Formula E says it's up to WEC to avert date clashes
ABB FIA Formula E deputy CEO Alberto Longo insists the electric championship is “not going to move” its clashing race dates with the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2019/20.
Next season’s FE calendar was revealed at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting last week, with three dates clashing with WEC races in Bahrain (FE’s TBC December 14 race), at Sebring (the second TBC on March 21 2019), and Spa (FE’s inaugural Seoul E-Prix).
FIA president Jean Todt said that the governing body is trying to find a solution to the problem, which will impact on several drivers who have deals to race in both series.
When asked if it was up to the WEC to move its events rather than FE, Longo told Motorsport.com: “We are not going to move – that’s for sure.
“If we are to do a race [on the TBCs], it will be those weekends. Seoul is confirmed. The calendar is announced already – that’s it. We don’t need to speak about it, it’s just what it is.
“We are very tight on choosing our calendars and hopefully they can move. If they cannot move, we will clash. It’s not the end of the world, at all.”
Longo indicated that the FIA had contacted FE about possibly moving its races on the clashing dates, but added: “At the end we have fixed dates and we cannot move from there.
“So if [the WEC] races are confirmed, unfortunately they are going to be on those weekends that have been announced.”
It's understood the prospect of the WEC changing any of the three clashing dates is remote, with a source pointing out its 2019/20 schedule had been made public last August.
In his briefing at last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours, Todt also explained that a “calendar commission” had been created to try and avoid such clashing scenarios between the FIA-governed championships, but then suggested the group had not met over the two 2019/20 calendars.
Regarding Todt’s comments on this group, Longo said: “I don’t know if that is called a calendar commission, [but] we have been in a meeting with all the promoters of the FIA championships.
“The final goal of that meeting was to sit together and see if we [could] manage not to have a race on the same weekend from different championships. We have met in the last two seasons.”
Longo also stated that organising the FE calendar is a “bigger challenge than for anyone else because we don’t race on tracks, we race in the centre of the cities”.
“Racing in the centre of the cities brings a lot more complexity to our calendar,” he added.
“You need to bear in mind that we don’t want to clash with WEC, we don’t want to clash with Formula 1, we don’t want to clash with [other] major international events.
“But on top of that, we need to see what the calendar of the events for the city that we’re racing in is. And that gives us very small windows, much smaller than what people would think about.
“In most of the cases, I don’t have two weekends to choose out of the whole year.
"So it’s a huge challenge and what I always ask in these meetings is ‘you need to be more flexible with us’ because for them to change one weekend up or down shouldn’t be a big problem.
“But for us it’s a yes or no [with cities]. So that’s exactly why we place the weekends – where we find an agreement with the cities, and try not clash with any other motorsport events.”
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