Formula E postpones start of 2021 season in Chile

Formula E

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The start of the 2021 Formula E season has been postponed.

The seventh running of the all-electric series was due to begin with the Santiago EPrix in Chile. The double-header event was scheduled for mid-January.

“In consultation with the Santiago municipality, the Santiago EPrix has been postponed,” Formula E confirmed.

“The races will no longer take place as a double-header on January 16th and 17th and we are working with the city to finalise dates on which to stage the races later in [the first quarter] of 2021.”

The championship did not confirm the reason for the delay. However it faced considerable logistical obstacles to transport its equipment from Europe to South America, which will have been aggravated by the recent spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in several countries.

The 2019-20 season was heavily affected by the pandemic. After cancelling a swathe of races, the series held a six-round event in Berlin to conclude its 11-race championship.

Formula E conducted pre-season testing at the Valencia Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain earlier this month. The 2021 season will be the first contested since Formula E was granted world championship status.

However the postponement of the opening round could put other races in doubt. Following the Chilean round, the series was next due to race at Diriyah in Saudi Arabia in late February.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Formula E postpones start of 2021 season in Chile”

  1. First of many..

    1. @qeki I know you mean FE races, but I also hope this development wouldn’t indicate any potentiality for the same happening in F1 for the second consecutive year. Time will tell.

      1. @jerejj Well WRC is scheduled to start in next month so it and every other sport that is in that Jan-Feb window is in risk. Let’s hope that F1 will race in Melbourne in March

        1. @qeki Indeed. The F1 season starting in Melbourne is dependable on two things, I reckon. One of those is whether there’d be any restrictions in place on international travelling in Australia and the other is spectators in attendance for the event. I hope neither of these would eventually prove to be an obstacle for the Australian GP to take place as scheduled.

          1. There are restrictions on travel to Australia and they are not likely to change anytime soon

            There is also a requirement for all international arrivals to quarantine for 14 days and that too is unlikely to change anytime soon

            I’d give the Melbourne Grand Prix a less than 10% chance of going ahead on its scheduled date.

      2. I’m quite sure that the F1 season will not start in Australia at the date it is planned actually @jerejj, @qeki As @dbradock mentions, restrictions in Australia are likely to be tight enough to make that race unviable – I can imagine teams would manage to convince them to do the bubble thing to avoid at least part of the quarantine period. But without allowing fans in, does it make sense to even build up the track?

        1. @bascb To the last part: Not really. Having fans in attendance is a must for any temporary track to cover the costs of the build-up process that commences two+ months in advance for more or less every one of them. I don’t see people travelling overseas to get there, so the attendance would very likely have to get formed out of people within Australia, and I don’t know for sure how this would work.
          @dbradock Will make life difficult for F1, yes.

          1. Yeah, I think without any international visitors – and I cannot imagine Australia inviting thousands to then sit in hotels for 2 weeks ahead of the race – and the restrictions on group gatherings that are in place to offer much, if any, chance of paying visitors around the track as early as March.

        2. @bascb there is also the issue that, at least right now, even if Australia itself might not be imposing travel restrictions on UK citizens due to the current covid virus mutation, several transport hubs between Australia and the UK are currently banning all air passengers from the UK (e.g Singapore) – so just getting to Australia from the UK is now a more challenging situation than before.

          Now, that might change quite a bit by March, but it does serve as a reminder that we can’t even necessarily take it as a given that the teams could even travel to some of those venues to begin with.

  2. Coventry Climax
    22nd December 2020, 19:12

    Couldn’t care less. Toy cars, silly “fanboost”, spaghetti-narrow tracks. Waste of money.
    The reason why they postpone however, is a very sad thing.
    I sincerely hope the current vaccines arrive, are given in time, and prove to be sufficiently effective to beat the next new killer-variant from emerging.

    1. A lot of us do care though. A poor sign for 2021 motorsports though not surprising.

    2. I genuinely think FE could be great if they raced on traditional tracks and got rid of the super mario gimmicks

      1. They can’t race on traditional tracks because the technology isn’t good enough yet. They probably wouldn’t get 10 full laps of Silverstone out of a full battery charge.

    3. Narrow tracks where cars can mostly overtake each other, unlike F1.
      And also where there is a real competition, also unlike F1. Where Merc is a miles ahead over the competition. Waste of time.Coming from a former mega fan of F1.

  3. Well this sucks. Not suprised but still rubbish. incredible that it is already season 7. Shame that it can’t be run as a 10 lap f1 support race or something. I know that it is supposed to be “accessible and all” but I dislike the circuits despite liking the series

    1. Shame but with the focus on city centre racing in this current pandemic its just not going to work. Better to get on some tracks even if they are slower it will still be ok. For me the biggest disappointment is that they have not yet opened up battery development because thats whats holding Formula E back and now manufacturers are leaving. Audi spent a fortune developing dampeners simply because thats all they could really do. Id rather they ploughed some money into something like solid state batteries as at least that would have accelerated the development of electric cars and help bring the price down a bit. Im a massive F1 fan but also really keen on electric cars but for me Formula E has been a massive let down because of the development restrictions. Maybe I’ll give it a rest until they open up battery development or maybe it will go to the wall before then and F1 will do it better in the future.

  4. First was the Australian Tennis Open, now Formula E in Chile…

    It doesn’t look good for Formula.

    But after the great organization shown in 2020, I believe we will get a great Formula World Championship in 2021, even if some events are cancelled, 2020 proved that there are many (better) race tracks ready to go in! :)

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! ;)

  5. No reason to cancel any of these races. F1 just did a brilliant job during the height of it, MLB, the NFL, they’re playing, same with college football, just take the same precautions and go back to living life and racing/playing as before.

  6. I can understand. Formula E can’t outrun the virus. Heck, not even F1 can do it. Pro racing should look into hiring the engineers of this civilization-ending virus.

  7. From season 1, I have always said I would only watch Formula E if they raced on proper circuits, on proper slick tyres.

  8. The penchant for Formula E to stick to street circuits is going to hurt in the age of COVID. They couldn’t even draft a full 2020/2021 calendar, only the first 2 double headers, and now even 1 of these is being postponed.

    There’s a chance they won’t have a season at all.

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