map).

Complete optimisation desirable, but practically impossible

However, it is important to bear in mind that complete optimisation is impossible: the date for the Monaco E-Prix is fixed, as Formula E has to use the existing track infrastructure in the run-up to the Formula 1 race in the Principality. A race in Sao Paulo in February, for example, would also not be feasible, as the Sambadromo Anhembi is used for the city's traditional carnival parade. There are also climatological and political reasons.</p

The values are also only theoretical: a scheduled air link from Tokyo to Berlin, for example, would not even be possible as it would require travelling through Russian and Ukrainian airspace. It goes without saying that this would not be a good idea for safety reasons.

Go back

0 Comments

Add a comment

What is the sum of 3 and 1?