Formula E recharges for China return

By ALYWIN CHEW in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-24 10:40
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Racers vie for position during the 2019 Sanya E-Prix on Hainan Island on March 23, 2019 — the last time the Formula E Championship was staged in China. The series returns to China next year when it makes its debut in Shanghai over the weekend of May 24-25. CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Shanghai race predicted to sell out as organizers tout family-friendly format and surging interest in electric vehicles

Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds said on Wednesday he expects next year's ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race in Shanghai to be a sellout.

The last time a Formula E race was held in China was in 2019, in Sanya, Hainan province, with the championship set to debut in Shanghai next May.

Dodds, who was speaking at a media briefing at the Peace Hotel in Shanghai, said the reasons behind his optimism include a growing interest in the all-electric championship and electric vehicles, a convenient public transport system that provides easy access to the Shanghai International Circuit, and affordable ticket prices.

He revealed that tickets for the Shanghai race — which is scheduled to take place on May 25 and 26 — will be "significantly cheaper" than Formula 1 tickets, and be available for sale by the end of the year.

Also in attendance at the media briefing was Alex Hui, the team principal of Chinese Formula E outfit ERT. Hui said that the unique qualities of an all-electric race would go a long way to drawing crowds, especially families.

"Unlike Formula 1, our race is much quieter and there aren't exhaust fumes. This makes the race very family friendly," he said.

"Moreover, unlike the Formula 1 race which can go on for hours, a Formula E race is much shorter, and this makes for easier viewing, especially for those who aren't already fans of motor sports."

Dodds believes China's status as one of the biggest EV manufacturers in the world gives the Shanghai race special significance.

"The Chinese market is arguably more important than any other market in the world," said the Briton.

"One of our most important goals is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Seeing how China is leading the charge in electric vehicle manufacturing, I must say that racing in China is incredibly important to all of our manufacturer partners, and also to our fans."

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the championship. The inaugural race was held in Beijing in September 2014.

"If you saw that race, the cars weren't very fast and had a maximum speed of 225 km/h," Dodds said. "For our 10th anniversary, it's incredibly important that we come back and race again in China and showcase just how far the electric race car has evolved in 10 years. Today, the cars can go 100 km/h faster than they did in Beijing."

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