until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Paris dropped, Seoul postponed in latest Formula E calendar

by Sam Smith
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The ABB FIA Formula E world championship will race at Valencia and Marrakesh in place of Paris and Seoul this season, with its 2020-21 calendar having again been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first-ever Formula E race to be held in Spain will replace the Paris E-Prix, which will not run in 2021, while the Marrakesh race supplants the initially-planned inaugural Seoul E-Prix, which has been postponed to a later date.

After the season begins with a behind closed doors event in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, next month with two night races, the new world championship will target a race on the streets of Rome in the second weekend of April.

Formula E Rome

Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle is still hopeful of racing on the EUR street track in the Italian capital but has also told The Race that an alternative event at Vallelunga is a firm back-up option.

“Plan A is still very much to go to the EUR venue, but we have always had Vallelunga as the negotiated backup,” said Reigle.

“As of today, all the signals are positive around EUR and for us to be able to do it at that venue, which from an FEO perspective is our goal and objective and we have permits to be able to do an event there.”

Vallelunga hosted a major single-seater race, the Rome Grand Prix, from 1963 to 1991, the event spanning a variety of categories including non-championship F1, F2, F3 and F3000.

The Paris E-Prix was due to follow Rome at the end of April, but it has now been replaced with an event at Valencia, as anticipated by The Race earlier this month.

A specially-adapted track is set to be used at the venue, part of which is set to bypass the entirety of the long pit straight. The first-ever E-Prix to take place in Spain will happen on April 24.

Robin Frijns and Nick Cassidy, Envision Virgin, Formula E testing

The Monaco E-Prix has been re-affirmed for its original date of May 8, while a return to the Circuit Moulay El Hassan in Marrakesh has been arranged for May 22. It will be the fifth time the track has hosted a Formula E race.

The Race understands that the postponed Seoul E-Prix, which was to be held in and around the stadium that hosted the 1988 Olympic Games, could potentially become a season-ending event in August or September, should the London E-Prix at ExCeL Arena be unable to take place.

Currently the UK venue is given over as an emergency venue for the National Health Service’s additional COVID-19 pandemic measures. A decision on whether a second attempt to run the London E-Prix at ExCeL Arena will be abandoned or not is likely to come by the end of March.

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“We like the idea of venues that allow us to express Formula E in a way that other championships can’t do. So that’s why we’re excited about Excel,” Reigle told The Race.

“But we have got to rightly take a backseat to some facilities being emergency medical facilities or vaccination centres right now.

“At the moment the ExCeL is a hospital and vaccination site but the race is a long time from now and we are being optimistic that things will get better. If not, Alberto [Longo] and his team has looked at alternatives that we can race at in the UK.”

The recently postponed Santiago E-Prix double-header will be attempted again on June 5-6 as part of the Americas leg, which could also incorporate the Mexico City E-Prix on June 19, although this is yet to be confirmed officially.

Formula E Mexico City E Prix 2020

The Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez presently has a medical facility on-site with pit boxes, paddock and offices being in use until at least the end of April.

Formula E has committed to announcing a new date at Santiago despite a recent UK government decree that all persons travelling from South America currently having to hotel isolate for 10 days upon return.

Should the Santiago race go ahead it could significantly compromise several drivers who plan to also race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following weekend.

The test day for Le Mans is scheduled for Sunday June 6, meaning that some drivers will be forced to miss one of the events. Presently, Sebastien Buemi, Antonio Felix da Costa, Norman Nato, Tom Blomqvist and Stoffel Vandoorne are scheduled to race at Le Mans.

The current calendar remains subject to ratification by the World Motor Sport Council. Races in July through to the end of the season, which is likely to again be extended beyond the original end date of July 27, will be announced at a later date.

The Tempelhof airfield in Berlin, which hosted the final six races of the 2019-20 campaign and was originally set for a June 19 slot, could still run on this date or could be moved to an August date depending on the make-up of the next calendar phase.

The Race understands that a self-imposed season ending deadline of September 5 has been mooted to teams. This is to do with lead-time on batteries being refreshed at Atieva, the world championships battery supplier, in order for the race units to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 season.

The Sanya E-Prix, which was originally down for a March date before being postponed last year, is highly unlikely to take place this season due to difficulties entering China.

The Race understands that the Diriyah E-Prix is provisionally set to kick off the 2021-22 campaign in late November.

Updated 2020-21 ABB FIA Formula E calendar so far

Diriyah E-Prix: February 26*
Diriyah E-Prix: February 27*
Rome E-Prix: April 10**
Valencia E-Prix: April 24**
Monaco E-Prix: May 8**
Marrakesh E-Prix: May 22
Santiago E-Prix: June 5
Santiago E-Prix: June 6

*Behind closed doors
**Subject to circuit homologation

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