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Formula E to Reduce WEC Calendar Clashes

Formula E is set to change two of its 2019-20 dates to avert clashes with FIA WEC….

Photo: Formula E

Formula E is set to modify its 2019-20 schedule to ensure that two of the previously clashing dates with the FIA World Endurance Championship are freed up.

E-racing365 has learned that discussions between the FIA, Formula E and WEC senior figures took place at both last Sunday’s French Grand Prix in Paul Ricard and also at the preceding day’s Swiss E-Prix.

Both FIA President Jean Todt and FIA secretary general for motorsport Peter Bayer met with WEC CEO Gerard Neveu and Formula E chairman Alejandro Agag to try and reach a solution on the calendar congestion.

The meetings are believed to have resulted in an initial understanding that the all-electric series would alter its calendar to avoid both the December and March clashes.

These changes revolve around the yet-to-be-announced Formula E race on Dec. 14, which was to be a direct clash with WEC’s 8 Hours of Bahrain fixture.

Like the majority of the 2019-20 WEC schedule, the Bahrain date was originally announced in September 2018, nine months before Formula E filed its partly-assembled calendar draft to the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

It’s believed that Marrakesh was the most likely location for Formula E on the tentative Dec. 14 date but that it will now either be shifted back a week or, more likely, not take place at all.

However, the former option would then constitute a direct conflict with the FIA Awards Gala, which is scheduled for Sat., Dec. 7.

Additionally, Formula E is believed to have also provisionally agreed it will change another date, again a current TBC Asian round in March.

This is now likely to take place on March 14 instead of March 21, with Sanya, Xi’an or Chengdu possible venues for the still to be determined Chinese race.

The status of the third clash, which sees the inaugural Seoul E-Prix on the same weekend as the 6 Hours of Spa, is currently unknown.

This date is believed to be the only one that can host an E-Prix in the South Korean capital.

Speaking to e-racing365 in Bern last week, Nissan e.dams and Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Sebastien Buemi said he was hopeful that changes would be incorporated so that clashes could be avoided.

“I’ve discussed it already with people that can change something and it is a work in progress but let’s wait first and we will see,” he said.

“It is quite clear that WEC and Formula E are the only two categories where you can think of doing the two.”

It still remains unclear precisely why Formula E announced the December and March dates knowing that they would be direct clashes with long announced WEC dates.

Additionally, there has also been no clear explanation as to why Formula E would not meet with FIA and WEC officials for a calendar commission meeting.

Todt told e-racing365 earlier this month that the calendar clashes came as a result of “misunderstandings and difficulties”, while confirming that the FIA calendar commission, which was established to avoid clashes between major series, did not meet in this instance.

Formula E’s recent willingness to change its dates comes in stark contrast to comments made by its co-founder and deputy CEO Alberto Longo in Bern last weekend.

He told Autosport that “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.”

Neither WEC nor Formula E would comment on the matter when contacted by e-racing365 today.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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