India: Formula E race in Hyderabad threatened with short-term cancellation, series reacts
The Formula E race in Hyderabad, currently scheduled for 10 February 2024, is set to be cancelled. The electric series fears that the E-Prix in the Indian metropolis "cannot take place as planned". The reason is a change in local politics. A replacement race is currently not foreseeable.
A change of government in the Indian region of Telangana, in which the Congress has taken the lead, is threatening Formula E with trouble. After the previous IPS party leader Anjani Kumar was suspended a few weeks ago, the new administration is reportedly under pressure to focus on other initiatives in the city.
Just six weeks before the second Hyderabad E-Prix was scheduled to take place, Formula E confirmed on Thursday that the race is at risk.
"Following a recent official communication received from the new Government of Telangana, Formula E is seeking urgent clarification of their contractual commitments under the agreement and how it could impact the Hyderabad race," said a statement from Formula E obtained by Motorsport.com.
Formula E recalls "multi-year agreement"
And further: "Based on the content of the letter received, Formula E is concerned the race will not be able to go ahead as planned." The leadership team of the electric championship around co-founder Alberto Longo had met with representatives of the new Telangana government immediately after the elections at the beginning of December - so far without success.
"Discussions have been ongoing since then," it said, adding that "with the event just a few weeks away and in its final stages of preparation, Formula E, partners and suppliers have already made significant commercial investments in the event." In its statement, the series reminds the public of the "multi-year agreement between Formula E and the Government of Telangana."
No replacement race in sight
Formula E is also emphasising the added value of a race: "The inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix in February this year returned almost $84 million in positive economic impact to the region, many times more than the overhead costs invested by Formula E and the Government of Telangana."
Further updates are to follow "in due course". However, it is unlikely that Formula E will pull a replacement race out of a hat due to the short notice. It is more realistic that the 2024 race calendar, which was just recently ratified by the FIA with 17 races, will shrink to 16 races - twelve of which will be part of the six double headers. In addition, another true street race would be cancelled.
The new Formula E season kicks off in just over two weeks on 13 January with a single race in Mexico City.