Formula E, the all-electric open-wheel racing series, has just announced its full calendar for the 2021-2022 season, the eighth of its existence. While we chatted a little about the calendar’s release, I want to run you through the big talking points that you need to know as we get ready to race.
- January 28-29, 2022: Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
- February 12, 2022: Mexico City, Mexico
- February 26, 2022: Cape Town, South Africa
- March 19, 2022: to be confirmed
- April 9, 2022: Rome, Italy
- April 30, 2022: Monaco
- May 14, 2022: Berlin, Germany
- June 4, 2022: to be confirmed, China
- July 2, 2022: Vancouver, Canada
- July 16-17, 2022: New York City, USA
- July 30-31, 2022: London, England
- August 13-14, 2022: Seoul, South Korea
When Bradley Brownell wrote about the FE season, his emphasis was on the three new locations the series will be traveling to in 2022: Cape Town, Vancouver, and Seoul. I’ll let him tell you about it.
When Formula E kicked off, it adopted a very awkward split-year schedule. That meant that the season would open in, say, 2015 and continue through the first part of 2016. We’re done with that.
That split format was initially adopted because FE was designed to be an “off-season series.” Basically, to draw talent, the series figured it would be best to run its races when no other series were on the track. It would reduce conflicts and, hopefully, get some big names behind the wheel.
As the years have passed, that format has become less and less favorable. FE has grown to stand on its own two feet, serving as a legitimate series in and of itself that doesn’t need the help of other events to bolster its image. The split years were also unwieldy and resulted in some pretty long gaps between races.
That said, the upcoming introduction of the Gen3 car is still noted as happening in the 2022-23 season, so we could still revert back to FE’s original structure.
Fans are torn on how they feel about doubleheaders. Some folks really like the format, since it makes for a fast-paced weekend that, if you’re attending, gives you more bang for your buck. On the other hand, the two-race weekends can feel alternately overwhelming or boring, depending on the track.
As the motorsport world still recovers from COVID-19 and FE still establishes its roots, doubleheaders are a good call. Financially, the series gets to fill out its calendar with extra races that they don’t have to travel to. And its emphasis on racing on city streets means FE is at the whim of changeable local governments that have been known to cancel a race. Sticking two races into a weekend that’s a guaranteed go ensures that, even if some plans fall through, there will be a championship’s worth of races taking place.
Formula E has never really had a secure support series to fill out its weekends, which means CEO Jamie Reigle is interested in developing something to complement FE. He’s been cagey about answering Motorsport.com’s questions about what the series would look like, but he’s suggested three options: a youth series, a female series, and/or a manufacturer-backed series.
It isn’t a priority for Reigle at the moment, so we won’t see a support series introduced in 2022; he wants to wait until the Gen3 cars are hitting the track before he starts growing the ladder. But we can look forward to an announcement about the future of FE’s support series next year.
There are a few things currently up in the air right now, the biggest of which are those two ‘to be confirmed’ dates in March and June. That first event in March is linked to China, but the changeable COVID-19 situation has made it difficult for a sporting series to make hard plans about flying in and out. FE CEO Jamie Reigle is hopeful that the event will be the Sanya ePrix but can’t make any guarantees right now.
That second TBC is a little more mysterious. Missing from the 2022 calendar is the controversial Valencia circuit, where FE hosts its testing and also put on a disaster of a race. Both Jakarta, Indonesia and Eindhoven, Netherlands have been tied strongly to the 2022 calendar. If you’re a betting man, you’d probably want to put your money on one of those two locales.
There are also three circuits still subject to homologation: Cape Town, Vancouver, and Seoul. Basically, that means the circuit layout has to be approved by the FIA. If it isn’t approved, it likely won’t be dropped; it’s more likely the layout will be changed.