Rome is set to retain a Formula E race in the city until 2025 after Formula E announced an extraordinary surprise new deal today.
Formula E and the Italian capital city claim to have a new agreement in place after a deal was signed by members of the Rome City Council today.
The arrangement comes six weeks after the 2020 edition of the race was scrapped because of the coronavirus crisis.
The event will not be re-scheduled this year and Formula E is expected to soon postpone or cancel the two remaining New York City and London E-Prix events, which are presently scheduled for July.
Formula E chairman Alejandro Agag has been bullish about Formula E’s chances of completing its 2019-20 season, recently saying that up to six rounds could be added to the five events that have already taken place.
Formula E extended its ‘red flag’ period of racing suspension last week and is set to review a possible change to this status for a possible resumption of racing in July.
The inaugural race in Rome, which is held in the EUR area of the city, was won by Sam Bird’s DS Virgin car, while the second race held in April 2019 was claimed by Jaguar’s Mitch Evans.
“Rome is once again a key reference for Formula E and remains a key attraction for big events. When we exit the health emergency, we will need to come back much stronger than ever before,” said Virginia Raggi, the Mayor of Rome.
“Our city is ready for this challenge and the Italian capital will be the symbol of the series until 2025. This agreement will bring many investments in urban areas and make our collaboration much stronger.
“This is a contract that will offer Romans many benefits, which will help with starting again. Our city is very proud to be hosting the E-Prix – a sporting event pioneering sustainable ideas and innovative technologies.”
It remains unclear about the exact viability of Rome hosting such a long-term agreement as Raggi has to seek another term in office next year.
In a recent opinion poll, conducted by the Tecnè organisation, eight out of 10 Romans said that they would not vote for Raggi to be re-elected in 2021.
Formula E has fallen foul of such political changes before and was forced to take legal proceedings after a deal with Montreal was overturned after mayor Denis Coderre lost his position to rival Valerie Plante shortly after the 2017 Montreal EPrix.
Alejandro Agag, founder and chairman of Formula E said of the Rome deal: “Italy is a strategic market for us, and we are determined to keep working with the country to grant a further growth of the championship, in terms of popularity and competitiveness. We have involved some of the biggest players in the industry to work together towards a gradual change in how electric mobility is perceived. This process will have major global consequences.
“Not only in staging an international sporting event and bringing a boost to the local economy, but also in aligning with the shared vision of Formula E and adopting clean mobility solutions and electrification in cities around the world.”