Technically, the rest of the calendar should be filled by the other postponed and cancelled rounds, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, there are a couple of issues with each of these events.
The easiest postponed ePrix to talk about is the potential Jakarta ePrix. The proposed circuit, that Formula E planned to use, has been rejected, and no official new racetrack layout, has been chosen, or at least publicly declared.
Some even expected the series to move the race to the permanent and much more rural Sentul International circuit, just to make the event work in 2020. So, Indonesia can be lost for at least 1 year, in its 5-year deal, and allow the country to find a suitable circuit, without the Coronavirus Pandemic, for 2021.
You then have, the Seoul and New York ePrix. South Korea and the U.S.A., really have had two different approaches to the Coronavirus pandemic. So, I believe South Korea will not want to hold this event, due to the threat to its citizens. New York could open up for Formula E, but it would likely need to happen in the summer of September and would push the European races into later in the year.
Again, lowering the costs of the Formula E series, travelling transcontinental, is not going to be easy, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues. Plus, racing at either venue in Late October or later, is not exactly going to be without problems, with a chance of snow, or very cold and windy weather, in both cities. Also, similar to the European rounds, the street circuits are unlikely to be available, to be reconstructed in this calendar year, at the threat of the city workers, being busy working on the Coronavirus pandemic efforsts, or the event potentially transmitting the infection locally.
So, neither race would likely happen, and a similar explanation can be given to the Hong Kong and Sanya ePrix events. Although the warmer climate of both cities, making an Autumn or winter event, preferable for both cities, the circuits are made from real public roads (unlike the Berlin Tempelhof circuit).
So, similar to the European rounds, the street circuits are unlikely to be available, to be reconstructed in this calendar year, at the threat of the city workers, being busy working on the Coronavirus pandemic, or the event potentially transmitting the infection locally.
If one these 5 racetracks would be available, then they should take priority, over any new potential races or events. But I believe the European rounds should be prioritised, since they are cheaper, and easier to organise, within international transportation laws. If the New York race could happen in July rather than the proposed Donington Park event, then that would be great, but I can’t see Formula E, being brave enough, to travel all the way over the Atlantic Ocean, when international travel is still so restricted.
So, without these 5 events, and all of the proposed events, to replace or to add to the European races above, plus the addition of the Diriyah finale, that creates a 13 ePrix calendar, on 11 different weekends. That would already be the longest calendar in Formula E history.
But the provisional calendar had 15 provisional ePrix, on 13 different weekends, with room to expand the calendar, with an extra event in December 2019. The way the proposal has progressed, it leaves room for an extra ePrix event, for November. Following all the European rounds, and before the Diriyah round, allowing for an extra weekend of Formula E.
By the time November comes, the world could be a completely place, in regards of the Coronavirus pandemic. It could allow Formula E to return to the streets, with what are currently proposed, as active street circuits, come Autumn 2020, due to other motorsport events happening at those particular circuits.
To create a shortlist, the four racetracks, available that weekend, due to hosting other motor racing events on other weekends, recently or soon, and being climatically viable for Formula E are, Baku City Circuit, Hanoi Street Circuit, Yas Marina circuit near Abu Dhabi, and St Perersburg street circuit in Florida. There is an argument for each of these circuits hosting the extra weekend of Formula E, in November 2020.
But rather than arguing for each event, I am simply going to argue that the St Petersburg street circuit, in Florida, U.S.A., is the best option for Formula E in November. Hosting IndyCar on the October 25th weekend, the circuit is similar to quite a few Formula E circuits, and with it all set to welcome IndyCar back, this street circuit, could allow Formula E to return to the streets, after running exclusively on permanent racetracks, through Europe in the Summer and early Autumn.
Out of the four options I shortlisted, it is the only 1 of the four, to occur in a country where a Formula E race has been cancelled or postponed, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, it should keep the American audiences happy, to have at least 1 ePrix in the U.S.A.
It will also, keep the streak of, the U.S.A. always having at least 1 ePrix in each Formula E season. Only Berlin, can claim to have the same record in Formula E.
Plus, the November date, should mean little or no risk of hurricanes in Florida in November, so it could also work well, climatically. But, to make it worthwhile, I think a double header, on the same weekend in Florida, helps make it a worthwhile investment for Formula E, and the city of St Petersburg itself.
For Baku and Hanoi, these Formula 1 tracks have shown no or truly little interest in Formula E, so these circuits may not even want Formula E to race on their streets. But, another detrimental factor on these circuits, would be the changes to the circuits, that would need to occur, to make Formula E cars, work well around those racetracks. The over a kilometre and a half long flat-out sections, on both of these circuits, would not work for Formula E, and the slower paced cars, of the Formula E championship.
For the Yas Marina circuit, near Abu Dhabi, it is the real competitor for the St Petersburg circuit option. Cheaper for the teams to travel to, and with many different circuit layouts that could, display Formula E at its best, the Yas Marina circuit has three negative factors to it.
Firstly, it doesn’t have all the positives that the St Petersburg circuit has, and it is not a street circuit. Secondly, it is a Formula 1 track, that will likely end up with motor racing fans, comparing the speed of the Formula E cars, to the Formula 1 or Formula 2 cars.
Thirdly, aesthetically all the tarmac run-off areas also, don’t help the circuit look like a Formula E circuit. A modern racetrack, is not the same appeal, that I have been trying to create, by Formula E racing at racetracks like Croft, Knockhill, Sachsenring, Dijon or even Vallelunga.
I think it is up to the preference of Formula E, whether they want to go somewhere new and modern, cheaper to travel to, and to Saudi Arabia from. Or, if they want to continue their U.S.A. race streak, and try to at least, include as many countries from the provisional calendar, in the second half of the season, and return to a street circuit as well. I vote for St Petersburg to be honest, but that is my opinion, and many in the Formula E paddock may disagree with me.
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