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SBD Global/April 15, 2014/Events and Attractions

Formula E Talking To Two North American Cities To Find Replacement For Rio Race

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Formula E to kick off its inaugural season in Beijing on Sept. 13.
Electric racing series Formula E is in talks with two North American cities to replace Rio de Janeiro on the calendar of its inaugural season. However, Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag could not reveal the specific cities. Agag said, “We are in touch with two cities for a replacement, actually both in North America. We will probably have news in the next weeks about the replacement of the Rio race.” Rio de Janeiro was originally scheduled to host the third race of the season in November, but was dropped from a revised calendar that was presented by motorsports governing body FIA at the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Morocco. The city selected as Rio’s replacement will host its Formula E race in February. Agag told SBD Global that the race was postponed in order to give local authorities more time to put the track together. In addition, Rio is currently preparing for two other major sporting events, this summer’s FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Agag: “The track is in a very central location in Rio. And with basically all at the same time, it would have created too much disruption. So we decided to postpone it for a year or two.” Another city which experienced a similar fate to Rio is Hong Kong. While the city was never on the calendar and therefore never dropped, plans for a race have been pushed back as the proposed circuit failed to meet the approval of the FIA. “The idea with Hong Kong was to give them a little bit more time to better study the streets and the location and that process is ongoing,” Agag said. “I think for year one it’s too early and that’s why we didn’t put it in the calendar for year one, but definitely we would really like to race in Hong Kong in year two or three.” With the opening race in Beijing on Sept. 13 approaching fast, construction work in the Chinese capital and in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya, host of the second round, has already begun.

CITY LIGHTS: The success of F1 night races, most recently in Bahrain, could influence future decisions on Formula E host cities. While Agag said that there are no immediate plans for a night race, he thinks that it would be beneficial to have one. However, the biggest obstacle for a night race comes from the series itself, as one of Formula E’s criteria is minimizing CO2 emissions at all its activities. “If we do a night race it will have to be a place where the energy can be obtained from renewable sources,” said Agag. “So that would be basically our first criteria before approaching the possibility of a night race, but yes, why not.” And with ongoing talks about races in Rome and Paris, the idea of racing around the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum under the lights could provide a picturesque setting.
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