The latest meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Vienna has offered no resolution to the clash between Formula E and the FIA World Endurance Championship on the July 16 weekend in 2017.
A number of drivers ply their trade in both Formula E and WEC, including the all-electric series’ defending champion, Sebastien Buemi.
The championships had enjoyed a gentleman’s agreement to avoid clashes so that drivers could complete double duties, but it was confirmed over the summer that both had scheduled rounds for the July 15-16 weekend in 2017.
Despite attempts to fix the situation, WEC CEO Gerard Neveu has said that the planned round at the Nürburgring will go ahead on July 16 as it was the only weekend free for the track. Formula E is set to hit New York City on that same weekend with races on both Saturday and Sunday.
With Formula E also racing in Montreal on July 29-30, the most logical date for the WEC event to slip into was July 23, although the presence of the German Grand Prix caused complications.
There was also the issue of the fact another Automobile Club de l’Ouest-sanctioned championship – the European Le Mans Series – has a race at the Red Bull Ring scheduled for July 23. There is some crossover in personnel between the FIA WEC and ELMS, and that’s why there’s no ELMS races on FIA WEC weekends.
Following the meeting of the WMSC in Vienna earlier this week, the FIA issued a statement on Wednesday featuring 2017 calendars for a number of series including WEC and Formula E, both of which were unchanged.
As a result, for the time being at least, the July 16 clash – and the subsequent headache for any drivers competing in both series – remains.
However, now that the German Grand Prix has officially been dropped from the Formula 1 calendar for 2017, it would appear that the biggest stumbling block for the WEC is that the Nürburgring is already planning to host a Drift Cup event on July 23.
Should this be moved and the series agree to change from its July 16 date, then the clash could surely be avoided and both grids will feature their regular drivers.
July 16 is currently scheduled to be a mammoth day for motorsport, with F1 set to race at Silverstone and IndyCar racing in Toronto besides the Formula E and WEC events.