Battersea Park confirmed as venue for London ePrix

The London ePrix will continue to be held in Battersea Park, it was confirmed on Tuesday evening.

As predicted by Motorsport.com in September, the decision to remain at the historic London park was decided after the local borough council met to vote for a continuation of hosting the event, which will be formerly confirmed at the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris next week.

The meeting was formed to decide whether or not to trigger a break clause in the council's contract with Formula E Holdings Ltd on hosting the event next July 2-3.

The vote, which took place after several deputations from local councillors, saw a 7 to 4 result for hosting Formula E in the park. The next opportunity for a break in the contract will come after the 2017 event.

There is some resistance for holding the event, with a number of 'Save Battersea Park' and 'Friends of Battersea Park' staging a protest outside the Wandsworth Council HQ close to Battersea Park.

Small scale criticisms of the event, including tyre marks not being cleaned from the track, were cited in some of the speeches but the main bone of contention from local residents was the use of a helicopter for filming purposes.

There will be a series of recommendations for this season's finale in July to be undertaken.

These are likely to involve better spectator viewing points, disabled access, better signage and the removal of the late braking evidence on the tarmac.

Opinion: A victory for progressive motorsport events

The news that the London ePrix will continue for two more events should be celebrated by not only the growing Formula E community but by all motorsport enthusiasts.

The decision to continue with the event gives Formula E a further chance to enhance its progressive outlook on the future route motorsport needs to take in major capital cities throughout the world.

Yet there is an air of controversy regarding the London ePrix in Battersea Park and there will continue to be passionate objections to hosting the event in the coming years. These will need to be carefully and diligently taken care of Formula E.

The Save Battersea Park collective, which numbers 283 followers on Twitter, is well entitled to its objections. Yet it probably didn't help itself with some bizarre and sensationalist communications in the period after the race.

Some of these showed single broken branches from trees and images of a fork lift truck in the park grouped under a general message of wanton disregard for the park. It just looked desperate.

The clash between various local level councillors also bordered on the farcical at various stages, with one alleged to have remarked a speech against hosting the race again as 'diarrhoea and verbal rubbish.' There were also dramatic shouts of: "if this is democracy then we are screwed" when the voting verdict was articulated last night.

Of course, the residents and park users should continue to be highly respected and catered for in terms of communication regarding the inevitable disruption of the park during the event.

But with the financial benefits to the local community being considerable, not to mention the promotion of the region throughout the world via TV and social media, the small amount of cons seem to be far outweighed by the pros.

The first London ePrix wasn't perfect, but for a first attempt at staging a major motor race in the heart of the capital it was a damn fine effort by Formula E, who will continue to treat the grade two listed park with the upmost respect it deserves.

A good portion of Formula E's USP is to bring a new version of racing to the people in major conurbations and city centres.

Seeing over 60,000, many of them families, enjoying the spectacle in the scenic ambience of Battersea last summer showed that it can work in major cities, and long may it continue to inspire and thrill them in the future.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula E
Event London ePrix
Track Streets of London
Article type Breaking news