Formula E to make London return with 'one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor' track

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 3/5/2019, 9:57 a.m.
Formula E plans to stage a race in 2020 that will feature an indoor section as the sport returns to ...
Formula E cars are pictured by the river Thames

By Nick Friend, for CNN

(CNN) -- Formula E plans to stage a race in 2020 that will feature an indoor section as the sport returns to London.

Three years after the British capital last hosted an ePrix -- won by Nico Prost, son of former world champion Alain -- the series has announced its return to Britain with a multi-year agreement for a London street race.

The new 23-turn track spanning 2.4 kilometers, which will host the final two events of the 2019-20 season on 25 and 26 July, will feature an indoor section running through the city's ExCeL Center, while also passing the Royal Victoria Dock and running alongside the river Thames. New York City currently hosts the series' season finale double-header.

Formula E described the race as a "one-of-a-kind track indoor/outdoor circuit," though in its statement the sport's organizers said the race was "subject to circuit homologation and approval of the FIA World Motor Sport Council."

London previously held four editions of the electric car race between 2015 and 2016, with Sam Bird claiming glory on home soil in the second of the 2015 races.

However, the Battersea Park Street Circuit used as the final event during Formula E's first two years was scrapped after facing opposition, which accused the environmentally-focused series of harming the local green space area.

Bird, who now has eight Formula E race wins to his name and 17 podiums, said that he was "delighted" by the news. He explained: "As a British driver and a previous London E-Prix winner, I'm absolutely delighted to learn that Formula E is once again racing in the capital in season six.

"To win your home race, in front of your home fans, is one of the most memorable feelings for any racing driver, so to have that opportunity again is a very exciting prospect.

"It's also great news for the championship as it's such an important market both in terms of stature, but also with so many teams, workers and fans based in the UK. I just can't wait to race now!"

The competition's founder and chief executive Alejandro Agag added: "I'm extremely excited to be bringing the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and electric racing back to the UK.

"Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London -- this has been our desire for quite some time now and we're delighted to have found a new home at the ExCeL.

"We have a growing base of knowledgeable and passionate fans in the UK, and this race adds to a fantastic summer of sport as a world-class event we hope Londoners can be proud of.

"Formula E coming back to the UK extends beyond pure racing excitement, it's also a strong message for London to tackle inner-city air pollution by promoting clean technologies and electric sustainable mobility."

The race's return to Britain comes amid doubts as to the future of Formula One's British Grand Prix at the historic Silverstone circuit.

The race, which has been held at the iconic motorsport venue since 1987, is facing uncertainty, with Silverstone's contract to host the spectacle currently set to expire following this year's edition.