Sanya aspires to return to Formula E calendar: entertainment park planned at race track
Three and a half years ago, Formula E made its last trip to China. The Sanya E-Prix took place in the shadow of a luxury hotel complex, on a circuit that was unremarkable apart from the scenery. Then came Corona - and China disappeared from the map of the electric series. That's supposed to change starting in 2024.
For several months now, the name of Hainan province has been circulating through the Formula E paddock again, and the local promoter's interest in bringing the series back to Sanya is undisputed. A new attempt for the China race is now to be made in 2024: with a race in a newly built entertainment park.
In addition to Formula E, the planned facility will also be dedicated to vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers. The construction plans, first reported by the 'South China Morning Post', include exhibition areas for the presentation of new cars, hotels and office buildings for business customers, as well as an amusement park with lanes for electric go-karts.
Entertainment park at race track - is the E1 Series coming?
The government of Hainan province wants to invest a total of five billion yuan in the construction project, the equivalent of about 685 million euros. The company Lianxin International from the megacity Shenzhen was commissioned with the implementation. This company was also involved in the organization of the previous China and Hong Kong Formula E races, respectively.
"Hainan will certainly become an influential region in China and even worldwide when it comes to hosting international sporting events," says Lianxin chairman Yin Xiaoming, explaining his vision for the project. And Ji Gang, a partner at consultancy Roland Berger in Shanghai, adds, "Formula E can serve as an entry point for the project and help market electric brands."
In addition to Formula E, the E1 Series, Alejandro Agag's planned speedboat championship, could also make a stop in Sanya in the future. And preferably as soon as possible: if the organizers have their way, Formula E should be racing in China again as early as a year from now, with the E1 category to follow soon thereafter.
A return to the "Middle Kingdom" can't come fast enough for the teams enrolled in Formula E either. With Nio 333, even a racing team with a Chinese starting license is taking part in the series' races. But all the other manufacturers are also very interested in marketing their electric vehicles in the important sales market of China.
When the next Sanya E-Prix will take place is likely to depend largely on China's Corona policy. In recent weeks, entry and quarantine rules have been relaxed after months of restrictions. International sporting events could also soon become possible. The ball will then be in the court of Formula E, which will have to clarify the details of a return to China with its local organizer.