In 2023, Formula E is undergoing a big change. It’ll bring pitstops back to the sport, it will race with a new, lighter, faster car, and it has brand new races planned in India and Brazil. But, when the season nine calendar was unveiled last month, it had gaps for a few extra races at various points. And, after speaking with the drivers at the New York ePrix this weekend, it sounds like Formula E really needs to host a race in Japan.
“I’m a big fan of Tokyo,” says Porsche driver André Lotterer. “Living there for 15 years, racing there, I think it’s a great city. It’s a futuristic city, so it would be awesome.”
Lotterer was just the first person to suggest Tokyo as a possible race location when I asked the drivers which city they’d like to see Formula E visit in the future. And it’s hard to argue against it being a perfect fit for the sport.
Japanese motorsport fans are some of the most enthusiastic you’ll find around. Just look at the crowds that flock to Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix or the various Super GT and Super Formula events that take place every year.
New York E Prix winner, Nick Cassidy, added: “I’ve lived in Japan, I raced in Japan and I just think Tokyo is a really incredible city. There are a lot of people, a lot of cool things going on and I think it would be really great for the championship to boost that Asian leg.”
A lot of the “cool things going on” in Tokyo would fit right in with Formula E’s messaging.
The Japanese capital is currently working to become a zero emission city by 2050. This includes a switch to renewable energy sources, a reduction in emissions from buildings, increasing adoption of electric vehicles and a focus on recycling in the city. All simple things that line up perfectly with Formula E’s sustainable targets.
What’s more, the sport proved with this weekend’s race in New York that it likes to race in places with a bit of a spectacle. And if you’re thinking of iconic city skylines that you could race in front of, Tokyo has got to be near the top of that list, right?
“Japan would be a very good one,” says Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne. “Somewhere like Tokyo would be good.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time a Formula E race in Japan has been suggested. And, thankfully, it does now sound like plans to host one in the country may be gathering pace.
Because now might be the perfect time for Tokyo to swoop in and lay claim to a spot on next year’s calendar. Nissan has committed to remain in the sport through to Gen 3, and the squad is hoping the new cars and race formats will bring about a change in fortunes.
But, on top of a few hometown hopefuls, there’s also now a perfect place for Formula E to race: the Tokyo Olympic park.
The city center location ticks all the boxes as it’s easily accessible by public transport, unlike Red Hook; comes with ready-made seating for spectators and even makes use of a venue designed for something completely different.
Using the Russian Winter Olympic park as a venue has worked for F1, why can’t Formula E follow suit in Japan? Alejandro Agag, I’ll be waiting for your call.