Analysis: Formula E's London conundrum

The Battersea Park Formula E race is facing a challenge to stage the season two finale next year, as Sam Smith explains.

Analysis: Formula E's London conundrum
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Formula E cars take over downtown London
Formula E cars take over downtown London
London Mayor Boris Johnson samples a Formula E car on the Battersea Park circuit
London Mayor Boris Johnson samples a Formula E car on the Battersea Park circuit
Formula E cars take over downtown London
Formula E cars take over downtown London
Formula E cars take over downtown London
Fabio Leimer, Virgin Racing
Formula E cars take over downtown London
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport Team ABT
Jarno Trulli, Trulli

The scheduled finale of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship at Battersea Park is facing a significant dilemma that threatens the event finding a date to take place on.

Motorsport.com has discovered that a mooted push back to the first weekend in July is unlikely to happen and that the burgeoning championship faces a stark choice between racing on the same weekend as the British Grand Prix, or the Battersea Park event not happening at all.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, the deputy leader of Wandsworth Council, Jonathan Cook, said: "If we continue (with Formula E) it would have to be the same weekend, as we have so many other events happening in the park, notably the Chase Corporate Challenge, a big running race which goes on immediately afterwards. We wouldn't be able move that and nor would we want to.

"We have something like 600 events going on in the park throughout the year," continued Cook. "They are not all on the scale of the Formula E event, but the ePrix has to fit in to the schedule of the other events, many of which have been going on for years.

"We'll explore possibilities at the review in September and afterwards but as it stands the end of June is the only clear date for the race."

This year's Chase Corporate Challenge event took place on 8/9 July, 10 days after the inaugural London ePrix and is scheduled to take place at the same time in 2016.

However, the build-up of its infrastructure, while not on the scale of the Formula E event, does take some time.

If the Formula E finale weekend were to be moved back to the weekend of 2/3 July, it would have to ensure that the de-rig would be completed immediately after the last race on Sunday afternoon.

The complete de-rigging of this year's London ePrix took until the following Friday morning after the race weekend.

Formula E will also be unable to move the planned Battersea weekend forward, as the Le Mans 24 Hours takes place on the 18/19 June. Several Formula E drivers are highly likely to be racing at La Sarthe in 2016.

Is Formula E starting to irritate Bernie?

It can be viewed as the ultimate complement. Bernie Ecclestone and FOM getting twitchy of Formula E's continued momentum.

It may seem fanciful but Motorsport.com understands that Formula E's planned race in Mexico City 'became difficult' in the weeks prior to the World Motorsport Council meeting, which ironically was held in the Mexican capital at the beginning of last month.

Mexico did not appear on the ratified season two calendar, despite series boss Alejandro Agag telling Motorsport.com at the end of May that there was a good possibility of a race there.

Miami is now favourite to be the scheduled March 19 race.

With the British Grand Prix moving to the same date as the mooted second London ePrix, the powers that be in F1 would have known that it will be extraordinarily difficult for the race to be re-scheduled at that time of the year.

Formula E is unlikely to be at the top of Ecclestone's list of priorities at the moment, but the fact remains that with the nascent championship known to be talking closely to Hong Kong, Almaty and Tokyo, the F1 ringleader's notorious antennae's will be pricked and keen to ensure no revenue streams for F1 are compromised by any other suitors.

This, allied to the fact that Agag is ambitious to attract additional manufacturers, which in turn could trigger an application for World Championship status – as he told Motorsport.com in June - then Bernie and FOM's defensive reflexes are likely to start being activated even harder in the years to come.

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