A street race near Delhi’s India Gate? Formula E event being planned for 2020
The roads around Albert Park in Melbourne, Singapore and Monaco are some of the famous F1 street circuits, but in an endeavour to create awareness around electronic cars, all Formula E races are held on street circuits. Delhi may host one in 2020Updated: Dec 06, 2017 10:41 IST
Formula One racing may have left Delhi for good, but it may not be long when the national Capital hosts a cleaner, greener version of motor racing in the streets around the India Gate. Mahindra Racing are in talks with the government, centre and state, to bring in Formula E-Prix racing to Delhi in 2020.
“We are in talks with the government to bring the Formula E to India. Delhi’s India Gate is the obvious choice for street racing and that is going to involve a huge amount of logistical coordination,” Pawan Goenka, Mahindra & Mahindra’s managing director, told Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the Formula E-Prix racing in Hong Kong.
The roads around Albert Park in Melbourne, Singapore and Monaco are some of the famous F1 street circuits, but in an endeavour to create awareness around electronic cars, all Formula E races are held on street circuits.
“But the issue is we (M&M) cannot organise a Formula E race. That would be a conflict of interest as our team is a competitor. So we need someone to come forward and organise the race and it could be the government itself as pollution crosses alarming levels in the Capital. We can help facilitate the talks,” Goenka said.
Electronic cars are zero-pollution vehicles and so don’t have exhaust pipes. “Electronic cars are the future of city mobility and the intense research and development that goes into our racing vehicles now will drive our city cars in the future,” Goenka said.
In the last two years, alarming pollution levels in Delhi have seen schools temporarily shut down and the state government planning to introduce the odd-even rule to restrict vehicular pollution. The Delhi Half Marathon came under the cloud this year and during the ongoing cricket Test between India and Sri Lanka at Kotla, fielders are playing wearing pollution masks.
In the build up to the Formula One racing, which was organised by the Jaypee Group at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida for three years between 2011 and 2013, F1 cars had exhibition runs in the Capital.
David Coulthard of then Red Bull and Nelson Piquet Jr of Renault zoomed through the streets around the India Gate and Rajpath. Incidentally, Nelson Piquet Jr now races in the Formula E circuit with Team Jaguar.
Formula One racing left India after the government refused to cut down on customs duty and tax on the vehicles and equipment which temporarily landed in Indian soil for the race.
Formula E racing, where electronic cars compete in 14 races across circuits in 11 countries, is into its fourth season. The cars run on 28 kilo-watt hour batteries reaching speeds of close to 200 kmph. The energy in one full charge of the battery can run your i-Phone for 14 years, says Dilbagh Gill, Mahindra Racing’s team principal and CEO.
Mahindra Racing finished third in the constructors’ championship of Formula E last season behind Renault and Abt (Audi) and have had a bright start to this season with its drivers Nick Heidfeld finishing third in the season opener and Felix Rosenqvist winning the second race in Hong Kong last weekend.
First Published: Dec 06, 2017 09:05 IST