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Summer Shutdown Proposal Stalls

Formula E teams fail to reach unanimous agreement on proposed summer shutdown…

Photo: Formula E

Plans to implement an official Formula 1-style summer shutdown in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship have been derailed.

E-racing365 understands that the majority of manufacturers in the championship supported a two-week period of agreed downtime starting next summer, but some manufacturers are believed to have essentially vetoed the plans.

Now the plans, which e-racing365 first reported last Novemeber, are set to be scrapped after unanimous agreement was not forthcoming during a Sporting Working Group meeting held in London last month.

Recent Formula E seasons have largely run from December to July, leaving a five-month window of off-season for the organizers to choose from.

This compares to an off-season period of three-and-a-half months in Formula 1, which conducts its mandatory two-week break in August.

Formula E has to work to pre-defined pre- and post-homologation periods for the following season’s development testing, however.

For the period between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, Formula E will introduce the ‘B-spec’ of Gen 2 car for a further two seasons until the end of the Gen 2 era after the 2021-22 campaign.

This will mean that teams have new hardware to work and test during the summer, despite a reduction in the testing days made available to manufacturers having been agreed in principle recently.

The measures of ceasing any official summer shutdown in Formula E have been met with some frustration by Venturi Racing team principal Susie Wolff.

“It’s disappointing because I am very much in favor of it because Formula 1 can manage to find a way to make it happen but Formula E can’t,” Wolff told e-racing365.

“I fully understand the constraints of the big manufacturers who have employees that can’t be dictated to when they have holiday, but I still think it is something we should be pushing for.”

It is believed that the proposed summer shutdown was particularly troublesome for major manufacturer teams because of specific employee laws that dictate vacation time for public companies.

Wolff reiterated the cost-control philosophy that the championship has employed throughout its existence, part of which has been the capping of team personnel attending races.

Teams are currently allocated a total of 20 passes for operational staff, a total of five for management and PR, a total of three for drivers, four for media and driver support and eight for official team VIP guests.

“It’s important to be able to make sure that we run with limited personnel numbers because this is part of the cost control of the championship,” said Wolff.

“We have always been vocal alongside others in the championship that we can’t get out of control in terms of cost.

“I think a shutdown is a step in the right direction but obviously it’s difficult for some of the big manufacturers, so it’s disappointing.”

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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