Formula E organizers are looking to close the gap between each race to a maximum of three weeks to create more engagement for fans and sponsors.
The electric series’ schedule currently stretches from late October until early July and includes several breaks of more than four weeks between races. It is a circumstance that Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag despises. "I don’t like it, I hate it," he told SBD Global at the inaugural Mexico City ePrix over the weekend.
"We will try to make it more compact and try to go to a calendar from the end of November or December until July, [with] the races a maximum of two or three weeks apart."
Creating the calendar for a racing series that almost exclusively runs in the heart of the world’s biggest cities comes with a unique set of challenges. Organizers have to take a number of factors into account, which, for example, include the weather, national holidays and construction projects.
"There are so many factors that make it impossible to race in Beijing in January or in Berlin in November," Agag said.
Formula E’s claim of sustainable racing, however, could take a hit by tightening its calendar going forward. The series has worked with its official logistics partner DHL during the first two seasons to keep transport emissions to a minimum. Instead of solely relying on aircraft to transport cars and other equipment to the different race destinations across the world, DHL has been using a combination of air, water, rail and road. Compressing the schedule would therefore increase the series’ emissions balance sheet as it would have to rely more heavily on flying.
Agag did not state whether those changes will come into effect for next season. He also did not confirm if the series will increase its number of races.
Formula E already announced that Hong Kong will host its first ePrix next season, and Agag said as a result Punta del Este will likely be dropped. The Uruguayan city is simply not of the same caliber as the other cities on the calendar, Agag stated. "Apart from that, everything should stay in," he said. A preliminary schedule for season 3 is expected to be released within the next 30 days.
GIVE ME MORE: The U.K.-based DS Virgin Racing Team is calling for a sensible expansion of the calendar.
Team Principal Alex Tai said that an increased number of races provides the team and its sponsors with increased value. "It’s very important for us to go to those urban areas," he said.
"That’s where the Virgin customers are. That’s where we can bring our message across. The fact that we are passionate about technology that looks after people and the planet."
The team is behind Agag’s plans to condense the schedule going forward, but it would like to see additional races in the world’s top cities.
Tai said that Formula E has the opportunity to go to new destinations that normally do not have racing. He mentioned places like N.Y., Sydney or San Francisco as future race locations.
"Those are the megacities in the world that I think we should be going to," he said.
"For me, its about creating a racetrack on the streets that people normally go to work on."
Additional races would also have a positive affect on Virgin Racing’s bottom line, Tai said.
"You are providing a lot more value, so you can charge more value and that’s generally the way that most contracts are discussed." HJ Mai/SportsBusiness Journal