Formula E

Hong Kong’s Formula E race may move to November, or later, but it can still be the first stop of the 2017-18 season

Organisers say the early October date is a cause for worry because of the threat of typhoons

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 8:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 11:08pm

Hong Kong’s Formula E race may move from October to November – or even later – but organisers are still confident the local ePrix at Central Harbourfront will be the first stop of next season.

Organisers said they would start discussions with the government next month regarding preparation work for the second edition in Hong Kong and the dates are likely to be pushed forward.

“We were greatly concerned about the weather conditions this year when we staged the event in October because of the approach of a typhoon,” said Alan Fang, chief executive of Formula Electric Hong Kong Racing. “Fortunately it did not affect the race but it had given us a lot of worries.

“We are now planning to start the 2017 event in late November when we discuss it with the government as we will use probably the same venue in the Central Harbourfront next year.”Fang said the current season would not end until July 2017 in Montreal and the Hong Kong leg would still have the opportunity to kick off the fourth season of Formula E racing.

“The teams need probably three months to reset the car and test the new technology for the new season and therefore we may still be leading out the fourth season even if we start the event at a later date next year,” he said.

“Formula E racing is extremely happy with the Hong Kong race, which has achieved the best viewing figures of the event so far. We are confident they would give us some priorities to start the fourth season.”

The Hong Kong race had a global cumulative audience of more than 18 million with live race viewership of 700,000 from Japan. China had 480,000 viewers watching the Hong Kong race while 250,000 Hongkongers tuned in, according to figures released by Fang.

The official said the current 1.8 kilometre street circuit was not ideal and they would prefer a 2.3km course, though they are unsure how to go about it.

“There are some geographical limitations of the current course as it will be difficult to extend it to the east because of public transport spots such as the Star Ferry and the airport railway station,” he said. “There is a small tunnel if we want to extend the course to Tamar Park on the west but this will be very dangerous to the drivers. We will have to work out the best location plan for the interest of the drivers, spectators and the organisers.”

Fang also said they would be happy to see a home racer in the Hong Kong race next season but the driver must qualify for Formula E first according to rules set by governing body FIA.

At the moment, only Adderly Fong Cheun-yue has earned qualification points and is Hong Kong’s best hope.