Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird revealed in a press release on Tuesday that he was “absolutely delighted” at the news of the London E-Prix returning to the calendar.
The London E-Prix has been announced to take place at the ExCel Exhibition centre in Docklands as the finale to Formula E’s sixth season in 2019/2020.
The event returns to the calendar after hosting the season ending double-header at Battersea Park in both 2015 and 2016. The Battersea Park event was cancelled before the end of its original 5 year deal, after locals reached an out of court settlement with Formula E following a controversy surrounding the local council’s management of the event.
The upshot of this is that the London E-Prix has been off the calendar for four years as rumour and speculation about the return of Formula E to the UK has abounded, including a completely unsubstantiated claim from the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, that Birmingham was in advanced talks to host a round in season 5, when this turned out not to be the case at all.
“As a British driver and a previous London E-Prix winner, I’m absolutely delighted to learn that Formula E is once again racing in the capital in season six.”
In 2015 Bird won the season finale in Battersea Park, becoming the first Formula E driver to win their home race. Despite Formula E subsequently withdrawing from the venue, the Roehampton-born driver still has fond memories of victory at home.
“To win your home race, in front of your home fans, is one of the most memorable feelings for any racing driver, so to have that opportunity again is a very exciting prospect.”
“It’s also great news for the championship as it’s such an important market both in terms of stature, but also with so many teams, workers and fans based in the UK. I just can’t wait to race now!”
Other British drivers have also reacted positively to the announcement. On Twitter, HWA driver Gary Paffett said: “This is great news; Formula E back in London!” whilst Nissan e.Dams’ Oliver Rowland was also jubilant, exclaiming: “Now we’re talking!…It’s coming home.”
The London E-Prix is currently scheduled to take place as a double-header on the 25th and 26th of July 2020. The Indoor/outdoor circuit at the Royal Victoria Dock is currently still subject to circuit homologation and approval from the FIA World Motorsport Council.