FIA President Jean Todt has described the reasons why three clashes between the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E and FIA World Endurance Championships have occurred as being because of “misunderstandings and difficulties.”
Formula E announced its schedule on Friday with three dates set to be direct clashes with WEC events, the majority of which were originally announced in August.
The clashes see two ‘to be confirmed’ Formula E races in December and March on the same dates as the Bahrain and Sebring WEC events, in addition to another clash between the inaugural Seoul E-Prix and Six Hours of Spa on the first weekend of May.
Todt indicated he wasn’t able to “carefully” review the Formula E calendar proposal which was sent to the FIA World Motor Sport Council by Formula E Operations earlier this week.
It has also emerged that the FIA calendar commission, which was formed in 2017 to try and avert clashes between major championships, did not meet to discuss the congestion of dates between Formula E and WEC.
“The only thing I asked the calendar commission people, who sit together and work, if you have a commission and people don’t meet then I am sorry about that,” Todt told e-racing365 at Le Mans today.
“There [are] probably some misunderstandings and some difficulties about the calendars. It’s something I’ve been expressing very often.
“We have 52 weekends in the year and we’re mentioning the number of events we have so, unfortunately, there are some clashes between some dates and championships.”
The initial draft of the Formula E calendar changed recently after the original date of the season opener at Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, had to be switched from a Dec. 20-21 date to the final weekend of November.
A succession of events in early December meant that the double-header event could only take place on either of those dates but unhappiness on the close proximity to the Christmas break from some of the competing manufacturers forced Formula E’s hand.
The change from December to November itself created the issue of a seven-week gap to the Santiago E-Prix on Jan. 18. This meant Formula E placed the TBC event for Dec. 14 to break up the gap.
Sam Bird criticized the clashes today, saying “it just puts us in a terrible situation and I wish it could be sorted out. It’s very frustrating.”
Calendar Solutions “Could Be Found”
Todt, however, said that possible changes to the Formula E calendar might be implemented to alleviate the issues facing drivers and personnel that work in both championships.
In previous seasons Formula E calendars have changed such as when the Sao Paulo E-Prix was cancelled in Dec. 2017 and the Punta del Este race replaced it at short notice for the following March.
“Clearly, there’s an interest with certain drivers to participate in both championships,” said Todt. “I’ve already asked my people to see if some solutions could be found.
“I must say it’s not easy because each championship has its own needs, its own problems to solve, but if it’s something we can improve, we will do it.”
Todt also explained that there could be a solution for amendments to the Formula E calendar for the 2019-20 season.
“There will always be problems. I simply feel a bit unsatisfied that this [calendar] commission did not meet to try to address a problem before but it’s never too late to try.”
When asked if changes could be made specifically to the 2019-20 calendar Todt said: “For the coming season yes, if we can.”
John Dagys contributed to this report.