As governments around the world continue to take stringent measures to curb the spread of the Corona pandemic, Formula E and the FIA have decided to extend the suspension of the season until at least the end of June.
As a result, the Berlin E-Prix can also no longer take place on 21 June as originally planned. According to Formula E founder Alejandro Agag, the race in Berlin, which has been the only race in every Formula E season so far, was kept on the calendar as a “sign of hope”. Already after the decision of the German government on Wednesday to cancel all major events until the end of August, the June date was not good. The idea of holding race on the Tempelhofer Feld as a ghost race without spectators is now obsolete with the further suspension of the season.
Formula E had decided in mid-March to suspend the current 2019/2020 season for at least two months. For this purpose, the organiser and the world federation FIA have designed a kind of traffic light system (or, in analogy to racing, also the flag signals that are common there): The individual colours should help to determine different phases and time windows in which the races could be re-sorted or remain unchanged. Red stands for no races, yellow means that there are possibilities, and green means that things are going as planned.
So far, March and April were marked with a red flag, May with yellow. “We can now confirm that red flags are valid for the months of May and June, which means that the Berlin E-Prix can no longer take place on 21 June as originally planned,” Formula E wrote in a press release. Now July is marked with a yellow flag. Those who have already bought tickets for the Berlin E-Prix should be contacted “in due course” with further information.
“We are examining all available options in order to end the season with the greatest possible number of races,” the communication says. “As part of this contingency plan, we will continue to examine the organisation of races in camera, the use of permanent race tracks, the introduction of new doubles races and the extension of the season beyond the original end date”.
In an interview before Easter, Agag had already hinted at such considerations and spoke after Berlin of “six, seven races on permanent tracks without spectators”. “Because an infrastructure can be set up there in a short time,” said Agag. “We are working on solutions that are as close as possible to big cities.” Agag did not reveal which race tracks he had in mind.
But the Corona pandemic does not only have an impact on the current season: Formula E and the FIA had already announced earlier that they would reduce the financial burden on the teams by reducing development costs in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic.
In order to reduce costs, the introduction of EVO Gen2 cars will be postponed by one year to the 2021/22 season – in fact, the unit chassis already presented should be used from the season starting this winter. On the other hand, the manufacturers involved in Formula E will only be allowed to make changes to the powertrain components once instead of twice in the coming two seasons – a more sport-relevant decision.
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