A Proposal for Formula E, Following the Coronavirus Pandemic: Part 4

The Turbulent 2019/2020 Season

To say Formula E has had a rough 6th season, would be an understatement. Rounds being cancelled, and that was before the global crisis, Formula E is definitely having a bad twelve months.

To be honest, I don’t think the first change was a bad element, but was significant, as Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, changed to a more overview role of chairman, with a new CEO of Formula E, Jamie Reigle, being the second Formula E CEO in history. I do not know Alejandro Agag. I do not know Jamie Reigle. But, a CEO change, especially from a long-term visionary of the company, is quite significant, never mind the situations that followed.

The first real situation, that reared its ugly head was the two-part opening rounds in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on weekdays. The unusual season beginning, meant that many didn’t realise Formula E was back, until after the first, or even the second race had happened. Not to mention, how unpopular Saudi Arabia is, with one of the key demographics of Formula E fans, being more liberal individuals.

However, this is just a minor issue, and the true negative effect of having the Saudi Arabian opening rounds, was really felt in the previous season. But it was not the best start for the Championship, other than financially, I guess.

But technically that was not the first real problem, as the Swiss round of the Championship, dropped off the 2019/2020 calendar. Formula E had worked hard to have a round in Switzerland, to the point of Switzerland changing its laws on Motorsport.

After two races, in two different cities (Bern was the better street circuit in my opinion), for the Swiss round just to disappear, without a reason or explanation, is a bigger issue than I think, many observers have estimated. Especially when the series is supported, by quite a few Swiss partners.

The next issue, was the Hong Kong ePrix. Not an issue that Formula E had any control over, but when Hong Kong had mass protests, and violent civil unrest, it removed the third round (2nd location) from the calendar. Hong Kong was a very valued race on the Formula E calendar, similar to the New York event, or Paris. Losing a major event, was definitely the plan, for Formula E in season 6, after already losing the Swiss ace from the schedule.

After failing to fill the fourth slot on the Formula E calendar (4th race, 3rd circuit), it meant there was a 2-month gap, between the 2nd round in Saudi Arabia, and the 2nd circuit of the Championship, of the Santiago ePrix. Not exactly the best way to start any championship, of having two months and the end of year celebrations, in between the first two circuits on the calendar.

Thankfully the following three rounds, proceeded with very few issues, and improvements to two, of the three circuits, in terms of track layout, compared to previous years (in my opinion), meant the season was just starting to get good.

But problems were looming with the planned Indonesian ePrix. The planned circuit in Jakarta, went around the national monument, but the planned circuit, was seen as problematic, and eventually an abandoned circuit idea. So, the first Indonesian ePrix, now didn’t have a circuit, or any plans for a new racetrack.

Having already lost, the Hong Kong ePrix, losing another round was definitely not in the plans for Formula E. 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. Just to keep the calendar longer, than in previous seasons.

Personally, I had issues with a different event scheduled on the calendar, being the new London ePrix, and its new circuit. I do not mind compact circuits. I don’t hate Monaco. And yet, this circuit seems more compact and harder for racing, than the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. It looks horrible, and that is only my opinion, and I have been wrong in the past. But I do not like this circuit design. I don’t think I have hated a circuit design so much, ever before.

But, the potential of losing more rounds, such as Indonesia, from the calendar, was made even worse, with the first Coronavirus lockdown in China. Suddenly, the Chinese ePrix in Sanya, scheduled for March, was called off. Meaning two of the first 7 races, had been cancelled, which in a normal season, would be seen as highly problematic. Not to mention, the issues with the Indonesian ePrix, could see three races cancelled, in a single season. It would be seen as some in the motor racing world, as disastrous.

But then, the Coronavirus situation turned into a global pandemic. First the following ePrix in Rome was cancelled, turning the calendar into 5 vs 3, for actual races vs cancelled races.

This was before the calendar dissolved like most sporting events, to the Coronavirus Pandemic. All subsequent rounds are to be decided, whether they will happen, or be cancelled. The most likely option is cancellation, since the global situation has very slowly improved, from March to May.

However, Formula 1 is set to re-begin their season, on July 5th, with many other sporting series and events, being scheduled for the second half of the year. So, it is likely that Formula E would follow this direction as well. This is where my proposal for the series comes in to play.

To go to the next part of this book, click here.

Click here, to go back to the main book page and the contents.