Hong Kong Formula E race to stay at Central Harbourfront in 2017, says Tourism Board’s Peter Lam
Drivers are in favour of the scenic location but organisers are to take into account requests such as making the circuit longer
Hong Kong’s Formula E race is likely to stay at the Central Harbourfront next year although officials admitted improvement work was needed, especially on the circuit.
Peter Lam Kin-ngok, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said at the conclusion of the two-day event that drivers were in favour of returning to the same location.
“I think this is the most suitable venue for an event like Formula E racing,” said Lam. “The government has spent a lot of effort in closing the roads in Central in order to make the event happen. All the drivers are also in favour of the location where you can enjoy many scenic spots in Hong Kong such as Central, Kowloon Peninsula and Kai Tak.
“Of course, this is the first year we staged the Formula E race and they say the track can be longer and wider and in better condition. We will discuss this with the government in order to sort out these issues before we come back to Central next year.”
Lam said he understood some of the fans were not happy with the ticket prices. Some members of the public also complained that the view (E-Village) was blocked.
But Lam said these are “problems that can be resolved”.
About 5,000 tickets (HK$300 each) for the E-Village were sold on Sunday. Along with fans in the grandstands (HK$2,380 each), corporate suites and E-motion Club, a total attendance of 12,133 was recorded.
The government had spent almost three years studying the suitability of the Central Harbourfront venue before giving the green light and was unlikely to change the location, said an official who declined to be named.
“The distance is not ideal as we all know but they can extend the track beyond the CITIC Tower on Tim Mei Avenue on the western side of the circuit when we come back next year,” said the official.
“A debriefing will take place soon between the government and the organisers before we study all these problems but the location is unlikely to be changed.”
Alan Fang, chief executive of Formula Electric Racing (Hong Kong), said the 1.8 kilometre Hong Kong circuit was shorter than the other Formula E tracks.
“The other races are running on a 2.3-kilometre track but since this is the first time we staged the event, we considered drivers’ safety as our top priority while also keep the race challenging. That’s how we designed the track,” said Fang. “Even the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told me we can have a longer track and an event with a bigger scale next year.”
Leung was booed by spectators when presenting the trophy to winning driver Sebastien Buemi.
Hong Kong has a three-year deal with Formula E racing but officials have repeatedly said they would like to make the event a permanent fixture on the global circuit.