LONDON – The upcoming London ePrix on July 2 and 3 will be the last to be held at Battersea Park after Formula E officials came to an agreement to move the event with the local council this week.
Ever since its addition to the Formula E schedule for season one, the race at Battersea Park has been subject to a persistent and spirited protest from a group of locals who sought to protect one of London’s most-visited parks.
Formula E team bosses were given a draft calendar for season three over the Berlin ePrix weekend that omitted London from the schedule ahead of a planned High Court review this week that put July’s event in doubt.
However, this was called off after Wandsworth Council issued a statement on Tuesday confirming it had come to an agreement with Formula E that ensures the season two finale will be the last to be held at Battersea Park.
“Formula E has notified us that they will be holding their final races in Battersea Park this summer and that from 2017 onwards they will be seeking alternative locations,” Wandsworth Council’s community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said in a statement.
“Our understanding is that this now includes the possibility of a street circuit in central London, which has always been their preferred option but was not previously possible.”
Reports emerged following the news that the race would move from Battersea suggesting that a possible circuit being explored would centre on Buckingham Palace and incorporate some of London’s other most iconic landmarks.
Recent races in Paris and Berlin have been hugely successful in the very heart of the city, but nothing has been confirmed for London for the future.
“We’ve had preliminary conversations with the Greater London Authority, but there’s been no permission or route authorized yet,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag told the London Evening Standard.
“I love Battersea Park, but you’re effectively in a park and all you see is trees — this would be a view of London’s landmarks.”
A spokesperson for the recently-elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The Mayor intends to work with FIA Formula E to explore other sites in the capital.”
London is not the only race that is at risk of not returning in season three, with Beijing, Putrajaya and Punta del Este also omitted from the schedule.
As reported by motorsport.com last weekend, six new races are set to join the fray including double-header events in Montreal and New York in the summer of 2017.
Other possible new rounds include Singapore, Brussels and Marrakesh, while the season-opener in Hong Kong has already been announced.