A Proposal for Formula E, Following the Coronavirus Pandemic: Part 7

Restarting the Championship in the United Kingdom

Round 6 should inevitably happen in the United Kingdom. I believe, all of the Formula E teams are still based in the United Kingdom, potentially still close by the Donington Park circuit, so it makes sense, that Formula E would have their first race, back after the pandemic, at the home country of the race teams, and the series in general.

The London ePrix is not going to happen in 2020, as the venue of the ExCel building is being used as a hospital, following the Coronavirus pandemic. So, an alternative venue is needed for the London ePrix, whether the world is still struggling with national quarantines or not.

I would not care, if that ExCel circuit design, never hosted a Formula E race, and that is coming from a patriotic Englishman.

Anyway, back to the important idea. Many would argue that the home of Formula E is Donington Park. Therefore, it makes sense for Donington Park to become the reinvigorator, for Formula E to go into the future. I think, just the idea, is significant, and Donington Park deserves some recognition, for bringing Formula E into existence 6 years ago, and could do the same now.

However, I have 1 issue with this idea. The teams, cars, and drivers, have obviously tested a lot at the circuit, and I do not want a dull return for Formula E. But, the trend in motorsport is, the racetracks series test and practice at, produce boring or dull races, for that particular series, because the teams know too much. Unpredictable races, are just less likely to happen. This has been the case for the Circuit de Catalunya, for Formula 1, Circuit of the Americas, for IndyCar, or Losail International Circuit, for MotoGP.

For Formula E, each team will know where to harvest energy at Donington Park, which kerbs they can use, how the tyres degrade on this track, the perfect setup, how to improve the balance, etc.

So, you are unlikely to get the unpredictable racing, that many want and enjoy from Formula E, at a track that the teams know so well. Also, the circuit is currently scheduled to host the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship), on the first weekend of August (Sunday 2nd of August), so that takes away one possible weekend for the series.

If, the series could restart on the July 19th weekend, then I would say that Donington Park should at least, for ceremonial and historical reasons, have the first post-pandemic Formula E race at Donington Park. The weekend before Formula 1 head to the United Kingdom for two consecutive weekends. Clashing with the Formula 1 coverage, will likely not be the best idea, for Formula E to restart, and regain a motor racing audience.

Formula E beating Formula 1 to the punch, with a British race, will be a big positive for Formula E. So, Donington Park on the July 19th Weekend, is an extra race or races, for Formula E in 2020. But, for the actual British round for the Formula E calendar, I want to go to a racetrack, the Formula E teams don’t know so well, and works well for Formula E’s cars and the speed of the cars.

That is why I am choosing Croft circuit. The Yorkshire circuit is 133 miles North of Donington Park, and is much more of a Formula E circuit, in terms of the layout of the track. It has very few straights, with quite a few corners, and the final hairpin, definitely looking like a corner you would find on a typical Formula E street circuit.

I think this is best option of the circuits close to Donington Park, for a circuit that does not expose the cars, and the lack of pace compared to other single-seater categories. But, is also wide enough to allow the cars to race side-by-side around the circuit. I think Croft is the best option

So, I would have Croft circuit take the 9th August Weekend. But then comes an unhelpful complication, in the quarantine rules currently in place in the United Kingdom. The current rule, complicates travel to and from the United Kingdom, permitting people entering the country, to be quarantined for 14 days, once arriving in the country.

Adding a logistical nightmare to the teams. But I believe this legal headache, will disappear with the start of the English school year in September, and therefore the teams can transport haulage with more freedom, come the Autumnal months.

So, in the meantime, it would allow Formula E to take the opportunity to race in a different part of the United Kingdom. And there is the unique opportunity to race, both clockwise and anti-clockwise, on the same racetrack, on the same weekend.

That would be Scotland’s premiere racetrack, of Knockhill, roughly 200 miles north of Croft circuit. The chance to race around the same racetrack, but in the opposite direction, on the following day, since the circuit is FIA homologated to be safe for racing to happen, in both directions. Makes Knockhill a unique, and special proposition in the motor racing world.

Not many street circuits will ever have that potential option, due to the close proximity of the walls, allowing Formula E to have a unique weekend in Scotland.

Having four rounds in a single country, is not exactly the normal of Formula E. But, Formula 1 are having multiple races at the same racetrack, scoring World Championship points, for the first time in its 70-year history. I doubt any motor racing, including Formula E will have a crowd or a capacity crowd this year, due to the restrictions from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Working within the limitations of the world, four different races, on technically four different layouts, would increase the Formula E calendar to 9 races in the year already, without the borders becoming more open or circuits in Europe opening for business.

However, by the time September comes around, I suspect the borders will be lowering, at least to sporting competitions. So, Formula E can move on to the rest of the world, knowing they have nine rounds complete, and can negotiate with other circuits, for the good of Formula E. The first priority should be to replace the city/street circuits, that were going to be host destinations, in Europe before the Coronavirus pandemic postponed and cancelled much of the schedule. Due to climate, let’s start with the replacement for the Berlin ePrix, in Germany.

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