Formula E: India to remain on calendar, China race returns with Shanghai Formula 1 circuit?
After several years without an E-Prix in China, there are signs of a return of the country to the Formula E race calendar. After races took part in Beijing, Hong Kong and Sanya, the electric racing series is set to make a guest appearance in Shanghai, the country's largest city, next year. After its debut in 2023, India is also to remain on the race calendar next year, while Cape Town is hardly considered to have any chances.
The planned venue in Shanghai is not a classic Formula E circuit in the city centre, but a shortened version of the Formula One Shanghai International Circuit. This is reported by the colleagues of The Race. The permanent race course, developed by German architect Hermann Tilke, allows for several track configurations with a length between 2.1 and 5.5 km.
A Shanghai E-Prix would thus be the sixth race in the series to be held on a classic circuit: Formula E uses a shortened version of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, as well as the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed in Puebla once in 2021, the Circuit International Automobile Moulay el Hassan in Marrakech, the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia and the Portland International Raceway in Portland.
A race in China, one of the biggest growth markets for electric cars, is high on the list of priorities for several manufacturers in the racing series. Plans to return to Sanya, where Formula E held a race in 2019, have so far fallen through due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as related logistical problems.
"We need a footprint in China," says Alberto Longo, Formula E's Chief Championship Officer at The Race. "Everybody understood up to 2023 that it wasn’t viable because of COVID, but from 2024 the pressure is there. That’s not just coming from the Formula E eco-system but ourselves too, we are putting on a lot of pressure to be back to mainland China."
The date is set for the currently vacant slot in May, so the race will form an Asian section of the calendar along with the Jakarta E-Prix, scheduled two weeks later. An optimisation of the race calendar by forming geographical blocks had already been announced by Julia Palle, Formula E's sustainability director, in an exclusive interview with e-Formula.news back in the summer.
In addition to Shanghai, a return to the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong has also become somewhat more likely in the meantime, but not until 2025. Thus, several former employees of the race promoter Enova, which has since been dissolved, nevertheless held talks with Formula E in June this year about a return to the metropolis.
India still a topic, South Africa race on the brink
At the behest of Jaguar and Mahindra, Formula E is also working on the realisation of a race in India. In 2023, the racing series competed for the first time in Hyderabad. A chaotic organisation of the event - among other things, motorbikes and tuk-tuks were accidentally let onto the track shortly before the start of the 1st free practice session which led to a delay of 45 minutes - made a return seem unlikely recently. Nevertheless, the racing series is working on a second race in India, which could possibly be held in Chennai instead of Hyderabad.
A return to Cape Town, on the other hand, is highly unlikely. Although the race in front of the backdrop of Table Mountain was extremely popular with fans and drivers this year, a new edition is in serious jeopardy for economic reasons: The Cape Town E-Prix is said to have been a "financial disaster" and Formula E suffered a "significant loss" by staging it.
A calendar update for the Formula E World Championship is expected at the upcoming World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting on 19 October. e-Formula.news will keep you up to date with any new developments.