Official: Formula E cancels 2024 Hyderabad E-Prix & considers legal action
There were rumours before the turn of the year, but now it's official: Formula E cancelled the Hyderabad E-Prix on Friday evening despite a valid contract. This means that the electric series will not be racing in India in 2024. As no replacement race can be organised due to the short time available - the race should have been held five weeks later - the calendar will be reduced to just 16 races. Those responsible for the racing series are disappointed.
The cancellation follows a decision by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department (MAUD) under control of the Telangana state government, not to fulfil the multi-year agreement signed on 30 October 2023 to host the Formula E race. For the racing series, this is a clear breach of contract that follows a change in local politics in the state.
This could also have legal consequences, according to Formula E. A lawsuit is not ruled out. "Formula E Operations (FEO) is currently reviewing its position and what steps it can take in accordance with the Host City Agreement and applicable laws. FEO reserves all rights in this regard."
For Formula E, the cancellation is a major setback. After all, with the return to China and the debut race in Japan, 2024 was actually supposed to be the year in which the racing series would be represented with a race in all core markets around the world. Both Mahindra Racing and Jehan Daruvala, the only Formula E rookie in 2024, will not be racing at their home country.
The cancellation of the race scheduled for 10 February creates a gap of seven weeks in the race calendar between the double-header in Diriyya and the race in Sao Paulo, leaving the entire month of February without a race. A race planned for a fortnight later, presumably the second staging of the Cape Town E-Prix, was already cancelled from the calendar in October.
Longo: "We're extremely disappointed for the fans"
"We are extremely disappointed for the huge motorsport fanbase in India," said Alberto Longo, Chief Championship Officer of Formula E. "We know that hosting an official motorsport world championship race is an important and prestigious occasion for Hyderabad and the whole country."
"The President of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), Akbar Ebrahim, and his team have been incredibly supportive in bringing Formula E back to Hyderabad," Longo continued. "They share our disappointment in the decision of the Government of Telangana which means that will not happen."
"It is deeply frustrating that we cannot build on the success of the inaugural race last year, which delivered almost 84m USD in positive economic impact to the region," explains Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds. "We are also disappointed for our major Indian partners, particularly Mahindra and Tata Communications."
"Racing in Hyderabad was important to showcase the benefits of adopting electric vehicles in a market where pollution from vehicle engines has a massive impact on public health and the environment," adds the Briton.
This is not the first time that Formula E has been faced with a breach of contract following a change in local policy. The best-known example is certainly the Montreal E-Prix, which was a major issue in the Canadian city's mayoral election campaign after it was first held in 2017. The new mayor, Valerie Plante, cancelled the agreement negotiated by her predecessor, a few years later Formula E reached an out-of-court settlement with the city for millions in compensation.