Future of Hyderabad E-Prix uncertain: "At the moment, the race isn't happening"
In the past season, the practice accident involving Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) and the teammate collision of the Jaguar duo made the Hyderabad E-Prix a sporting turning point in the Formula E title fight. But whether the India round, chaotic in its organisation, will get a new edition next year is still uncertain
The Hyderabad E-Prix almost didn't take place in 2023. The construction of the track infrastructure had taken longer than hoped and was only finished as part of a literal last-minute dash to get the circuit up to FIA standards. The fact that tuktuks, scooters and cars rolled onto the actually closed-off track in rush hour traffic just moments before the start of the free practice only emphasised the comparatively chaotic organisation of the race event. The rest of the E-Prix weekend went smoothly and produced several moments of sporting significance.
That there will be a repeat of the Hyderabad E-Prix in 2024, however, remains uncertain. In the race calendar presented by the FIA, one of two possible February slots for the India race is currently still marked with a "TBD" (to be determined). Behind the scenes, however, according to The Hindu the word is already out that Hyderabad "will not be hosting the event". The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) told the daily newspaper, "At the moment, the race isn’t happening in Hyderabad, and India’s chances of hosting the 2024 Championship are slim."
Administration complicates race event
There are "various reasons" for the scepticism at the motor sport association, of which "one cannot identify one particular aspect behind it". However, one manager states, "The circuit is great and there is nothing wrong with the track. It’s just the management thing that might have led to this decision. It was the first time that Hyderabad was hosting and it was great. The challenge is to host it on a consistent basis like other countries."
A study commissioned by Formula E claims that the Hyderabad E-Prix generated an economic benefit of the equivalent of 78.5 million euros for the city - although the electric series did not say which method was used for the calculation. 31,000 spectators are said to have watched the E-Prix in the stands.
Whether Hyderabad will return to the Formula E calendar in 2024 may be decided in a matter of weeks. The FIA World Motor Sport Council, which decides the calendar for the electric series, next meets on 9 October and another time at the FIA Gala in Baku, Azerbaijan, scheduled for 6 December. Formula E will travel to Mexico City for the start of the next season on 13 January.