The Hyderabad E-Prix 2024 had to be canceled at short notice: Formula E boss Jeff Dodds would “race in India again” – but only under these conditions
Formula E was due to make a guest appearance in Hyderabad (India) this weekend. However, following a change of government, the local authorities “decided not to fulfill the contract to host the race”, according to a statement from the electric formula series
What happens now? No replacement race is initially planned for the 2024 season. However, a return to India in the coming years does not seem out of the question. “I would like to race in India again in the future, but I think that has to be a stable decision,” Formula E Managing Director Jeff Dodds told Autosport.
“I don’t want the calendar to ever be in jeopardy because it’s uncertain until the last minute whether a race will take place or not. The stability of the calendar is incredibly important for the series and for building a fan base,” says the Briton.
Both the teams and drivers as well as the fans “want to know where the races will be held and when they will take place so that you can start to build that consistency to promote the sport,” explains Dodds. “I would love to return to India, but with a stable place on the calendar in the future that allows us to build some momentum. “
Cancellation of India: damage to Formula E’s image?
The cancellation of the Hyderabad E-Prix has resulted in a seven-week break in this year’s Formula E racing calendar. That worries Dodds. “I hope it hasn’t hurt the brand and I think most people who have reported on it or commented on it understand the complexity of this race and why it was canceled and know there wasn’t much we could do about it,” says the Formula E CEO.
“On the other hand, I think it has been very damaging to the teams, the manufacturers and the partners who have all invested in the region,” Dodds fears. “Mahindra is a racing team from India, we have a big partner there with Tata Consultancy Services [TCS Jaguar]. We now have an Indian driver [Jehan Daruvala], so there are a lot of companies with close links to India. “
“I was really disappointed when the race in India didn’t materialize,” reveals Formula E boss. “It’s a really important market for us and I think it takes time when you start racing in a region or location to find a rhythm and understand what works and what doesn’t work. “
Will Formula E race in India again?
“So it’s really disappointing to drive for a year in a place that’s a learning year, so to speak, and then not have the opportunity to make improvements in the second year.” These would have been necessary, because the premiere in Hyderabad was anything but smooth.
The track was under construction right up to the last minute, and there were rumors of a “disgruntled policeman who had asked for tickets” and received no satisfactory response. He then allowed civilian vehicles onto the track between sessions, which led to traffic chaos.
Nevertheless, India remains an important market for Formula E. “I was really disappointed that we have major partners and manufacturers who have a close connection to India and will not be able to enjoy a race in this important market,” Dodds continued.
Those responsible for Formula E therefore seem keen to return to India in the next few years. Whether they can hope for the support of the government, however, remains to be seen …