The future of the New York City E-Prix is being carefully considered between Formula E and local officials in the Big Apple, after recent changes to the local terminal to the Red Hook areas of the city recently came to light.
An expansion of the cruise industry at the venue, which has hosted four events since 2017, could jeopardise the future of the race – which was left as a to-be-decided fixture in the recent provisional calendar that was submitted to the FIA late last month.
The MSC Seascape cruiser run by the MSC Cruises company will expand operations at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal beginning in April of 2023, with some of the infrastructure used by Formula E set to be repurposed for the venture.
Formula E chief championship officer and co-founder Alberto Longo has told The Race that while New York remains “an absolute priority market” for the world championship, compromises and alternative operations will have to be made if the New York City E-Prix is to continue in 2023.
“We are now studying together with them [local agencies] and we again, keep a fantastic relationship, not only with them, but also with the mayor of New York [Eric Adams] who used to be the mayor of Brooklyn,” added Longo.
He also said that Formula E is in conversation with local authorities in the Red Hook and Brooklyn areas about what the impact on the venue might be for Formula E, “because receiving now 5000 people on a cruise the day after a race, it has big implications”.
“One of them is the parking that these persons need, and the parking is set to be where we have the e-village. So basically, the reduction of the space available is by 80% so there are not a lot of people who could activate.”
Development of a new cruise terminal in order to host that frequency of cruises will happen this year and is set to have an impact on the number of grandstands that Formula E could erect.
The track layout itself will not be among the challenges to be addressed by Formula E. The 1.475-mile circuit is set to remain untouched by the new work, although the area used for the world championship’s VIP hospitality, known as the Emotion Club, will not be available from 2023 onwards.
“As the international promoter of the championship, we need not only the racetrack, but also how the venue and the event looks,” said Longo.
“So, as we have received this very late notice literally three weeks ago, we need our time to explore the actual implications of the new relationship between the cruise terminal and Formula E.
“That’s why, responsibly, we decided to put it into a TBD. But not only is it still an option, it is still a top priority of Formula E to race in New York.
“Obviously, we are also looking for other options in the US in case that venue is not suitable for Formula E anymore because of the constraint that we will have, then we will be moving to another place.”
Formula E has not disclosed any other cities it is talking to about replacing New York should it be forced to.
Los Angeles, Houston and Miami have all shown interest in Formula E in the past, with Miami the only one for those three to have hosted an event in March of 2015. That was when the MacArthur Causeway area of the Floridian city accommodated a race which was won by Nicolas Prost but troubled by logistical and build issues.
Los Angeles was set to run a race in 2015 but this was cancelled prior to the start of the championship in 2014 with no details issued regarding the specifics of the initially-planned event.
Formula E ran on a truncated version of the Long Beach Indycar course in 2015 and 2016, with Nelson Piquet and Lucas di Grassi claiming respective wins.