Formula E to return to London in 2020 with partially indoor race at the ExCel Centre lined up for all-electric series
- Battersea Park hosted the closing round of the racing series’ first two seasons
- It was removed from the calendar following complaints from local residents
- A return to Britain for the first time since 2016 has been priority for Formula E
- London will host the final race of the 2020 season with an event at the ExCel
London will host the season finale of the all-electric Formula E series in July next year, with a double-header of races that will start and end indoors at the ExCel centre in the city’s Docklands.
The return to the English capital after a three-year absence was announced by chairman Alejandro Agag at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.
The ePrix on July 25-26 2020 will have an indoor stadium section as part of a 2.4km circuit taking in the waterfront of the Royal Docks and streets around the centre in East London, which hosted events at the 2012 London Olympics.
London will host the season finale of the all-electric Formula E series in July next year
‘Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London. This has been our desire for quite some time now,’ said Agag.
‘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.’
Formula E is based in Britain but London has been off the calendar since 2016 after a race in Battersea Park led to complaints by local residents about disruption on their doorstep.
Securing a return to Britain had been a top priority for Agag, but deals with several potential sites in London and Birmingham failed to materialise.
Agag, a Spaniard, had likened Formula E’s absence from London to Real Madrid not playing in Madrid.
All-electric Formula E will return to London next summer when the ExCel London stages a race
He said: ‘We are a London company so this is our home. This is where Formula E was created. We had Battersea for two years, it was nice but it was not the best location.
‘We could have probably pushed more to stay at Battersea. The council wanted us to stay, but there was a small group of residents that was complaining.
‘If it was the best location we would have fought for that and won, but we started looking for a new location. Sadly it’s taken too long to find one but I think we have one.
‘We ask our manufacturers and teams, “where to do you want us to organise a race?” and they all say London, so for us it’s the big priority.’
A return to Britain for the first time since 2016 has been a priority for CEO Alejandro Agag, pictured with singer Rita Ora at the ABB FIA Formula E Championship Dinner earlier this year
Around 50,000 spectators attended the races in Battersea and Agag expects to build on that at the ExCel where the circuit will feature indoor and outdoor sections.
‘It will be the closing race of the season,’ he said. ‘Just like Battersea where we had two fantastic finishes, but it’s very different now. Our fan-base is a lot bigger and there is a great fan-base in the UK so the number of spectators can be huge.’
The series is in its fifth season with a race in Hong Kong this weekend. Mercedes and Porsche are set to enter the sixth season in 2019-20, joining manufacturers like Nissan, Citroen, BMW, Jaguar, Audi and Mahindra.