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Teams Get Cautiously Positive Santiago Update

Teams receive an update to plans for the next round of the season in Chile’s capital…

Photo: Formula E

Formula E is continuing to monitor the socio-political situation in Santiago as it gears up to host the next round of the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship in January.

Violent clashes in the Chilean capital triggered a short state of emergency last month after social unrest linked to public transport price hikes implemented by the government.

Since then the once volatile situation has calmed but pockets of disturbances are still occurring despite promised social reform legislation having being announced recently.

Last week the Movistar Arena, which is based within the O’Higgins municipal park where the Formula E race is staged, hosted a tennis event featuring former world number one player Roger Federer.

The exhibition event passed off without incident and was the first major international sporting event to take place in the city since the troubles began.

Formula E teams were given an update on the latest situation at last week’s Diriyah E-Prix where they were told that the event is planned to go ahead as scheduled.

“Currently, the calendar is as it is announced and we are racing in Santiago, but clearly we’ve all as teams together just expressed a request to have an update on the situation,” Formula E Teams and Manufacturers Chairman James Barclay told e-racing365.

“Formula E Operations (FEO) are absolutely monitoring the situation, and Alberto [Longo] has been keeping very close with both the government and the private sector to kind of make sure that situation, if anything develops further, to take a view.

“We very much need to take the direction from Formula E for many reasons. Fundamentally as the promoter, they’ll tell us if it’s appropriate that we race there from a safety perspective.

“I think the focus from everyone’s side is that we’re racing in Santiago right now. The situation is being monitored by FEO, and we know they’ll be ultimately making the right call.”

E-racing365 understands that Formula E will continue to work with local agencies in Santiago throughout this week as the freight to Chile is sent from Saudi Arabia.

FEO is expected to communicate a further update to teams by Friday.

Audi’s Lucas di Grassi, who is one of the two South American drivers to currently racing in Formula E (the other being Felipe Massa), believes that Formula E brings several benefits to the countries it visits during each calendar.

“I hope there is a race there [in Santiago]. We don’t have any more races in South America, and Chile is the only one,” di Grassi told e-racing365.

“But otherwise, if it’s not, then I think the priority is for the country to be resolved first [rather than] Formula E itself, so if there is any reason why we are not safe or if there is any risk of anything, or if it is disturbing the country even more, it would be not good.

“In the end, Formula E is bringing money, is bringing travel, is bringing economic growth to the region, it’s bringing jobs, so it would be good that we have a race there.”

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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