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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The issue Method E could face by sticking to its present calendar DNA

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Since taking up his new position nearly one 12 months in the past, Method E CEO Jeff Dodds has been vocal on a number of subjects as he seems to information the all-electric championship to greater and higher issues.

The most recent noise has centred across the 2024-25 Method E calendar that was launched earlier this month, having been accepted by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council and which includes a scheduled 17 races throughout 11 areas.

The marketing campaign begins in Sao Paulo in December this 12 months, races throughout two calendar seasons – one thing which hasn’t occurred since earlier than the pre-COVID period – and stretches till July 2025, the place it’s going to as soon as once more end in London on the ExCeL.

Tokyo, a preferred new addition for this 12 months, and Monaco each improve to double-headers given the attraction of each, whereas Jakarta in Indonesia returns after a one-year hiatus brought on by native politics.

Delving deeper, although, Dodds has made no secret of the truth that he sees Method E as a “metropolis racing sequence” and “of these 17 races, lower than 25% of them will probably be on fastened circuits.

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“Which means from a sticking to our DNA perspective, three-quarters of our races will probably be on avenue circuits or constructed circuits,” says Dodds. “It’s an actual combination of {old} favourites. A lot of the suggestions we get from groups, producers, from followers, is this sort of want for hardcore calendar continuity.”

Of the 11 areas listed on the calendar, solely three of them are at everlasting amenities together with Mexico Metropolis’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the Shanghai Worldwide Circuit in China and the newest US addition, the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Method E added Shanghai to the calendar for the present season

Photograph by: Andreas Beil

Whereas 9 of the venues have been raced at beforehand by the championship, two new locations will probably be visited for the primary time, together with Miami’s speedway, together with a TBD listed for 8 March, which Dodds confirmed will probably be new and Autosport understands is Chiang Mai in Thailand.

The American race will probably be held on 12 April and takes place on the vast majority of Homestead’s infield highway course part, in addition to probably a part of the oval, changing into the fifth completely different venue used for a Method E race within the US after earlier visits to a purpose-built Miami circuit, Lengthy Seaside, New York and, most not too long ago, Portland.

“We expect it’s a extremely good circuit, well-suited to our fashion of racing. The Miami identify that comes with it, from a world tv viewers, the Miami identify is an enormous draw, maybe a much bigger draw than cities reminiscent of Portland,” says Dodds, who admits {that a} second location within the US is being sought.

“The fact is for the placement [Misano], which is sort of a manner from the closest airport and the fashion of racing which not everybody beloved, it didn’t really feel to us like that was going to be the everlasting, long-term residence” Jeff Dodds

“We even have in all probability seven or eight completely different massive US cities at present speaking to us about placing a race on of their metropolis. So these conversations are stay and at all times ongoing. I believe our calendar can maintain two races in North America and possibly two races in China.”

However whereas Dodds is already trying to develop Method E’s progress in markets the place gross sales of EV expertise is on the rise, a notable absence from the calendar subsequent time period is there will probably be no race in Italy.

The Misano World Circuit hosted a double-header earlier this 12 months for the primary time, however drew criticism, because the huge, flowing expanses of the Italian venue produced frenetic racing that has turn into disliked by many drivers, whereas the widely distant location meant Method E organisers didn’t search a return.

“The fact is for the placement, which is sort of a manner from the closest airport and the fashion of racing which not everybody beloved, it didn’t really feel to us like that was going to be the everlasting, long-term residence,” admits Dodds. “We expect we must be nearer to a big metropolis and ideally we might be on a constructed or avenue circuit, not a everlasting circuit.”

Misano has been dropped in part due to its remote location

Misano has been dropped partially as a consequence of its distant location

Photograph by: Andreas Beil

Whereas the push for extra avenue circuits nearer to the guts of cities is sensible on paper, on condition that was one of many distinctive promoting factors of the championship when it shaped 10 years in the past, in actuality, it now poses a rising drawback because of the ever-increasing speeds of the vehicles.

The Gen3 Evo which will probably be used subsequent season is because of be sooner than its predecessor, whereas the deliberate introduction of the Gen4 machine, that includes almost double the ability and slick tyres for the primary time, will significantly compound the issue Method E faces if it needs to proceed racing on tight and twisty avenue venues.

Not solely would these areas restrict the true potential of the machines, however larger prices would additionally must be spent to make sure the venues are as much as an appropriate security commonplace. The elevated speeds of the Gen3 machine was one of many the explanation why the long-standing Rome venue was dropped from the calendar this season, the format deemed redundant and even unsafe following a nasty multi-car accident on the final go to.

“Method 1 is introducing avenue circuits into their calendar and the vehicles are a lot greater and extra highly effective than we’re, so it may be performed,” says Dodds. “We’re going to areas we’re actually eager to race at but when it’s not sensible to construct a race circuit in the midst of the town, we’ll have a look at everlasting circuits nevertheless it’s about discovering the correct everlasting circuits.

“Good instance of that, I’d like to have a race on the Bund in Shanghai, however the actuality is 50 minutes away you’ve acquired a world-class race circuit with world-class amenities with a willingness to make the monitor match our wants sooner or later.

“The ambition can be to have a retention of our DNA, racing in cities, however to carry acceptable fastened circuits in the place we expect we are able to present the aptitude of the automobile and we are able to appeal to the fanbase.”

For now, not less than, Method E’s focus has moved again to avenue and metropolis circuits which will probably be welcome information to drivers, lots of whom have grown to dislike the peloton fashion of racing that everlasting circuits typically produce due to the present breed of automobile.

However how lengthy that continues to be a viable choice for the way forward for the championship is up for debate because it continues to push EV expertise that will imply present venues threat changing into a non-viable choice.

City tracks are back in vogue after Formula E flirted with permanent facilities

Metropolis tracks are again in vogue after Method E flirted with everlasting amenities

Photograph by: Andreas Beil

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