Why Australia should host one of the new Formula E events

Jun 03, 2019
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Audi's Lucas Di Grassi celebrates on the podium after winning the Berlin E-Prix on May 25. Source: Getty

Formula E, the motorsport that uses only electric-powered vehicles, has already hit some of the world’s biggest, most exciting cities. London, Paris, Shanghai and New York have all hosted races, but there’s no Australian event on the calendar. Yet.

That would change if Allan McNish, three-time Le Mans winner and Audi’s Formula E team principal, gets his way. Apparently “there’s been discussions” about a race Down Under, but nothing has happened yet.

“I think you’ve gotta go to every part of the globe at some point. I think Australia is motorsport-friendly, shall we say, and also we know [Australia] can put on a fantastic show,” McNish said, speaking at the Berlin e-prix.

“At the moment it’s not on the calendar, but I’m very sure at some point in the closer future it’s going to be. When it will be, it’ll be pretty sensational.”

Exactly where the race would be isn’t clear. A spokesperson for the Victorian Government said it has “no immediate plans to bring Formula E to Victoria”.

“Victoria currently hosts Australia’s biggest motorsport events including the Formula One Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and four rounds of the Australian Supercar Championship,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier this year, reports confirmed Formula E organisers have spoken to Perth and Sydney about hosting a race. They wouldn’t confirm whether either state was leading the race, but did point to our distance from Europe as a potential holdup.

Formula 1, World Endurance Championship and Supercar fans might wonder why Australia would bother. Formula E hasn’t been received well by old-school motorsport fans, who bemoan the lack of noise and drama from the cars. Allan McNish isn’t fazed.

“It’s a city-based series, it goes around major cities in the world telling its story. And at the same time, clearly it links into a different racing fan – a new generation racing fan,” McNish told CarAdvice.

“Motorsport has got to stay relevant. It’s got to stay relevant being at the front edge of the technology side, but it’s got to stay relevant for the fans,” he added later.

“You need children to come to races with their parents, to get that emotion so we’ve got them in the future. And they want something different to what we wanted when we were kids. We’ve got to be aware of that.”

Are you a motorsports fan? Would you go to a Formula E event if one was held in Australia?

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