Talks concerning the future of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship’s Asian races are reaching a crucial stage, with the return of the Hong Kong E-Prix under question.
The Chinese special administrative region has hosted an E-Prix since 2016 and its current contract will be completed when it hosts the fifth round of the 2018-19 season in March.
A new contract is believed to be hanging in the balance as negotiations over a future deal continue, with a specific focus on making the event economically viable.
This season sees the series return to mainland China with a race in Sanya, while it has previously run in Beijing.
“Our local promoter in China, which is Enova [and is] now owned by Yungfeng, decides where races take place within certain parameters in China,” Formula E chairman and founder Alejandro Agag told e-racing365.
“We have Sanya this season and we are also looking for another race on the mainland.”
Agag admitted that the Hong Kong event was expensive to execute but says that Enova is targeting a future of racing in the city.
Enova received a significant investment from Yungfeng Capital in December 2017 and continues to be the regional promoter and partner for Formula E in Asia.
“They [Enova] like Hong Kong and we like Hong Kong but it is quite expensive to be there. So, there are other options and also chances to stay in Hong Kong,” said Agag.
“We are in the middle of the discussions so really it is too early to say.”
Hong Kong Grandstand Seats Cut
The number of tickets available for this season’s Hong Kong E-Prix has been cut by 50 percent, according to the race’s director of marketing and communications.
“Last year we had about 6,000 grandstand tickets, this year we cut it by 50 per cent,” confirmed Coffee Pang.
One of the circuit’s largest grandstands, at the Lung Wo Road junction, has been removed as part of the modifications, with the space instead set to be used as the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY paddock.
The second running of the Hong Kong race, held in December 2017, saw revenue increase for the weekend after a significant loss in the previous season’s inaugural event.
“We wanted to have the grandstand sold out, and encourage as many people to come to the E-Village as possible,” Pang said.
A fresh addition to the E-Village area this year is set to be a ‘Formula E World’ entertainment area, showcasing the all-electric racing series’ drivers and history, its development of technology and a message of sustainability.
“We wanted a holistic presentation for everyone – not just for education but entertainment,” Pang said.
“It’s a zone tailor-made for families and we’re going to make it more fun for the kids to enjoy the place with a bigger gaming area and more simulators for people to enjoy the simulator experience of the circuit.”