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  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:12pm
NewsHong Kong

Formula E bosses pull the plug on electric-car race in Hong Kong

Circuit in Central fails to win approval - but auto association chief is hopeful for future

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 December, 2013, 6:26am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 December, 2013, 10:19am

The new Formula E motor racing championship will not be coming to Hong Kong after the proposed circuit in Central failed to meet the approval of the world auto sports governing body.

President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association Lawrence Yu Kam-kee was in Paris last week to see the International Automobile Federation (FIA) unveil the calendar for the new electric racing series, only to see Hong Kong was excluded.

"I'm very disappointed," Yu said from Paris. "The Hong Kong race was cancelled because the FIA didn't approve the circuit. They said the circuit was not up to their standards.

"I believe it was not just one part of the circuit, but many parts which did not measure up to expectations," Yu said. "This is the first time we were making a bid and we couldn't meet the FIA requirements in time. Hopefully we can do better in the future."

It was to have been the first internationally sanctioned race in Hong Kong, with electrically powered cars speeding through the city at 200 km/h.

The initial circuit had to be changed after the government ruled that a section of road near the gates to its offices in Admiralty could not be used. Though the race would have been on a Sunday, the gates had to remain open so Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying could go to work.

The alternative route reduced the length of the circuit to 2.4 kilometres. Then another problem arose over a stretch of tarmac on Lung Wo Road in Central.

On a visit to the city in October, Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag said: "The route is our No1 concern right now. Everything is sorted, except for one, small 10-metre stretch which goes under a tunnel and which the FIA has raised concerns about due to safety issues."

Hong Kong didn't pass the final FIA examination.

In its official announcement, Formula E hinted that Hong Kong could be included in the future. "Rio de Janeiro replaces Hong Kong, which will instead be considered as a candidate city for the following Formula E seasons," the statement said.

Yu remained optimistic. "Yes, I'm disappointed we will not be part of the inaugural series, but on the other hand I'm happy that we have started discussions and brought this into the limelight, which will be useful as we look at organising races in the future."

Hong Kong-based racing driver Darryl O'Young said: "It is sad Hong Kong lost the slot and it will be disappointing as many people worked very hard to try and make the race happen.

"On the positive side, I believe it was still a big step forward for Hong Kong motorsport to try to turn this race into reality. Hopefully there will be other opportunities in the future."

The inaugural 10-city series will start in September in Beijing and run until June 2015. Other cities include Miami, Monte Carlo and London.


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This article is now closed to comments

Although Central represents the hear of Hong Kong, it may not be the number one choice for the race. The roads on the proposed circuit layout are narrow and unspectacular to be honest. Other people have suggested the land at the ex Kai Tak airport and it may be a better choice. At least there will be no government offices there yet. And it is a good chance to promote the new cruise terminal, too. There is also enough space for spectators or even hosting other activities like concerts and or auto themed carnival. Worth considering.
As the death toll of drink-driving, dangerous driving in hong Kong is much higher than that of Macau, should the electronic car race still be introduced in HK?
Do you have a source for this claim?
shows fatality rate due to road traffic accidents in Hong Kong is half that of Macau.
Drink driving statistics are more about enforcement than the act itself - as witnessed by the huge change in statistics for 2009 when enforcement policies in Hong Kong changed. If you don't test, you won't know.
Given that Macau hosts a grand prix, I am not sure how this helps your argument - are you suggesting that hosting a racing event will increase or decrease the fatality rate? Are you seriously suggesting that watching a legal and officially-sanctioned and supported car race makes people want to get drunk then go out and run over a pedestrian?
Back on the topic of Hong Kong's loss here, I am disappointed that the government did not do more and was not more supportive of this. Such an exhibition of the performance and environmental friendliness of Electric Vehicles would have done much to show the Hong Kong people what a change we can make - rather than continue to rely on the vehicles on the road today spewing their noxious fumes and contributing to more than 3,000 deaths and HK$39billion in costs, annually - ****www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1128685/air-pollution-causes-3000-deaths-costs-hk39b-annually
Sorry but I am surprised nowadays people still link dangerous driving or even drink and drive to motorsports. In this sense wine causes the drink and driver problem, show we introduce a law to ban selling wine here?
Even there is no direct relationship between drink driving and motor race, there are enormous illegal racing in Hong Kong whenever close to the oncoming motor race in Macau....such illegal racing is dangerous driving if it's not well controlled in HK, the HK motor race will bring an even more encouraging atmosphere for such dangerous driving in HK


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