The FIA has stated that is it close to announcing the finalised 2015/16 Formula E calendar, which is expects to include at least two additional races for the sport’s second season.
Speaking in a press conference following the Monaco ePrix, Formula E Holdings CEO, Alejandro Agag, addressed rumours that both Paris and Mexico City are likely to join the ten cities visited during the inaugural season.
“We want to define the calendar in the next couple of weeks and we will present this calendar to the FIA World Council in July,” Agag said. “It’s very likely we will add two races and it’s well known that we are waiting for Paris to include in the process. Paris is not for the moment done but conversations are ongoing and we are optimistic we hope that we can get a real race.” About the current venues on the calendar he said: “We may tweak that a little bit, but in principle that is the plan.”
A race in Paris would be timely given the Mayor’s recent call for all diesel cars to be banned from the French capital by 2020 in order to reduce the harmful smog emissions that caused the city to impose emergency measures earlier this year.
Similarly, a race in Mexico City would make sense for showcasing the benefits of electric vehicles, with over 3.5 million cars on the city’s streets travelling at an average speed of just 17km/h. While the city has come a long way from the UN’s declaration in 1992 as the most polluted city on the planet, over 10,000 deaths each year are still attributed to poor air quality.
It is believed that the series is also considering races in the Middle East and Africa – two regions that have yet to be touched by Formula E. The sale of hybrid vehicles is increasing in the latter, while South Africa and Ethiopia have invested in infrastructure to support their wider adoption, although range remains a particular issue in these markets.
FIA President, Jean Todt, commented: “Electric vehicles absolutely make sense in the cities, as we can not drive from Monte Carlo to Paris on a single charge. It would simply take too long. But Formula E demonstrates what motorsport can achieve around the world. It’s a vision for the future and mainly in the cities at the moment. We need to change the car to be able to make a one-hour race, and be able to make the race with one car, and the progress will come from competition.”
It is expected that Formula E cars will be faster in the 2015/16 season, with a more aggressive approach adopted to powertrain development, while the restrictions around battery and range development will be opened up in season three.