BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Despite fears that the clash between Formula E’s New York City race and the FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Nürburgring would cause a headache for a number of drivers, just three are left with a dilemma.
Formula E and WEC previously shared a gentleman’s agreement to avoid hosting races on the same weekend as a number of drivers have plied their trade in both series.
The clash between New York and the Nürburgring came to light last summer, and looked set to impact a number of drivers who could be forced to miss one of their commitments.
DS Virgin Racing and AF Corse driver Sam Bird vented his frustration to NBC Sports earlier this week, saying that the clash put many at risk of jeopardizing their contracts.
Bird will miss the New York races on July 15 and 16 if no solution is found given his factory AF Corse commitments, as will DS Virgin Racing teammate Jose Maria Lopez, who will drive for Toyota’s LMP1 team at the Nürburgring.
The most notable absentee from New York will be defending Formula E champion and current series leader Sebastien Buemi, who also has to prioritize his duties with Toyota, potentially putting his title bid at risk.
However, it now appears that Bird, Lopez and Buemi will be the only three drivers to miss New York after many of Formula E’s other recent WEC racers confirmed they will put the all-electric series first.
Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. are part of Rebellion Racing’s LMP2 team in the WEC, but both confirmed to NBC Sports in Buenos Aires that they will race in New York, missing the Nürburgring race.
Another man who could have been affected was Adam Carroll, who raced with Gulf Racing in the WEC’s GTE Am class through 2016. However, the Briton also confirmed that he too will put Formula E first, racing with Jaguar in New York.
While a number of other Formula E drivers including Lucas di Grassi and Antonio Felix da Costa are exploring options to race in the WEC this year, the Nürburgring is not a round on their radar due to their commitments in New York.
DS Virgin Racing is likely to field reserve driver Alex Lynn in New York, with the 2014 GP3 Series champion telling NBC Sports that he expects to make his debut there. But the team will have one extra seat to fill for the round.
Renault e.dams has no reserve driver in place to deputize for Buemi, but many look to a Renault-affiliated racer to step into the seat.
Another option for both teams could be recent Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez, who will make his Formula E debut in Mexico and is also slated to race in New York.