Berlin’s senate has moved to disallow Formula E to race in Karl-Marx-Alle for the seventh round of the championship, it has been revealed, after discussions that began in mid-January were finally made public today.
The Berlin ePrix has already courted two different locations, initially utilising the Tempelhof Airport in season one, but forced to relocate in season two after the airport was allocated as a refugee shelter. The senate’s decision leaves the all-electric series little time to find a replacement venue, with ticket sales under-way since December, leaving fans and teams facing the uncertainty of a relocation at this stage, or the cancellation of the race itself.
“Unreasonable road closures”
German site e-Formula.de reports that the primary reasons for the senate’s decision were logistical, with “unreasonable road closures and restrictions for residents and road users” seen as a significant issue. With the London ePrix also removed from this year’s calendar for similar reasons, due to the complaints of the Battersea Park Action Group, Formula E now faces the cancellation of a second European race unless a replacement can be found – a considerate blow to a series whose ethos is to bring racing to the people in city centres worldwide.
Johannes Schneider, policy transport spokesman for the Green Party said: “I am pleased that the senate has spoken out against the race in the inner city. Motorsport events should only be taking place on suitable race tracks.” While the series could consider a move back to the Tempelhof Airport, refugees are still in attendance, and with reported efforts within the Green Party to block the race in this location, too, the outcome appears far from certain.
No more Germany race?
If the race cannot be re-homed, this leaves German drivers Nick Heidfeld, Maro Engel, and Daniel Abt without a home race on the calendar. Abt, currently driving for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, took to Twitter to express his thoughts over the potential cancellation saying he “couldn’t believe the news that Berlin voted against the Formula E race,” and expressing that he felt “embarrassed” for his home country.
Formula E have yet to offer any official comment, but we’ll keep you updated on the fate of the 2017 Berlin ePrix, here at EV Performance!