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SBD Global/April 1, 2014/Events and Attractions

Formula E Keeps Eye On F1 As It Considers Hosting Street Race In New York

Electric auto racing series Formula E "is working with authorities in New York on hosting a street race in the city," according to Christian Sylt for FORBES. Formula E launches in September and features cars with 300 horsepower electric motors which will race on 10 tracks in the center of cities including L.A., Miami and Monte Carlo. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said, “We are working with New York but we are kind of waiting to see what happens with Formula One.” F1 "has been in discussions" about hosting a street race in the N.Y. area for decades. Part of the difficulty in getting the race off the grid is the fact that the average annual hosting fee for an F1 race is around $27M. Whereas F1 races are organized by independent promoters who pay an annual fee, Formula E "is arranging many of the races itself and did not charge the cities for doing so." Agag "does not ask for a hosting fee but in return requires cities to provide prime positions for the race as well as assistance with the preparations and introductions to local sponsors." Agag adds that although the Formula E calendar is full for its inaugural season, "it will increase in future." An event in France "could be one of the next additions." Agag: “Paris is ready. A street race in the center of Paris. We have been looking at every place in Paris but there are really cool places where you have all the monuments in the background” (FORBES, 3/28). In London, Georgina Stevens wrote for electric cars, '13 "was not a good year." The "stubbornly outstanding factor is that most people still don't see EVs as aspirational," despite the "great work" of Elon Musk at Tesla, and many others, such as the electric super cars from British manufacturer Lightning. So this "may be where a forthcoming electric racing series -- Formula E can help." Unrestricted by noise and air pollution, as other motorized events would be, the races that take place in 10 major cities "will take place in city centre locations, ensuring high visibility." Also "likely to attract attention are famous team owners" like Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson. Formula E is "confident of their influence, predicting additional sales of 77m EVs by 2040" (GUARDIAN, 3/28).
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