Formula E

"Formula E would further grow an EV ecosystem in the city": Phoenix approves feasibility study

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

On 4 October, the Phoenix City Council approved a motion to provide funding for a feasibility study for a Formula E race in the city. This was reported by the local radio station KJZZ. This would mean that - probably in 2025 - an international motorsport series could once again race in the capital of the US state of Arizona after more than 30 years: From 1989 to 1991, Formula 1 three times held the US Grand Prix on a street circuit in Phoenix.

"The Community and Economic Development Department (CEDD) is seeking authorization to work with 'Visit Phoenix' to conduct a feasibility study to help determine if the City should seek an opportunity to host a Formula E race," reads a motion approved by the City Council at its meeting. "Hosting the Formula E race would further identify Phoenix as a leader in creating clean technology jobs and to further grow an EV ecosystem in the city. This study will include analyzing the street infrastructure, costs, and benefits of hosting this type of major event, and other information as requested by the City to make an informed decision on pursuing a host opportunity for the race."

For Formula E, the city's initiative comes at a perfect time: it is currently looking for a long-term venue for its USA race after its previous location in New York City is no longer available as a result of the new construction of a cruise ship terminal. As a replacement race, a race was held on a permanent track in Portland this June. Although the Portland E-Prix has been a great success and is also scheduled on the racing calendar for the coming season, electric series officials continue to prefer races in city centres.

Race should "bring even more excitement for vehicle electrification"

"In the only other American city to host this race, the event sold out very quickly and attracted over 20,000 attendees," Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari is quoted as saying. "This contract specifically is to help attract the Formula E race to Phoenix and bring even more excitement for vehicle electrification and provide yet another sporting event that will undoubtedly boost our economy."

The 31-year-old Democrat, who previously studied at Stanford and Cambridge, is regarded as a climate policy expert. She established an Office of Heat Response and Mitigation in the city after taking office in 2021. Its tasks include planting trees, reducing heat absorption from road surfaces, educating residents and allocating resources such as water. Ansari helped develop a plan to promote the use of electric vehicles and lobbied for the city to purchase public buses with electric propulsion and hydrogen fuel cells.

The planned Los Angeles E-Prix, to be held near one of the California city's major sports stadiums, is unlikely to be implemented before 2025, according to The Race. Two US races in one season would nevertheless be quite conceivable: In its first season in 2014/15, Formula E already raced in Long Beach and also in Miami.

If there were to be a Phoenix E-Prix, one team would be particularly pleased: McLaren won all three Formula 1 races in the city with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, and the team also secured pole position each time.

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