Formula E

Countdown to Shanghai E-Prix: What the return to China means for Formula E

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

After more than five years, Formula E will return to China on 25 and 26 May 2024. The electric racing series will race for the first time on the Shanghai International Circuit, which also hosts Formula 1. During a visit to Shanghai, Jeff Dodds, CEO of Formula E, and ERT Team Principal Alex Hui explained what the return of Formula E to China means to them.

China is an important country for Formula E. The series held its very first race in Beijing on 13 September 2014. In the second season, the season opener was also held in the Chinese capital before Formula E took up residence in the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong for three years from 2016. Another race was held in Sanya on the island of Hainan in March 2019, before the pandemic put a spanner in the works of a planned return for a long time. For example, the second Sanya E-Prix had to be cancelled in March 2020.

Although many other countries returned to normality in 2022, the rules in China remained extremely strict. Major international sporting events were therefore out of the question. Formula 1 also had to cancel the races planned for 2022 and 2023 in Shanghai - these were also due to be held on the Shanghai International Circuit. The absence from China will end next year though.

The return to the "Middle Kingdom" is extremely important for the manufacturers and partners involved in Formula E, as the country with its population of around 1.4 billion is regarded as an extremely important market for electric cars. In addition to the Chinese-flagged ERT team, Envision Racing is another team that is owned by a Chinese company.

Formula E CEO Dodds wants to "continue to set standards for the tenth anniversary"

"It is a special honour for Formula E to be racing in Shanghai for the first time next May," says Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds. Together with ERT Team Principal Alex Hui, he recently travelled to Shanghai to officially start the countdown to the first Shanghai E-Prix almost six months to the day before the race.

"We want to continue to set the benchmark for our tenth anniversary as the first all-electric motorsport," says Dodds. "We will be competing in Shanghai, a new venue for us in China. The country is a world leader in the development and acceptance of electric vehicles."

"The race in Shanghai is not only symbolic for Formula E, but will also be an incredible race weekend for the fans," continued Dodds. "There is a passionate sports fan base in the city. We can't wait to present them with a completely new form of racing - with speeds of up to 300 km/h and more than 100 overtaking manoeuvres in most races."

ERT team principal Hui: "Drivers are already practising in the simulator"

"As a Chinese team, we are really looking forward to competing in our home races," says Alex Hui, team principal of the newly branded team ERT. "Everyone in the team is already working hard for the new season and I know that our drivers Dan Ticktum and Sergio Sette Camara will give their best for the home fans. They are already in the simulators and practising for the challenging track in Shanghai."

From a sporting perspective, the electric series' previous appearances in China have been quite varied: the seven races - including Hong Kong - have produced six different winners with six different teams. Only Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) was able to crown himself the winner twice. The Swiss driver won one race each in Beijing and Hong Kong. The last race winner in China was DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne.

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